Adrian Mills, Partner, Deloitte Australia, is judging the Effective Use of Brand Purpose category in the 2018 WARC Awards. He talks to Lucy Aitken about his recent career move from McCann Melbourne and why brand purpose, when done well, is a key driver for business growth.

Tell me what you’re doing on the Brand Creative & Media team?

The Brand Creative & Media team is a new division at Deloitte is particularly exciting because it’s fully integrated offering within the Deloitte business. We came into Deloitte to creatively supercharge their existing offering but the scale and depth of Deloitte is much more extreme than we had initially realised. Every day, we discover something new that the company does. It spans a diverse range, from health policy to trade deals, mergers to finance, from consulting to creative solutions. Indeed, we have found Deloitte to be a much more creative place than they probably gave themselves credit for.

Is Deloitte what you thought it would be?

It’s different in many ways. Those things we might think are creative are just another day at the office for them and the things that they think are incredibly creative are just another day at the office for us. It’s different because they are genuinely bridging the diving between data and implementation, between information and action. It is common for agencies to claim their creative product to be data driven, but there isn’t a creative agency that I know with 400 data scientists in the one office. The scale of this opportunity is something we’re just starting to comprehend.

You are judging the Effective Use of Brand Purpose category at this year’s WARC Awards. To your mind, what does brand purpose look like when it’s done well?

Brand purpose work done well is absolutely genuine and authentic and not just making a convenient play. It’s work that comes from the heart of an organisation. Purpose as a philosophy gets undermined, for instance, by brands that create a lofty purpose that extends far beyond what they functionally do and it’s easy to deride the idea of purpose driven marketing when it’s done so poorly, so often.

Share an example of brand purpose done well.

My favourite piece of purpose-driven work was “Imported from Detroit”. This was a piece of work from Chrysler, an organisation that stood up for an entire city at an incredibly vulnerable point in time. They just owned it. That was the moment when I truly believed that there is more to this than simply paying lip service.

What about the cynics who can’t see the point of brand purpose?

It’s easy to dismiss purpose when you look at bad examples of it. Unfortunately, in the advertising business you see more poor executions than brilliant ones. You often see work at awards shows that can be recognised above harder, more failsafe work, yet it can be disingenuous. People who say that purpose is a fad or irrelevant or just a convenient way of looking at things, I’d recommend that they find some examples of it done really well. What they’d see is organisations agreeing with each other and staff members who desperately love coming to work, no matter what they do. They’ll also see the collision of these two forces driving business growth.

We often see results for brand purpose case studies given in terms of impressions. How much sway does that carry with you?

Impressions aren’t a great metric, unless you’re talking about overwhelming PR reach. I much prefer to see metrics that recognise some kind of action. In brand purpose case studies, I like to see a specific action related to the purpose. A digital campaign should be able to track the actual engagement over and above an impression of a campaign. Entries shouldn’t just be using the most convenient metrics, they should be using the most relevant soft and hard metrics that will convince a judge about the strength of their case.

What advice would you give entrants in this year’s WARC Awards?

State what you think and use evidence to impress the judges as opposed to hyperbole - those case studies will always stand out the most.

The 2018 WARC Awards, a global search for next-generation effectiveness ideas, are now open for entries until 12 February 2018. 

There are four categories: Effective Innovation, Effective Use of Brand Purpose, Effective Content Strategy and Effective Social Strategy. Like all WARC Awards programmes, entry is free.