Monday, 11 July 2016
The brand who saved the world?
Take 'Purpose'. For most of this decade so far, Purpose has been the marketing buzzword. I think a lot of it started with the popularity of Simon Sinek's 2009 book and talks - Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to take Action. Purpose has even found its way to be included as the 5th, or 6th, or 101st 'P' of marketing.
And just last week, I received a trend report from Trendwatching, entitled 'Big Brand Redemption', all about how Big Brands can be the solution (not the problem) when it comes to a sustainable, ethical, brighter future for us all, citing examples such as Unilever's Lifebuoy.
But, but, but. To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, or whatever. For every brand with high falutin' ideas about saving the world, there's another who wants to come down to earth. One of the biggest brand repositioning stories in the last year is from Coke with the move from 'Open Happiness' to the more functional 'Taste the Feeling'. To quote Marco de Quinto, the Coke CMO: We are a simple pleasure, a product that refreshes. Not one that's going to save the world. If by refreshing, you save the world, fine. We are going back to this truth.
And then, in Millward Brown's BrandZ: Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands, this view is reflected:
pg 27: Brands may not need a purpose as high as saving humanity
Intro pg 5: Brands seem to be shifting from higher purpose (making the world better) to narrower purpose (making the customer's life better)
Brands do not need a higher purpose ... they need to be seen as improving the life of the consumer in some way
Hang on - isn't that what we used to call a benefit?