‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ is no longer the box-ticking exercise of a decade ago. Nowadays, it has evolved into the opportunity to demonstrate to consumers the reason your brand exists, over and above simply selling your product, writes Mike Berry.
Younger generations of consumers are increasingly expecting – even demanding – that brands across all sectors make a positive difference in the world. They want to be associated with brands that align with their values and beliefs. The Ipsos Global Trends Report 2017 found that 68% of people believe that the most successful brands will be those that make the most positive contribution to society.
The importance of ‘purpose’ has slowly been moving up the corporate ladder so it’s no longer just a catchy marketing term, it’s a topic that now demands boardroom-level attention. Many of the world’s largest companies have embraced the concept. They understand that having a clear and compelling purpose that focuses on the wider world will greatly enhance their brand (or brands) in the eyes of consumers.
Purpose is the reason their brand exists – something they offer consumers that no other company can.
In a crowded marketplace such as the beer and cider world, where most brands are effectively offering something very similar (with a few notable exceptions), purpose is what makes your product stand out. If offers you a distinct competitive advantage.
When launching a new beer or cider, for example, there are many elements of the product to decide on – from the taste and flavour of the liquid itself to the design of the artwork, logo; whether it should be bottled or canned – factors that all other brands in the market will also give plenty of thought to.
However, brand purpose is what makes it different and relevant to consumers. It could be something that adds meaning and engages drinkers at an emotional level, such as charitable partnerships, or commitments to action on environmental issues. Whatever it is, your purpose needs to be authentic and consistent across everything you do.
Through our involvement in the Beer & Cider Marketing Awards, we at Fleet Street Communications have been fascinated to see the number of companies in the sector embracing the concept of purpose. They recognise it’s more than just ‘doing the right thing’, it’s a guiding set of principles through which they can anchor their business.
Last year’s winner, Brewgooder donates all of its profits to clean water charities. Its mission is to bring 1 million people clean drinking water around the world – a cause that drinkers can unite behind. Last year it was a worthy winner.
We look forward to discovering more about the good work from many companies across the sector from this year’s entrants. Deadline for entries is 1 July so still time to submit your work.
Entering awards is an important part of the communications mix to help show the world you’re determined to be different. But companies must be sophisticated in communicating their credentials across all channels. This might even extend into internal initiatives that help staff actually ‘live’ the brand and become true advocates.
What separates the best brands from the pack is how companies can credibly demonstrate that they care as much about people, their communities and their purpose, as they do about profit and shareholders.
Mike Berry is Head of Content at Fleet Street Communications and former Managing Editor at the Morning Advertiser magazine.