How to Get Started with Purpose-Driven Marketing

Sustainable advertising and marketing, purpose-driven advertising and marketing, and company social accountability (CSR) are phrases which are getting increasingly common. Manufacturers are anticipated to have already got methods in place to turn into as sustainable as attainable, as rapidly as attainable.

With that stated, there’s no one-size-fits-all means of measuring simply how sustainable a corporation is. Companies are being informed to do it now however are being left with no concept the way to begin.

I wholeheartedly imagine that digital entrepreneurs might help with this, and by taking a extra purpose-driven method, your entire group, their clients, and the planet can profit.

I’m going to offer a glossary of terminology, give a brief historical past of how companies have misplaced their concentrate on CSR, and present how taking a extra purpose-driven method to firm operations and digital advertising and marketing doesn’t must be a giant scary factor. It might truly be enjoyable, fulfilling, and vastly rewarding.

You should utilize these hyperlinks to leap to every part.


Earlier than I dive into all the pieces purpose-driven advertising and marketing associated, listed here are some definitions for phrases I’ll be referring to all through this piece. If you wish to skip this and head straight to the subsequent part, be happy to make use of the bounce hyperlinks simply above.

What’s sustainability in digital advertising and marketing?

Sustainability can imply certainly one of two issues:

1) Guaranteeing that your advertising and marketing efforts don’t trigger hurt to folks or the planet and, the place it does, taking steps to scale back or equalize that hurt. This might embody:

  • Offsetting your carbon emissions (though please, please, please, don’t purchase carbon credit — these aren’t a real illustration of carbon offsetting),

  • Lowering the quantity of power your product and workers use, and/or

  • Making efforts to replace any services or products in order that they’re extra environmentally pleasant.

2) It might additionally imply future-proofing your model in order that it continues to thrive.

Whichever definition you want greatest, the 2 will not be mutually unique now that 64% of shoppers take into account themselves to be belief-driven, selecting to put money into manufacturers that they know make charitable contributions or have a robust CSR system in place. Breaking this down additional, 60% of Millennials, 53% of GenZers and 51% of GenXers “purchase on perception”. In terms of sustainability in purpose-driven advertising and marketing, it could actually imply a myriad of issues reminiscent of:

  • Lowering the carbon emissions created by our web sites and the tools utilized by digital advertising and marketing departments,

  • Guaranteeing that everyone has entry to our web sites whether or not they have disabilities or are data-poor,

  • Incorporating our sustainability efforts into our on-line campaigns.

Perception-driven shoppers are in search of data on sustainability points utilizing on-line search (35%), social media (31%), and non-digital print media (29%).

Illustration of statistics listed above.

In accordance with Sustainable Advertising and marketing: How one can Drive Earnings with Function, shoppers are in search of environmental data on manufacturers and merchandise utilizing social media (41%) and product and model web sites (34%).

Illustration of statistics listed above.

What’s company social accountability in digital advertising and marketing?

Company Social Accountability refers to a model’s effort to have a optimistic influence on folks and the planet. I’ll go into this in slightly extra element within the temporary historical past lesson part, however primarily, CSR revolves round companies understanding that they’ve obligations in the direction of society. The function of a digital marketer right here is to advise, plan and execute communication methods that inform the model’s loyal and potential clients how they’re fulfilling that obligation.

What social advertising and marketing means

To not be confused with social media advertising and marketing, which you in all probability know just like the again of your hand. Social advertising and marketing “…has the first objective of reaching ‘widespread good’. Conventional industrial advertising and marketing goals are primarily monetary, although they will have optimistic social results as nicely.”

It’s a time period carefully associated to purpose-driven advertising and marketing.

What’s greenwashing and why is it an issue?

I can’t actually discuss company social accountability and purpose-driven advertising and marketing with out warning about greenwashing, which is actually utilizing your advertising and marketing powers for evil. As an alternative of placing within the effort to guard folks and the planet in addition to hitting monetary KPIs, some manufacturers are both pretending or making outright unsubstantiated claims, showing to be a purpose-driven firm with good folks and environmental values, however while you scratch on the floor (and more often than not you don’t even must scratch that far) you’ll discover that they aren’t actually bothered and aren’t doing a lot.

The unhappy factor is that this has resulted in fairly cynical shoppers, so even you probably have extraordinarily optimistic purpose-driven branding and a fantastic purpose-driven tradition, you need to be so, so cautious in the way you talk to make sure that you don’t get accused of greenwashing.

What’s the triple backside line?

The time period “Triple Backside Line” was coined 27 years in the past, primarily making an attempt to persuade firms to turn into purpose-driven manufacturers, the place they not solely measure their monetary success but in addition monitor how their actions are impacting folks (together with their workers, shoppers, and even those that don’t have any affiliation with them) and the planet.

The triple backside line is admittedly what purpose-driven advertising and marketing is all about, and a company social accountability technique is the way in which to get there.

A short historical past lesson

I’m primarily based within the UK, and certainly one of our most well-known chocolate producers is Cadbury. After they outgrew their manufacturing facility, George Cadbury and his brother determined that their subsequent location wasn’t going to be as miserable or squalid. So, moderately than put money into a manufacturing facility premises, they purchased 14.5 acres in a village in Bourneville (which is a beautiful place to go to). This meant that manufacturing facility employees didn’t must dwell in crowded metropolis slums, however as a substitute had entry to a great water provide, practice line, and a canal (which was in all probability loads nicer again then than they’re now).

George Cadbury’s imaginative and prescient was to create a enterprise in an space filled with inexperienced areas the place his employees (and their households) wouldn’t be surrounded by metropolis air pollution. Approach again in 1878, Cadbury nailed a company social accountability technique with the motto:

“No man should be condemned to dwell in a spot the place a rose can not develop.”

This method to enterprise is definitely how organizations traditionally believed firms ought to function. Referred to as social enterprise, manufacturers had a accountability to offer help to:

Together with contributing usually to the well-being, well being, and wealth of society at giant.

Sadly, in recent times, this may very well be seen as a scarce method to working a enterprise, with increasingly manufacturers specializing in hitting monetary targets and producing extra income and revenue moderately than the general influence they’re making.

The rise of purpose-driven advertising and marketing

Like I stated earlier, the official Triple Backside Line method has been round for nearly three many years and there’s a great deal of knowledge accessible exhibiting that buyers need manufacturers to be extra intentional with how they function, guaranteeing that everyone and all the pieces advantages from their actions.

86% of millennials assume that firms needs to be measured by way of extra than simply monetary efficiency, in response to The Rise of the Social Enterprise. Since this era presently makes up half of the worldwide workforce, in addition to being shoppers, it’s one thing for each model to contemplate.

Illustration saying 86 percent of millennials believe companies should be measured by more than their financial performance.

Extra firms are additionally transitioning into B Corps, a label solely given to firms who meet “excessive requirements of social and environmental efficiency, transparency and accountability”.

Since B Lab’s creation in 2006, greater than 5,000 world manufacturers have transitioned into B Corps throughout 82 nations and 156 world industries (on the time of writing). That’s huge. And it’s actually well-known, main manufacturers that at the moment are B Corps together with Harmless Drinks, Ben & Jerry’s, and BrewDog. And the US and UK are main the way in which, having probably the most licensed B Corp companies.

What’s extra, these manufacturers are speaking about these efforts as a part of their on-line methods:

1) Harmless Drinks: Doing enterprise in the fitting means

Screenshot of Innocent Drinks webpage with the header

2) Ben & Jerry’s: We’ve a dream

Screenshot of Ben & Jerry's webpage saying

3) BrewDog: Our obligations

Screenshot of BrewDog

It’s time for an increase in purpose-driven digital advertising and marketing

I’ve been devouring the Can Advertising and marketing Save the Planet podcast and studying as many books as I can get my fingers on (annoyingly, books on this matter will be fairly costly). What I’ve discovered is that, whereas there appears to be an enormous shift in the direction of extra moral and environmental values, the main focus and efforts appear to lie in additional conventional advertising and marketing campaigns moderately than digital advertising and marketing.

However as you’ve seen right here, the information exhibits that individuals are in search of how manufacturers are implementing company social accountability by totally different channels on-line, so there’s an actual alternative right here for us as digital entrepreneurs to take the helm.

Whether or not you’re in-house or company facet, how usually are you requested to advise on key selections like company social accountability and purpose-driven advertising and marketing campaigns? We’ve the viewers. If we are able to begin to shut the hole between conventional and digital, and cross the road that’s drawn between model selections and advertising and marketing, we are able to obtain some exceptionally good issues for everybody.

Suggestions for getting began with company social accountability and purpose-driven advertising and marketing

First, it’s essential to take into account how you possibly can method placing collectively your personal CSR technique to turn into a extra purpose-driven model. For those who work company facet, you should use this method when serving to your shoppers give you their purpose-driven advertising and marketing campaigns.

I’m utilizing what I’ve discovered not simply relating to CSR, sustainability, and model goal but in addition in my expertise working in digital advertising and marketing over the past seven years.

1) Try the United Nations SDGs

The very first thing I’d advocate doing is familiarizing your self with the United Nations Sustainable Growth Objectives (SDGs). There are 17 targets that may make it easier to get began:

There’s extra data on every of those right here, and it’s a fantastic start line to see should you or your shopper is already doing issues that fall below these targets.

For instance, The Digital Maze lately carried out a brand new sick pay coverage. Beforehand, the corporate gave full sick pay for 5 days. Now, workers get 5 days of full sick pay per “incident”. So, if I had been sick for 5 days in January after which once more for 5 days in March, I’d get all of these days totally paid.

There has additionally been one other latest coverage change relating to working hours and places in order that workers can get out in the course of the day — whether or not that’s for a stroll round a neighborhood park or hitting the health club when it’s much less crowded.

Lastly, the hours of operation are improbable. A typical working day consists of billable working hours for shoppers, nonetheless, workers are inspired to step away from the display between duties, take a breather, and in addition do common skilled growth.

All the above might simply fall below objective two of the SDGs: Guarantee wholesome lives and promote well-being for all in any respect ages.

It’s price saying that these insurance policies weren’t carried out as a result of of the SDGs. The SDGs are a fantastic sounding board for determining what you or your shoppers are already doing that you could be not have thought fell below a purpose-driven method.

2) Contain your entire firm

At a latest shopper assembly, the shopper requested if they need to be speaking about charitable efforts their workers are concerned in independently of the model.

I, for one, assume this can be a nice concept, and a good higher one is involving your whole workers in defining your model’s shared values. A easy nameless survey may very well be taken by your workforce should you’re a advertising and marketing company trying to implement your personal purpose-driven advertising and marketing marketing campaign, or you possibly can present your shoppers with a survey template to offer to their workers.

Ask what they stand for, what they need the enterprise to face for, and any concepts of the way to get there. In a brief house of time, you’ll be inundated with concepts which you could work by.

3) Don’t tackle an excessive amount of, too rapidly

Gradual and regular will win the race right here. Fairly than making an attempt to do all the pieces rapidly, the results of which might be not reaching a lot in any respect, begin with one, two, or three values on the most, and actually discover what you are able to do to make a distinction.

In terms of sustainability, there’s at all times this idea of time looming over our heads. Whereas time is certainly working out, it’s higher to do a number of issues that make a considerable distinction than making an attempt to do loads, getting overwhelmed, and reaching nothing.

4) Have enjoyable

Sure, that is an extremely vital matter that must be taken severely, however that doesn’t imply it could actually’t be enjoyable. Some would possibly even argue that in relation to a profitable digital advertising and marketing marketing campaign, “enjoyable” is commonly the key ingredient.

There’ll undoubtedly be issues that it’s essential to do as a purpose-driven model working within the digital house (like calculating carbon emissions) that you just wouldn’t essentially do as a interest, nevertheless it will also be a ardour undertaking.

When you affirm what’s already being finished, you can begin creating advertising and marketing methods to get this data out into the world and in entrance of your audience.

5) Don’t be scared to inform the reality

Screenshot of Costa Coffee's CSR page.

I’m so impressed with Costa Espresso’s CSR web page (I’ve no affiliation with this model in any respect, however they’re my go-to espresso store of alternative when it’s a jumbo espresso morning). For those who scroll down you’ll see a rundown of how sustainable their espresso cups are. However the bit that actually stands out is of their chilly cup part, the place they are saying that their lids are solely created from 40% recycled plastic and that they’ve extra work to do.

Keep in mind the previous days when firms had been hesitant about utilizing social media as a result of they didn’t need to get caught up in complaints? Effectively, the identical factor is sort of occurring in purpose-driven advertising and marketing. Firms are so fearful that they are going to get flack for not being 100% good that they select to do nothing, or to not discuss it.

Costa is a superb instance of how to do that: speaking that they’re conscious of the place they should be, however are additionally pleased with how far they’ve come.

6) Select your platforms

Simply as you’d with any advertising and marketing technique, it’s essential to have a plan of what platform every marketing campaign will use. Each single firm working on-line ought to have a CSR web page on their web site so that buyers who’re in search of this data on-line (bear in mind, that’s 75% of individuals) can discover it simply.

41% of these shoppers are in search of this data on social media platforms, so in case your analytics exhibits that that is the place your viewers is spending their time and interacting with you, it’s price testing some methods there, too.

Harmless Drinks does this very nicely through a Twitter technique that helps The Big Rewild. Listed here are simply a few their posts:

See how they’re having enjoyable with this marketing campaign?

As digital entrepreneurs, we’re in a superb place to do that. We already know the ins and outs of those platforms and the way to put collectively an extremely robust technique.

7) For those who actually don’t know what to do or the place to begin

Do the identical factor you’d do for some other advertising and marketing marketing campaign: competitor analysis.

This isn’t to steal concepts, it’s extra for inspiration. What societal points are they making an attempt to deal with? Are they specializing in local weather change, for instance?

It’s a great sounding board however, bear in mind: simply because your opponents are doing one thing, that doesn’t imply that you have to be doing the very same factor. All of it comes again to defining your organization’s values.

Take these steps to get began in CSR

I hope this has helped take a few of the scariness away from such a giant and vital topic. Whether or not you’re working in-house or as a part of an company, taking a purpose-driven method is simply going to get extra vital and in-demand.

For those who’ve already gone by the method of organising purpose-driven campaigns and CSR methods, I’d love to listen to about your experiences on Twitter.

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