Brand Purpose and the Paradise Papers
Yesterday, Apple was revealed by the Paradise Papers to be as expert at tax avoidance as it is designing beautiful products.
Today we hosted an event in London to discuss Brand Purpose: why a business exists; it’s role as a force for good in consumers lives or the wider world. We call it the Beautiful Truth to be told about our clients brands.
Oh the irony. Apple is feted as the ultimate example of a business that ‘started with why’: one that challenges the status quo, that thinks differently. This focus on consumer benefit has built a multi-billion dollar balance sheet and the number one spot in any brand league you’d care to investigate.
Having a purpose beyond profit has emerged as one of the most powerful ways to engage consumers, gain brand preference and drive long-term sustainable business growth. It is beginning to be an expectation of some consumers, something they look for when choosing a brand.
At today’s event thirty marketing directors came to hear our client Dom Dwight, marketing director at Betty’s and Taylor’s talk about how a focus on brand purpose (in part thanks to our Gruffalo, Yorkshire Tree campaign) helped Yorkshire Tea climb from fourth to second in the black tea category in just six years. An achievement especially impressive as it is the only brand to grow in a declining category.
Clearly a focus on Brand Purpose works: Jim Stengel, former global marketing officer for P&G found that 50 brands that out-performed their markets in terms of value creation and profit have a clear sense of purpose. The world’s most awarded communications campaigns in 2016 all addressed social issues. Fifty percent of Unilever’s growth comes from brands that are acting on their purpose, and their growth is 30% higher than the other brands in the company.
This last point is important. Brand purpose should be authentic and more than a token gesture. If advertising is an elegant conceit, then brand purpose communications should tell a beautiful truth.
Brand purpose has a further important function – it provides a reputational buffer that enables consumers to forgive you if things go wrong, which lets’s face it, they have for Apple. Here’s a company that pretends to be a good guy whilst doing everything it can to avoid paying its fair share of tax.
Apple has a significant reputational buffer to help it withstand the impact, but its truth is very much less than beautiful.