GLOBAL: Purpose-led marketing strategies are increasingly helping brands achieve their commercial objectives, according to a new WARC report, which also cautions that measurement in this area needs to improve.

The Brand Purpose Report analysed the shortlisted entries in the Best Use of Brand Purpose category in the 2017 WARC Awards to identify themes that marketers can tap into in the year ahead.

Seven in ten of the shortlisted campaigns reported that success in achieving primary objectives was ‘considerable’.

These were the campaigns that had committed to something more than mere badging – the judges were quick to filter out one-off campaigns and activations, however well intended they may have been, that were untethered to an ongoing social mission at ‘enterprise level’.

But they also noted that more robust metrics are needed to prove both the social and commercial case for a brand purpose strategy to be implemented.

“The advocates of purpose need to make an ongoing commercial case in the boardroom, not just the moral case in the corridor,” noted Laurence Green, executive partner at MullenLowe London and a member of the judging panel.

That means soft metrics giving way to harder evidence such as sales, market share increases and profit gains. One example is Kotex which claims its purposeful effort increased sales by 3%.

Such commercial proof of effectiveness is only part of the next stage for purpose, however, as the report observed that the shortlisted campaigns were not well integrated into the marketing mix – just one of the steps on the road to ensuring purpose runs through the entire enterprise.

“[Brand purpose] is a belief system that should percolate down to innovations, programmes that you invest in, the partnerships you get into, HR policies and diversity initiatives,” according to Rajat Mendhi, Executive Vice President, Planning at BBDO Mumbai..

And as the man behind widely lauded Share The Load campaign for P&G detergent brand Ariel, he knows whereof he speaks.

Sourced from WARC