November 1, 2021

Back to brand purpose

Are you constantly trying to collect or connect with customers?

According to GWI’s 2021 Consumer Trends Report, 56% of customers want brands to put more of a focus on supporting people during COVID-19, 51% want them to be eco-friendly, 49% want them to offer value for money, and 41% want them to support social causes.

This article explains why brands are going back to brand purpose as a result and is an excerpt from our whitepaper, ‘How the pandemic has forced us to reimagine marketing.’

Successful marketers know their brand and value its loyalists. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, a lot of businesses pulled back their marketing spend while a handful doubled down. With marketing budgets threatened to be cut, marketers faced a battle between short-term survival and long-term success. 

Those that were able to continue investing in brand captured market share and consumer eyeballs when people were stuck in lockdown. 

Catch Group’s CMO and number 23 on this year’s CMO50 list believes that cross-pollinating brand and performance marketing is critical. He has explained that, 

“We are in an age where brand building, on traditional channels, can be viewed as ‘old fashioned’ by new marketers, there can be a view that ‘if you can’t explicitly measure it, then how can it be beneficial.’ Our team is made of scientists and artists, performance and brand marketers, and I want them to fully comprehend the intersection of these two disciplines and how one serves the other.”

Without leveraging the customer affinity and intent created by brand marketing, performance marketing’s fate becomes closely tied to consumer spending and economic activity.

Andrew Waite, the Founder and Managing Director of Convert Digital says that while eCommerce brands have been eager to convert the large volume of new customers and onsite traffic since the pandemic, “outside of increasing onsite conversions, we have also seen a surge in spend on martech to improve retention and encourage repeat purchases for both those existing and newly acquired customers.”

Dane Pitman, the Digital Manager at Stone & Wood agrees. During the pandemic, “we also allocated a huge focus on engaging with our brand loyalists on a deeper level with the launch of our Beer Club and we were strategic with how we managed and grew our drinker database. With this we saw over $1m in online sales through 2020, our Beer Club community grew to 1600+ members (subscription base), our email database grew 350% (80%+ open rates), with our social engagement and follower growth setting benchmarks in the beer industry. We understood S&W’s brand value with our online community but the boost of online consumers throughout the pandemic took it to another level.”


Purpose means growth. 

The correlation between creativity and diversity is also becoming more widely accepted. At the start of the new decade, Australian’s were faced with an intense bushfire season, followed quickly by a global pandemic, and the death of George Floyd from police brutality was a catalyst for people across the globe to protest against racism. In her article for the July/August 2021 edition of AdNews, Paige Murphy explained that “people are rallying for brands to use their platforms to initiate change, and marketers are trying to be representative of society today both 

internally and externally.”

Paige Murphy also discusses how Victoria’s Secret went under a major rebrand after receiving ongoing criticism of its hypersexualised Angels and dropping its market share to 21% in 2020 from 32% in 2015. The Angels were recently replaced with the VS Collective, which is made up of a group of accomplished women from diverse backgrounds and is making plans to put women first again. While it’s good news that Victoria’s Secret is embarking on a journey to become the world’s ‘leading advocate for women’, their delayed reaction to ongoing criticism had already contributed to a decline in revenue.

Perfection is a fallacy. 

There is a lesson here. Instead of waiting until your brand is doing everything right, consumers will happily buy imperfect brands that are trying to achieve a good purpose, and the Guardian’s new Ipsos research has shown that growth, customer retention, and CSR credentials are boosted when consumers see brands making an effort. The global brand purpose study found that 90% of Australians agree that corporations will be expected to be more socially and environmentally responsible in the future, consumers also want businesses to behave more responsibly – and that impacts how marketers should now position their brands. They don’t expect perfection either, and the research revealed that brands live on a purpose continuum. A brand can start being purposeful somewhere as simple as fulfilling a genuine customer need, and then progress to delivering meaningful action. Regardless of the stage that a brand is at, consumers just want authenticity, not perfection.

Focusing on progress

Patagonia also had a humble beginning in 1973 when Yvon Chouinard, an avid mountain climber, and self-taught blacksmith began making and selling his own climbing pitons. It took him some time to realise that his pitons were actually destroying natural rockfaces and climbing surfaces, before switching to aluminium chocks which could be wedged in by hand. The company’s latest learning is that people don’t tend to pass logos down to their kids, so they have decided to stop putting additional logos on their clothing to extend the lifespan of their garments.  This purpose-driven, progress over perfection approach continues to resonate and Patagonia has grown into a strong financial position to make significant annual contributions to environmental causes and land conservation.

Solutions such as i=change, which make it simple for eCommerce brands to give back with every sale are also being adopted. By enabling customers to choose where a portion of their purchase goes at the checkout, i=change lets customers shop as per usual, while knowing that their purchase with that brand is making a powerful impact with 100% of donations going to carefully selected NGOs, which are committed to best-practice development.

Want to learn more? Hear from more industry experts and download the full whitepaper, ‘How the pandemic has forced us to reimagine marketing’ through the link here.

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