Stick to Your Mission: The Power of Purpose in Achieving Brand Salience
To meaningfully connect with the hearts and minds of your customers, one powerful strategy is to adopt and articulate a clearly defined mission. An effective mission statement cuts across categories, industries, and demographics and helps situate your brand as a global player working for the greater good.
Beyond facilitating clear and focused communications, an engaging mission drives results: 66 percent of Americans would switch from a product they typically buy to a new product from a purpose-driven company, and 77 percent feel a stronger emotional connection to brands that lead with purpose (2018 Cone/Porter Novelli Purpose Study). And another major study, from this year, reveals that consumers are 4 times more likely to make a purchase from a brand that they perceive to have a strong purpose.
At FIG, we’ve built a robust toolbox for honing brand mission statements and crafting compelling stories. Whether or not you have a clearly articulated brand purpose, it’s critical to routinely step back and examine your messaging within the context of the world at large. While pondering your impact beyond your industry, consider the following examples of brands with inspiring — and far-reaching — missions:
Mission: To save our home planet
Launched in 1973 with the mission to “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis,” Patagonia delivers on that promise with sustainable material sourcing, low-impact and humane factory protocols, and long-term product life cycles. In 2019, the brand reframed its original mission statement into fewer, more forceful words: “We’re in business to save our home planet.” The new motto reflects the brand’s burgeoning political tilt, evidenced by its recent endorsement of environmentally friendly senators and open criticism of President Trump. From the get-go, the brand has structured its business model to do no harm; the refined promise to do more good simply re-entrenches the brand’s environmentalist values.
Ben & Jerry’s
Mission: To make the world a better place
Committed to “making the world a better place,” Ben & Jerry’s has taken a stand on myriad social issues including marriage equality, climate change, and racial justice throughout its 40-year-plus existence. The brand’s diversity of initiatives proves that having a singular sense of self expands — not limits — opportunities for community engagement. For Ben & Jerry’s, a founding belief in social activism acts as a filter for navigating cultural moments, sifting through the clutter to quickly identify events that align with its overarching purpose.
Mission: To create a world where anyone can belong anywhere
Spurred in 2007 as a slapdash attempt for two roommates to make rent, Airbnb is now a global brand synonymous with aspirational travel experiences. Its staggering growth can be traced to a 2013 rebranding exercise that cut down the brand’s mission to a single idea: belonging. Over the years, the motto “Belong Anywhere” has guided Airbnb through a number of high-profile challenges, including PR crises pertaining to the health and safety of its host homes, regulatory battles with city governments, and discrimination lawsuits. In response to the COVID-19 health crisis, it launched immersive online experiences, nearby travel destinations, and a host program for housing frontline responders — innovative solutions for our collective isolation, inspired by a corporate mission to bring people together. And as individuals around the world galvanize under the Black Lives Matter movement, the brand set up Project Lighthouse, an interdepartmental initiative to overcome discrimination on its platform. Such nimble responses to the evolving culture are animated by an overarching commitment to make the world a safe and welcoming place for everyone.
Mission: To provide food with integrity
Chipotle is dedicated to providing the food world with integrity: a mighty promise that has made it an innovator in the fast food category. It is a fast food brand that has created a separate world within this genre, and its “Back to the Start” campaign brought this to life. In it, the brand depicted a literal vision of what its ideal world — one of farming and eating before industrialization made it impure — can, and should, look like. It remains similarly committed to equity, integrity, and sustainability in all of its brand communications, like an ad from earlier this year, which mentions one of their newest menu items (queso blanco) within the context of their mission to support family farms.
Mission: To end misogyny and create empowering connections in love, life, and work
Bumble’s mission has always been to be not simply a dating site that’s different from the rest — but also way more than just a dating site. It’s on the romance front that it initially changed the game for the genre with this feature: for matches between the opposite sex, only women are able to initiate a conversation. But Bumble applied the same theory to other aspects of life. The launch of the Bumble Bizz app in 2017 grew the company’s scope while remaining true to this mission of fighting misogyny and creating empowering connections. Women and men upload profiles with their career history and, again, only the woman can make the first move. “It is all about re-educating men on how to not be aggressors,” Bumble’s CEO, Whitney Wolfe, has said. True to form, in this year’s “Time to Connect” campaign — which focuses on the harsh reality of making virtually any type of connection during the pandemic — the brand’s tone and imagery remain as affirmative and empowering as ever.
Bumble - Time to Connect from STALKR on Vimeo.
Bumble - Time to Connect from STALKR on Vimeo.
The aforementioned examples demonstrate the true power in purpose: leading with good conscience drives brand innovation, consumer trust, and sustainable growth. Now it’s your turn. Let's talk about how we can amplify your mission — and evangelize it to both existing and prospective customers.
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