Brands Today & What It Means to Make an Impact
How Brands Can Be Purpose-driven and Value-led
In today’s market, it is not enough to just be a business that sells a product or a service to consumers. Now, it is crucial to be a brand with an identity. This brand identity must be built on clear and consistent values. Brands today don’t just sell stuff; they share ideas, information, and style. Along with that comes a responsibility–to their customers and to society as a whole. Let’s dig in to the responsibility of brand impact a bit.
What exactly does it mean to be impactful?
A 2015 Nielsen survey found that 66% of consumers globally are willing to pay more for products from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact. Brands demonstrating a commitment to sustainability outperform brands without the same commitment.
Everything we do as individuals and collectives has an effect somewhere. We have a choice in how much awareness we bring to these effects. Brands today have the opportunity and the responsibility to enrich communities, support well-being, and care for the environment.
To have a positive impact requires a genuine effort to make the world a better place. Consumers are increasingly noticing and measuring brands based on their effort and impact. Unsuprisingly, some of the most successful brands today have a greater purpose than just profit.
Many individuals are losing faith in public institutions. As a result, many people are looking to businesses to take the lead on social and environmental change. In fact, 76% of millennials now regard business as a force for positive social impact.
Big Picture Thinking, Thousands of Daily Details
While there may be thousands of suggestions about how to be more environmentally conscious or socially aware, there is no single recipe for success when it comes to making an impact. Rather than focus on the “best path,” it’s better to think in terms of honest communication, authentic engagement, and a clear purpose.
Brand Impact: Defining Values & Purpose-driven Action
The first thing a brand can do to create impact is define its values and mission. From there, brands may build purpose into their business model. Their values should guide their work and their communication.
Is recycling and making other eco-friendly gestures enough to be considered impactful? That is certainly subjective. And I think we’ve all been exposed to the debate lately about individual responsibility versus corporate responsibility. I tend to take a both/and stance. We should not place the onus completely on individuals, but at the same time, we all can do something or some little things.
To make an environmental brand impact, small businesses and larger corporations can integrate a number of products or methods into their models. And they should. They can also support other aligned companies, and should implement best practices and protocols. These initiatives are best promoted alongside actions like recycling and eco-friendly behaviors.
As important as implementing them, however, is a commitment to speaking sincerely and transparently. Businesses should feel comfortable sharing about the actions, products, and services they employ. Without transparency, consumers may perceive a brand to be guilty of greenwashing.
The more people trust a brand, the more likely they are to be inspired to action. A business with sustainability practices and social awareness infsued into its brand identity will natrually motivate their consumers to do better also. Sustainability alone, especially now that it is such a buzz word, may not be sole foundation for strong brand impact. But incorporating values and practices related to sustainability into the overall brand strategy will surely deliver long-term value.
And Always, Tell the Story
Another way for brands to make an impact is through storytelling. Consumers, investors and employees want to know what a brand does to make the world a better place. Once a brand has defined its values and purpose, created protocol, and aligned with other brands, then they need to share about it. Modern consumers don’t want to be just passive buyers–they want to feel engaged in a change-making process.
Brands will make even more impact by building or joining coalitions of allies with other brands, influencers, and organizations. Together coalitions can build on their shared goals to create solutions.
In order to keep up with the desires of the modern consumer and the need for ethical consumption, brands must have a mission that is bigger than profit. It’s less about the details than the willingness to engage and the integrity to communicate openly.
It isn’t just possible, it is critical.