“It’s never been more important for brands to have a purpose.”
That was the theme of Stacy Minero’s talk to a captivated crowd of marketers at NewsCred’s ThinkContent New York 2018. As Head of Brand Strategy for Twitter’s #Fuel team, she has an inside track into what millions of consumers respond to each and every day.
And what she’s noticed in today’s digital media landscape is that brands need a clearly defined purpose in order to win the hearts and minds of fans. Here’s why:
- Consumers are drowning in choice
- There is less interest in advertising than we’ve seen in our lifetime
- The 21st century hasn’t been easy
“Issues are more divisive. Weather is more catastrophic. Events have shaken communities at their core. Social activism is on the rise as politics become more polarized. It’s all created a void,” she said.
So what does that mean for brands? Minero cited the Edelman Trust Barometer, pointing out that people are putting less faith in mainstream media and big government and looking toward brands as “islands of stability.”
“People are looking for brands to be more of a moral compass, and to stand for something,” she said.
Data insights back up that claim; Minero shared the following stats:
- 75 percent of consumers want brands to make contributions to their well-being and quality of life.
- 57 percent will buy or boycott a brand based on its position on a social or political issue. “Remember when the NFL was the safest bet you could place?” she quipped.
- 30 percent are buying or boycotting more than they were a year ago.
Given that reality, today’s successful brands are the ones that have clearly defined their purpose and are bringing it to the forefront of everything they do.
Here are the ones Minero highlighted:
“’A life outdoors is a life well-lived’ is the singular focus that guides everything REI does,” said Minero.
The outdoors company launched its most notable campaign in response to how commercialized Black Friday has become. REI came up with the idea to #OptOutside, in which it closed stores, paid employees to take off and spend Black Friday outdoors, and rallied others to do the same. To support the initiative, REI created video calls to action, as well as a complete mobile experience in which people could input their zip code to find nearby public places they could explore. They could also set up notifications to remind them to go outside, a great example of one-to-one content personalization.
Even better, the #OptOutside message was able to transcend the singular moment of Black Friday. REI has turned it into an everyday call to action, whether through sharing photos letting fans know that the “slopes are calling,” promoting Earth Day, or urging fans to share and tag their own #OptOutside photos on social media.
Verizon has invested in building a robust network for first responders by constructing mobile towers in devastated areas. To highlight that aspect of the business, and show appreciation for those hardworking men and women, Verizon created a content campaign that most people can get behind – saying thank you.
First, it launched the AllOurThanks.com website and videos. Next, it ran a Twitter activation with the #AllOurThanks hashtag, prompting audiences to make donations to the Red Cross, which Verizon would match. “You felt that power of the collective harnessing the goodwill,” Minero said.
Bolstered by a massive Twitter response, including from celebrities like Jaime Foxx and Pharrell Williams, the campaign resulted in 97 percent positive sentiment.
Purpose travels on Twitter, said Minero: “It’s where missions are announced and movements are mobilized.” But the social platform also has a purpose of its own, and showed it wasn’t afraid to take a stand during last year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show).
After realizing that CES didn’t include a single female keynote speaker, Twitter decided to build its own stage and host an event to showcase the journeys of talented women via a livestream. “It surpassed the views of every keynote speaker on the main stage of CES,” said Minero.
The #HereWeAre event has since grown into an ongoing commitment to amplify women’s voices.
So What’s Your Brand Purpose?
“You can’t find your purpose on a whiteboard,” said Minero, “but brands can make a difference in people’s lives in small and big ways.” The key is that it has to be authentic and should never feel forced.
Here’s Minero’s checklist to help you define and amplify your brand purpose:
- Does your brand have a right or role to be here? Does it feel organic to the services you provide?
- Will this stand up 10 years from now? Does it have an enduring value? A lot of times brands chase trends that end up being fleeting.
- Are you doing or just saying? If you’re just creating a flashy campaign, it will fall flat. There has to be a real, companywide investment in the cause to back up the commitment.
Written by Dawn Papandrea for NewsCred and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.