7 mins

Agency lifeDigital

The rise of brand purpose

Date 12.10.2018

In my mind, there are two kinds of ‘brand purpose’.

  • A brand’s reason for being
  • A brand’s commitment to taking a stance on serious topics

I’m going to focus on the second kind of purpose, because we know from experience that the first takes some serious unpacking (and could be a few future blogs by itself).

In recent years, brands are taking a stance on important issues such as politics, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and so much more. Here’s the summary of why you should care:

  • 87% will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they care about. (Cone Communications CSR Study)
  • 92% have a more positive image of a company when they support a social or environmental issue. (2017 Aflac CSR Report)
  • 66% are willing to pay extra for products and services that come from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact. (Nielsen: The Sustainability Report)
  • Last, but not least, it’s nice to be nice.

If you’re looking for some key stats to highlight why your brand needs a(n authentic) purpose, you’re all set. For a little more information around each of these stats, keep on reading.

87% will purchase because a company advocated for an issue they care about

A brand that shares the same values as a person is more likely to see purchases from those people. In a world where brands are fighting amongst each other for attention, converting a person into a customer or an advocate is everything. It just happens to be a win-win scenario that operating with purpose attracts these people and their purchasing behaviour while also creating a better world.

92% have a more positive image of a company supporting social or environment issues

A more positive image of a brand means increased brand recall, loyalty, and advocacy. If someone thinks highly of a brand, they’re more likely to talk about it with their friends and family. This is because people use brands to reflect their own personality and values, so by associating themselves with a brand they’re saying, “I also care about the issues that they care about. I have a purpose.”

66% will pay extra for products/services from companies with social and environment impact

Having a purpose often comes with a cost. Making a stand or doing things in a socially or environmentally impactful way may take longer, increase costs and therefore prices, but a person who wants to align with purpose understands this. They’re willing to pay more for those products or services, because they know that one purchase at a time, they’re trying to make a difference.

Although powerful, it’s important for a brand to truly believe in their purpose, otherwise people will catch on quickly. We created a ‘controversy checklist’ for brands to make sure that they’re creating a purpose-driven campaign for the right reasons…

With so many people being driven by purpose in their brand loyalty and purchases, it’s no surprise that many brands are bringing this purpose to the core of everything they do.

Here are a few such brands that I’ve experienced recently:


Whether you’re a fan of Lush’s bright, colourful attitude and products or not, you can’t deny that they have a purpose. As well as looking to bring a bit of colour and positivity to the world, they also want to create fun products that aren’t tested on animals and use almost no packaging, along with many other ‘Green policies’.

Personally, I can’t go into Lush without getting a headache from the collection of powerfully-perfumed products on display, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t admire what they’re doing and often shop there for gifts.


As more people care about the welfare of animals, Pret’s vegetarian and vegan options have increased to the point that they even have veggie-only stores. Not only this, but they also have discount initiatives for people who use re-usable cups and removed plastic straws from their stores.

I’ve even had a free coffee from them before now, just because it’s something they like to surprise people with now and then… It was an unexpectedly positive way to start the day and had me singing their praises for months.


I didn’t just buy from Pela because I needed a phone case. There are a million other places I could have bought a phone case, and much cheaper, but I bought from this specific brand because their entire purpose is around eco-friendly products and giving back. So, I know that that one day, when I’m done with this case, it won’t end up at a tip (or at least not for long), because it will biodegrade.

That makes me happy, and you’re damn right I’m going to tell everyone about it whenever we get onto the topic of phone cases. Am I little smug about it? Sure. But I’m also now a loyal advocate, and it’s because my values fit with theirs.

If anyone needs me I’ll be admiring my phone case, drinking a soya latte, and dropping in a bath bomb. And I’ll be doing it all with purpose.

Do you have a favourite brand with purpose? Let me know about it over on Twitter.

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