Brands must have a "purpose"

8 March 2013
BRUSSELS: Some 83% of marketers believe brands should have a "purpose", but many shoppers have moved ahead of the industry in this area, a study by the World Federation of Advertisers has revealed.

The trade body polled 149 marketers from 58 firms controlling $70bn in adspend. It then compared the results with a global poll of 8,000 shoppers conducted by Edelman, the PR network.

Warc subscribers can read a full write-up of the study, which was presented at the WFA's Global Marketer Week, and features insights from organisations like Anheuser-Busch Inbev, the brewer, and Johnson & Johnson, the healthcare giant.

Some 56% of industry insiders thought consumers would favour brands that supported good causes at the same time as making money, but Edelman's research pegged the actual total at 76%.

These figures stood at 40% and 47% respectively with regard to how many people bought caused-backing products at least once a month.

More broadly, only 38% of marketers had witnessed "consumer scepticism" when trying to position their products around a "purpose", with shoppers in Europe, somewhat surprisingly, the least cynical.

Fully 80% of the professionals polled agreed chief executives should help and be involved in shaping a purpose, a reading which stood at 74% for chief marketing officers, 64% for corporate communications and 53% for all staff.

While 49% of this panel agreed their brands had a purpose, only 38% felt it was communicated well. More positively, a 93% majority said the impact of purpose on reputation could be measured, as did 91% for consumer engagement.

Upon being asked to name the company which has best embraced purpose, Unilever, the FMCG firm, led the charts on 23%, buoyed by its goal to double sales and halve its environmental footprint by 2020.

Procter & Gamble, a rival to Unilever, took second on 15%, and has embraced the corporate mantra of "touching and improving" consumers. Soft drinks titan Coca-Cola was third on 14%.

Elsewhere at Global Marketer Week, the World Federation of Advertisers named Martin Riley, group chief marketing officer of Pernod Ricard, the spirits manufacturer, as its new president.

He replaces Chris Burggraeve, the former global chief executive of Anheuser-Busch InBev, who held the post since 2010.

Data sourced from World Federation of Advertisers; additional content by Warc staff
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