Lush Cosmetics, Unilever and Coca-Cola were among the brands that offered purpose-driven marketers the greatest inspiration during the last 12 months, according to Warc's annual readership data.

Based on an analysis of subscribers' reading habits, Warc found that a piece discussing Lush Cosmetics' mission and strategy was one of the most popular articles on brand purpose in 2016.

"We're really open and honest about where are we buying from and how are we running our business, and what it means when we say we're handmade," Natasha Ritz, Brand Communications Manager at Lush Cosmetics for Australia and New Zealand, said.

"It's really important with the knowledge that's available to customers. We have to make this really accessible too on our websites and channels so that they are aware of what they are buying, where it's coming from, and who's making it."

Unilever, the FMCG group, featured twice in the most-read rankings on brand purpose. The first such article documented its efforts to embrace brand activism, rather than simply spreading the word through compelling content plays.

"Many brands are painting beautiful narratives; there are some fantastic films online," Aline Santos, the London-based enterprise's EVP/Global Marketing, reported at the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

"Consumers are really expecting brands to create movements. They want to be part of those movements."

The owner of Dove and Ben & Jerry's made a second appearance in the most-read list in How Unilever and Coca-Cola build brand purpose, a report from the Guardian Changing Media Summit 2016.

"Sustainability has to move the needle on the business," Tim Goudie, Social Media Director/Sustainability Marketing at The Coca-Company, said during the conference. "It's not a risk mitigator."

Further inspiration and evidence came from the other two articles in Warc's top five most-read pieces on this topic in 2016, in the form of Purpose-driven companies: making a difference and Brand purpose: customer experience – on purpose.

Data sourced from Warc