Cameron Wells | Purpose marketing
The rise of purpose marketing in 2019
PR, marketing, social media, purpose marketing, branding
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Marketing with purpose

Marketing with purpose

There’s nothing less meaningful in marketing than jumping on a bandwagon just because you can. Just because it’s passing by and everyone else is on board. It’s always tempting to follow the crowd for #FOMO. That’s why I started watching Game of Thrones – albeit I was very late to the medieval party. So late the finale was final. But I felt like I was the only person on planet earth not tuning into the much tweeted fantasy epic so I boarded the HBO bandwagon in order to have conversation to contribute at the next work night out. Discovering the acting attributes of Nikolaja and Kit was a bonus.

The problem with bandwagons – they often take you down a road where you shouldn’t be. 

In 2018 brands recognised that going green was a golden business opportunity. 2019 is all about going even greener. Green might be still be en vogue, but shouting about going green without meaning it couldn’t be less in fashion. Committing to going green without actually doing it is the most earth – and brand damaging thing you can do this year.

Brands are adopting various shades of green in order to strengthen their brand humanity. Yes that is the phrase of the year marketing and PR folks – putting humanity into branding is what 2019 is all about.

True investment in brand humanity is going beyond saying no to plastic or making a significant donation to a worthy cause once a year. It’s so much more than a tick box on your Corporate Social Responsibility strategy. It requires a genuine belief that by “doing good,” you are doing good business.

This movement towards purpose-led marketing needs to be deep-rooted into business DNA – from boardroom to shopfloor. It can’t just be lip service that forms the creative springboard for a new great advertising campaign or a quick fix to engage with conscious consumers on a deeper level.

Adopting purpose-driven marketing doesn’t mean that making profit is no longer a business driver. It means that “doing good” along the path to profit can be part of that journey.

But brands embarking on this ‘good’ journey must be mindful that consumers are a cynical bunch and any purpose taken up by a brand needs to be an authentic and legitimate reflection of what the brand stands for. Otherwise it will do more harm than good.

Supermarket chain Iceland learnt the hard way after it pledged to remove all palm oil from its own-label products by the end of 2018. The pledge seemed so incongruous with the brand beliefs held by consumers. Iceland had never been green. But customers were prepared to listen and be convinced by the new green brand on the block. However, when it was revealed that they were still selling 28 own-brand products containing palm oil, as well as more than 600 from other brands – its noble promise backfired. A spectacular example of purpose marketing which failed in its purpose. #wetoldyouso #weknewitwastoogoodtobetrue

The allure of purpose marketing is obvious. But brands need to put their budget where their mouth is and ensure they ‘walk the walk’ as well as ‘talk the talk’. Or they risk being named and shamed on social media and a world wide web that never forgets.

Good business in 2019 is more than buying a bandwagon ticket then enjoying the short ride. It’s about being on board for the long-haul.   

That’s why at Cameron Wells we’re doing our bit. Unwanted dogs is our purpose in 2019 and beyond. We will be supporting Manchester and Cheshire Dogs’ Home with their PR and marketing efforts to house more dogs.

One purpose that will never go out of fashion. Fur is back in fashion. Black, brown and white are the new green.

On a personal level I will be disembarking the GOT bandwagon. Westeros just isn’t the destination for me. Next stop Love Island.

Claire Wood
claire.wood@cameronwells.co.uk