Have you found your brand purpose?

By: Genevieve Trainor

BRAND PURPOSE: ANA’s Marketing Word of the Year for 2018

“What’s one of the biggest things that separates the more successful brands from the not-so-successful ones?” asks a 2016 article on smallbiztrends.com: “It’s about purpose.”

On Dec. 6, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) announced their 5th annual

 

Marketing Word of the Year: Brand Purpose.

They define the term as “a long-term business strategy tied to a societal benefit that guides every strategic decision and action, from product development and customer/employee engagement to marketing and hiring.”

tacg brand purpose (1)

ANA isn’t alone in acknowledging that companies determined to make a difference in society are a notable trend in 2018. AdAge named Nike as its Marketer of the Year for 2018 for its “Just Do It” 30th anniversary campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick—a campaign that, they said, “would go on to win fans, create enemies, and refuel a conversation about the role brands should—or should not—play in tackling societal issues.”

“Along the way,” their announcement continued, “the company proved it pays to take a stand, and it put to shame mealy-mouthed brands that claim to plug into culture but fall short with marketing that fails to portray a point of view on anything at all. Nike’s Kaepernick ad stands as a textbook example of how a marketer can change the conversation, a strategy that industry experts say will be emulated by many brands in 2019.”

ANA calls out Nike as well, as one of “many brands [that] have stepped up and taken a risk and stance this year.” They also name TOMS, the California shoe company that pledged $5 million to organizations committed to ending gun violence. They also mention Procter & Gamble, for its diversity-promoting, tear-jerking “Love Over Bias” commercial showing mothers supporting a diverse array of child athletes.

Brand purpose is integrated deeply into the fabric of ANA, beyond the word of the year designation. They recently set up the ANA Center for Brand Purpose, which defines “purpose” in the context of marketing as “a brand’s reason to exist beyond turning a profit.” The center offers content, tools and professional development to help marketers in leveraging a brand’s purpose to drive growth.

So… what is YOUR brand purpose? There are myriad reasons to contemplate this question. Don’t forget that study after study has shown that the rising wave of Gen Z consumers, for example, expects their purchases to matter in the world. Does your brand have a purpose? Do you have a reason to exist beyond turning a profit? Even for individuals, building your brand is necessary to survival in the marketplace.

Why do you want your customers to turn to you, and how can you leverage that in your own marketing decisions? We’re here to help you make your branding and marketing materials come to life.

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