ORLANDO: American Standard, the bathroom and kitchen fittings company, has successfully revitalised its business by establishing a meaningful mission, and then tying "purpose to purchase".

Jay Gould, the organisation's president/ceo, discussed this subject while speaking at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2014 Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando.

And he reported that, upon assuming his current position in early 2012, the firm was "on the verge of bankruptcy" – a situation since transformed by fostering a deeper connection with consumers.

"Our purpose was around raising the standards of daily living at home, at work and around the world," he said. (For more, including details of how its rebranding exercise was developed, read Warc's exclusive report: American Standard to ANA: Purpose must drive purchase.)

"And we needed to find ways to articulate that core purpose," Gould added.

Working with agency 22squared, American Standard built "Flush for Good" – a program based on the creation of a piece of technology limiting the spread of disease due to bad sanitation in developing nations.

American Standard committed to improving the lives of millions of people around the world with this system – and to install such latrine protection whenever one of its toilets was purchased.

This initiative, Gould revealed, galvanised the company's workforce, provided new ways to engage shoppers and had a very positive impact in solving an extremely damaging problem.

An integrated campaign spread the word, and the effect of this messaging is reflected by rising demand – a result also playing a role in American Standard beating initial targets for installing systems in impoverished communities.

"It was really important not only to be purpose-driven, but to be purchase-driven," Gould told the ANA audience.

"We needed to convert our great ideas from a nice video to actually getting the cash register to ring. So it was really important that we move from purpose to purchase."

Data sourced from Warc