Three themes for brand purpose


Brand purpose can be a driver of growth, a key to unlocking new partnerships and a way of signalling modernity, according to a new WARC report edited by Burger King Global CMO Fernando Machado.

The Effective Use of Brand Purpose Report 2019 is based on analysis of the metadata of the shortlisted entries in the Effective Use of Brand Purpose category of the WARC Awards 2019 as well as discussions in the jury, which was chaired by Machado.

“A purpose needs to link back to the company’s mission and to demonstrate results,” he says. “This is critical because marketers need to see how purpose has shaped brand attributes over time through sales and objectives, as well as through behaviour change. But the biggest challenge of all is to come from the heart.”

Get it right and, as research by the Harvard Business Review has shown, purpose can drive growth and create new markets while serving stakeholder needs.

The report also notes how partnerships built on purpose are empowering brands to communicate in new ways. One fifth of this year’s shortlisted papers cited partnerships as a creative strategy, indicating that these can help to shape a new style of purpose-led advertising.

Absolut partnered with Slovak musicians and Spotify to promote diversity in Slovakia, for example, while Manpower in Norway partnered influencers to help millennials transfer their gaming skills into the workplace.

A third theme to emerge from the report is how some brands are beginning to reset the way they portray gender, tapping into the zeitgeist around gender fluidity and LGBTQ+. At the same time, there continues to be a high number of campaigns that promote female emancipation.

Recent work for Barbie, Gillette, Renault and personal-care brand Billie shows brands attempting to debunk gender stereotypes by addressing issues around gender and sexuality.

“Rethinking gender has become a priority for certain brands that are starting to be more inclusive in their approach,” notes Lucy Aitken, Managing Editor – Case Studies, WARC.

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