It’s not headline-worthy to note today’s most respected and beloved companies offer products and services that improve the lives of their customers. There’s also no surprise in noting the work they’re doing via special projects and programs that seek to make the world a better place (#corporatesocialresponsibility). But those companies that seamlessly align their offerings with their work for social good with their internal/external communications? That’s Marketing Rooted in Purpose. And it’s a powerful force that’s changing the way today’s most responsible — and successful — brands consider, and build, their communications strategy.
Let’s consider a great example or two to help further clarify.
THEIR BUSINESS: Soap and personal hygiene products
THEIR BRAND ESSENCE: Real beauty
THEIR BRAND PROMISE: Dove invites all women to realize their personal potential for beauty by engaging them with products that deliver superior care.
HOW THEY TIE IT TO PURPOSE: Working to reframe beauty as a source of confidence, not anxiety.
HOW THEY USE THEIR COMMUNICATIONS VEHICLES: By defying cultural norms and defining “real beauty” as real people being the best versions of themselves rather than the airbrushed, unrealistic and unachievable standard set by Hollywood and the media. Then Dove takes it further by featuring real women (not models) in all their communications and promising zero digital distortion of the images.
FURTHERMORE: Offering meaningful extensions of the brand, such as the Dove Self-Esteem Project which offers “support for parents, mentors and teachers in sending out a positive message and ensure the next generation of women grows up to be happy and content, free from the burden of self-doubt that comes from appearance pressures.”
Here’s why this makes marketing magic. Dove’s purpose, products and brand essence are in perfect alignment, and so the mega brand is able to leverage its massive investment in external marketing to demonstrate not only how their products improve their customers lives, but also how they are working to help solve the societal issue (for people of all ages) of body image and poor self esteem.
State Farm is another company broadening messaging to engage and mobilize customers. We’re all familiar with the ages-old positioning for the 93-year-old company’s insurance division, Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is there. Now State Farm has created a web-based platform called Neighborhood of Good that connects individuals with volunteer and charitable opportunities in their communities. The effort was launched with a two-minute film in which a man was first followed by a stray dog, then a growing entourage of people in need: a homeless man, a polar bear, a school drop-out and more. As the man eventually goes to a Youth Outreach Mentoring Center to volunteer, the voiceover says, “You can lift the weight of caring by doing,” then NeighborhoodofGood.com.
It’s a nice extension of the brand, and it’s also a meaningful differentiator that is paying off both in terms of business success and cultural change.
So, in review, today’s most respected (and beloved) companies not only offer great products and services that meet the needs of their customers, they make the world a better place while doing it. They also align their communications with that good work — internally and externally — creating further positive impact through their marketing program investment.
It’s smart, impactful and financially efficient.
It’s also the hallmark of today’s most responsible brands.