How marketers can avoid purpose washing

Discusses purpose washing in marketing and how marketers can avoid it.

Alex Nabaum/

In the past few years brand purpose has ascended to the top of the marketing agenda, as consumers demand that brands and organizations stand for something other than making money and jockeying for market share. But the rise in brand purpose has also led to a surge in so-called purpose washing, in which a company telegraphs that it backs a cause — the environment, empowering women, or LGBTQ+ rights, as examples — only to do little to nothing to support it.

Few companies are immune to allegations of purpose washing. And the bigger the...

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