In short: no. But the best branding does.
There’s no question that consumers are on the hunt for brands that align with their personal values more than ever. But that doesn’t mean your brand or message needs to be inauthentically worthy.
Even if you don’t identify as a social purpose business, doing good is a spectrum – you’ve just got to find your place on it.
Whilst we believe in brands’ power to move the needle on the things that matter, it’s also a complicated landscape to navigate. Here’s how you can start:
Redefine what it means to save the world
To the surprise of pretty much no one, the world needs saving from loads of things. There’s the really big scary stuff that needs immediate action – and that brands absolutely need to do their bit for – but there’s also the small stuff that presents an ownable opportunity to make a difference.
Sometimes the best brands set out to save someone’s day, or someone’s paycheck, as well as making responsible micro-moves towards saving the world. Just always be sure to avoid the kind of co-dependent saviour complex some brands push to the forefront of their messaging. In communicating with your audience what your brand is setting out to ‘save’ them from, know what’s within your capabilities, and don’t over-promise.
Reframe your mission to chime with whatever it is you’re saving the world from. It doesn’t need to be a rallying cry, or an overly-preachy manifesto – but it will be the thing you’re most proud of saying in an elevator pitch. It will be your own little slice of brand heroism, that goes beyond a problem-solution product offering.
Find what makes you the good guy
In other words, identify your purpose. The closer to positive social impact the better, but any modern audience will sniff out a purpose that sounds green-washy. If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t force it.
In the same way that product benefit influences your message, think what moves you’re making to futureproof your business. It could be bettering employee wellbeing, or working towards offsetting your carbon emissions. Then make your audience aware of it. Chances are, they’ll see it as a benefit of equal importance, that pushes you into a front runner position.
Once you’ve identified a purpose that means something to your audience, no matter how big or small, turn it into a key component of your brand story. As with anything, it’s not just about what you say, it’s how you say it. Bring your purpose to life in a way that galvanises your audience, and gets them to champion your cause with the same evangelical energy you possess with your brand. That’s the tried and tested method of converting customers into long-term fans.
Honesty is always the best policy
If you’ve got skeletons in the closet, it might be the time to let them roam free. The only thing people hate more than a problematic business, is one that pretends not to be. Every organisation out there is on a purpose journey – some have further to go than others, but acknowledging you’re part of the problem is a key first step that your audience will respond well to (within reason).
Take note, however, that once you’ve transparently identified your points of improvement, you’ll need to take some real action towards achieving them. Or bare the wrath of a fair few Karens.
In laying it bare, you’ll inspire the same introspection in your audience. A brand that says ‘here’s how we’re trying to do better’, influences their customer to do the same – bringing your worldview into focus, and adapting to fit its ever-changing demands. By doing that, you’re changing the trajectory of your business for the better, and reassuring your audience that you’re always open to evolve and grow. You’ll be putting their values alongside your own, and telling them you’re along for the ride.
Written By Alex Prew, Strategist & Copywriter @ LoveGunn