A Purpose Without Purpose is Pointless

January 9th, 2019

There has been a lot of noise lately about so-called purpose-driven branding.

For example, “nearly two-thirds of millennials and Gen Z express a preference for brands that have a point of view and stand for something.” 1

And for an even bolder statement: “people are willing to pay more to remain true to their values.” 2

I wouldn’t be so sure.

Don’t get me wrong. Plenty of people switched from Uber to Lyft in the wake of their scandals; VW’s emissions evasion fraud made some rethink their new car; and Papa John’s suffered tanking pizza sales after their CEO made a general racist a-hole
of himself.

People vote with their dollars, it’s true. But choosing not to patronize a brand because of their bad behavior is a vastly different prospect than paying more for a product because the brand has a stated “higher purpose.”

Does this mean that brands shouldn’t align themselves with a purpose? Not at all. It means do it for the right reasons.

  1. Find a purpose that truly aligns with your brands’ mission to avoid being outed as inauthentic.
  2. Don’t expect a sales jump because of it.

Advertising has a great power to impact change in our world. Do it because it’s the right thing to do.

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