Often, brands focus on selling points such as the affordability or quality of their products, or the exceptional service they are able to offer their customers. These are all valid – and valuable – propositions. However, many of today’s customers are hearing the same messages from other brands.
How can your company compete?
One approach is to focus on the ways in which your brand can make the world a better place. Many customers want to invest their money in products and solutions that are produced by ethical, responsible organisations. They care about what companies are doing to help their communities, protect the environment or further an important social cause.
In this environment, a marketing strategy based on affordability, quality or service alone may not be enough to earn customers’ respect – which is a key building block for customer loyalty.
What can brands do?
Many brands today are changing the way they build relationships with their customers. These organisations are creating connections with their target markets based on values or beliefs that they share.
This approach is called purpose-driven marketing. It’s a marketing strategy that goes beyond focusing on the unique features and benefits of the business’s products. Rather, it focuses on what the business is doing to support the values, beliefs, causes and passions that its target market cares about.
This type of marketing strategy looks outward rather than inward. It focuses on the positive impact that the organisation can make – either on its own or in partnership with its customers.
For example, a company’s purpose could be to:
- Close the gender pay gap in an industry
- Only sell fairly traded and ethically sourced products
- Actively support a charity
- Reduce its carbon footprint
Why do customers care?
When marketing focuses on purpose, customers are able to relate to the brand in a new and powerful way. They feel as if they are not only buying products or services, but also investing in a company that acts responsibly and ethically. In this way, purpose is a strong selling point. It’s something customers can believe in and get excited about.
According to research conducted by Oracle:
“Over half (52 percent) of consumers state that a key influence on loyalty is knowing that retailers are acting sustainably. This is especially true for grocery (56 percent) and fashion (52 percent) shoppers that state knowing that retailers are acting sustainably and limiting their impact on the environment would influence their loyalty.”
If you, as a business owner or marketer, want to explore this type of marketing strategy, here are some pointers:
1. What’s your purpose?
The first step is to identify your organisation’s purpose. What does your company stand for? How do you do things differently? How can you help your customers to achieve their purpose? What positive impact does your business have on society or the environment?
2. Do your customers care?
As a business, you may have many purposes. Ideally, you need to focus your marketing communications on the issues that mean something to your customers. You may need to conduct some market research to make sure you’re on the right page.
3. Have you made your purpose clear?
Once your organisation has identified your purpose, you need to define this clearly and communicate it to all internal stakeholders. Once everyone understands the purpose you’re working towards, you need to clearly communicate this purpose to your customers. Your website is the perfect place to share this message. Let your purpose guide your conversations on social media too. Above all, it’s important to be consistent.