Contributing to a greater good

Edward Martin, Mark Wolf and Katya Andersen

The intrinsic value of purpose-driven marketing.

As marketers, we spend billions of dollars each year trying to understand consumers all over the world – and even more trying to influence them through the various tools in our marketing arsenal. Unfortunately, it's becoming harder to do both. Few consumers want to take the time to complete a research survey, and they're becoming increasingly resistant to conventional marketing in the age of distraction. We are being ignored and challenged – at the same time.

So what is a marketer to do to forge connections in this environment? Many experts suggest that, to build a deeper basis for customer engagement, we move away from traditional practices and take a larger view of what connects us all. A recent study of 27 national brands by Princeton University and the Relational Capital Group found that consumers instinctively judge, and build a relationship with, brands based on their warmth and competence. Indeed, a brand that is "honest and trustworthy" and "acts in the customer's best interests" is especially effective at building brand loyalty, the study noted. In short, when a company contributes to a broader purpose, customers experience a greater bond with that brand.