Repurpose for Purpose

December 08, 2015 | Fernanda Trevisan

Purpose branding, unlike normal branding, does not handle purpose as an alluring promise, to be or not to be fulfilled. Purpose branding has an unmoving idea at its core. An idea, that from conception throughout all action and touch points, is aligned with people’s needs. Through this commitment to cause, businesses can engage and impact a relevant and, with time, large crowd. Purpose branding differentiates brands by making them stand for something beyond the allures of advertising and public relations. Purpose branding consistently reiterates and strengthens an ecosystem through which they create meaningful action present in every touch point. When an idea is embodied intrinsically, the mouthpiece of a brand can be aligned its cause. This is the inside-out approach of purpose branding.

Take Brazil for example: a closer inspection would reveal the government failing to address and resolve many of the pressing societal issues at play. When the government failed to take action political policies quickly lost their impact. This neglect triggered a wave of brands to step up and adopt the responsibility of these overlooked issues. It was around 2 years ago when this shift of responsibility occurred. Brands started realising the potential in performing economically while still contributing to society. What started as a trend of some brands adding value through social purpose quickly snowballed into a widespread conscience. There was suddenly a shift in what was expected of brands and their responsibility. Be it using less water, to educating the habit of recycling, brands started incorporating deeper social needs into their business and marketing frameworks. However, this is just the beginning.

Brands transitioning to a space where they can pursue both business and purpose need to realise that it starts with an intrinsic idea. It is usually a leader who decides to take action and make a holistic move towards more purposeful pursuits. A good business is conscious of all levels in a company. When a business can be cohesive and its inner culture is always aware of their purpose and future goals, it can ensure people, both internally and externally, are engaged and ready for action every step of the way.

This move to a more purposeful way of business needs to be implemented into the framework of how and why a business operates. When an idea is at the core of a business and its ambassadors, problems can be more easily defined and solved. Returning to Brazil as an example, the new waves of action-taking brands are strengthening their equity along their new journey of purpose, a journey that inspires and engages people for action. OMO recently tackled the problem of water shortages by encourage people to do their washing less frequently during the week. Here, the message was not one of simply changing conscience, but encouraging action.

Brazil is quickly becoming a profound example of how economic and social pursuits are not mutually exclusive. When these brands can be repurposed for purpose, who is to say what businesses can achieve? Brazil first and next stop? Watch this space.


Posted By Fernanda Trevisan

Fernanda was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil and moved to London in 2016 to further her career as a researcher and decoder. In the UK she worked in projects across the world including Europe, Asia and Africa  -  and (of course) she never stopped working on projects closer to home in Latin America. Her passion is understanding the changing behaviours of early childhood and how this can help people throughout their lives. Her experience with Innate Motion has largely involved leading projects for Unilever activist brands that are closely related to this cause. This includes helping girls from Brazilian favelas to avoid early-life pregnancy, developing a campaign to dispel transgender stereotypes and teenagehood bullying in the UK. Fernanda is currently studying for an MSc in Behaviour Change at UCL, London, to further the impact she has in this important field. By learning and developing the latest behaviour change methodologies, she plans to influence organizations to invest in behaviour change programmes for social good.

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