purpose marketing

Purpose-driven marketing is when your communications focus around a social or environmental cause outside of the products or services you offer. It’s a great way for brands to engage with their audiences through shared interests and values. It’s also a good way for businesses to align themselves with partners that share a similar ethos. For example, we have seen an increasing number of emerging partners approaching us based on our core values and ESG commitments. 

There are 3 core areas of purpose-driven marketing: 

  1. Social Responsibility 

Social responsibility means businesses need to act in the best interest of society and the environment. More brands are beginning to think about their social responsibility when it comes to their marketing strategies. 

One of the best examples of social responsibility is the shoe brand, Toms. Their ‘one for one’ approach means that for every pair of shoes brought, one shoe gets sent to someone who needs it. This is an excellent example of how social responsibility can be at the core of your business model, which can help drive revenue and build a loyal customer base.

You can also buy media more responsibility. For example, by removing the intermediary between the person buying the media and those selling it can give more money back to the publisher themselves. For instance, for every $1 spent, 75 cents can go back to the publisher, whereas often this cut can be as low as 15 cents. This money can then be reinvested by the publishers into improving the quality of their content which helps to improve the overall user experience. We have already seen partners contact us to change their strategy from reaching 5,000 titles to 1,000 high quality titles in order to help make the ad experience better for all involved.


  1. Transparency

Transparency is one of the biggest concerns that customers face in the digital world. Brands who are looking to improve their customer experience need to ensure they are being honest, transparent and always acting with integrity. This will help to build trust so that businesses can form stronger relationships with their audience. 

In the media world, tech partners have reached out to us to ask how attribution, reporting, contextual behaviour and audience segmentation can work in a more transparent way that requires less information. This is not only better for the user because they are keeping their data more private, but better for the environment as the less data gathered, means the less stored, which uses less electricity.


  1. Environmental responsibility 

More businesses are placing emphasis on becoming environmentally friendly, whether that’s launching sustainable products and services or off-setting their carbon footprint. However, there’s growing concern that brand’s are only ‘green-washing’ to look good, rather than because they want to make a real impact. Therefore, you need to be authentic if you want to build a profile as a brand who makes a real, environmental difference. 

One of the ways you can do this is by investing in the circular economy. This promotes reusing products rather than championing over consumption or using new materials. For example, fashion brands can offer a repair, recycle, or resale initiative like the launch of PLT Marketplace. Nike is one of the best examples of the circular economy in practice, converting over 3 billion plastic bottles into their performance wear.

You can also look to offset advertising campaigns to become carbon natural, as well as partner with like minded businesses. For example, a number of tech partners use renewable energy to power their AI and data solutions. 


What are the advantages of purpose-driven marketing? 

  • You can do some good on a large scale – Large companies often have the ad spend or resources to make a significant difference that smaller charities simply do not have the funds or reach for. Partnering with these organisations on a shared cause, or launching your own model that helps the local community or the environment, can have a real impact.
  • You can develop a deeper rapport with your audience – A shared goal, value or cause can help brands develop a greater relationship with their audience because they are connecting on a more meaningful, emotional level. 
  • It can help your brand capture attention – An honest and unique proposition helps your brand stand out from the crowd. Larger stunts and commitments can also get picked up by wider media or the press to help spread your message even further.
  • Strengthens brand authority and credibility – Having a clear mission or purpose that your whole brand and marketing strategy is built around helps to strengthen your brand identity. For example, Patagonia has one the best brand reputations thanks to their continued dedication to their social and environmental commitments.
  • Can help you drive revenue – There is often a misconception that doing good and making money are not mutually exclusive, but that’s simply not the case. You can still drive revenue and have a good bottom line whilst making a real difference in the world. The money can then be reinvested into the business to create an even bigger purpose-driven campaign the following year.


Is purpose-driven advertising the future? 

Research has shown that 82% of shoppers want a brand’s values to align with their own, making purpose-driven marketing more important than ever. Brands need to demonstrate that they not only care about social, political or environmental issues, but that these values are built into the very core of their business. Consumers will be able to tell if a brand is just ‘purpose-washing’ and not actually practising what they preach, so it needs to be authentic. When it works well, the business, customer and the whole planet can benefit.

For more information, contact us today

Guillermo Dvorak - Managing Partner, Digital and Data

Author: Guillermo Dvorak - Managing Partner, Digital and Data

Guillermo considers himself a tech nerd and has over 10 years’ experience in digital media planning & buying across multiple industries. As our Managing Partner for Digital and Data, Guillermo works closely with both teams to strengthen our proposition and integrate the departments.