March 20, 2023
“There is no more strategic issue for a company, or any organization, than its ultimate purpose.”
– Ray Anderson, the former CEO of Interface
Business-to-business (B2B) marketing—or marketing tailored to business or other organizations—is a constantly evolving industry. A review of 2023 B2B trends finds the concepts of purpose driven brands and purpose perception as central to watch for as emerging trends.
According to Branding Strategy Insider a purpose-driven brand is one where the organization has consciously placed its ‘Why’ front and center—in how it communicates, but more importantly, in how it actually behaves in its business conduct. The ‘why’ drives what the organization will and will not do. It defines what services it provides, what products it sells, the people it hires, promotes and rewards—in other words, the heart and soul of how it does business.
Increasingly, brands are including corporate social responsibility (CSR) as part of their brand purpose. CSR is the practice of incorporating social and environmental concerns into a company’s business operations and decision-making. It’s a way for brands to give back to their communities and positively impact the world. To appeal to purpose-driven consumers, brands need to be transparent about their CSR initiatives.
A recent online Porter Novelli Purpose Perception Study that surveyed 1,200 US adults ages 18-69 found that when a brand leads with purpose, it builds a relationship with staff and consumers alike that goes deep. In essence, there was overwhelming support for a company that operated with purpose. The ‘why’ companies do business matters to people.
A purpose-driven brand is fully aligned with profitability. The past perception that the pursuit of profit and the pursuit of purpose as an ‘either profit or purpose’ trade-off, clearly doesn’t align with reality. As the data above show, it’s actually a ‘both profit and purpose’ model—both philosophically and financially. Put simply, it pays to do good.
As Jim Stengel, the former CMO of Procter and Gamble said, “This is not corporate social responsibility, it’s not cause marketing, and it’s not a strategy for philanthropy; it’s a business strategy. Your philanthropy can come out of it, just like your R&D and HR come out of it. But once you choose your purpose—everything else should come out of that.”1
A purpose driven brand results in trust, by both the consumer and the employee, that a company is going to do what it says it is going to do.
In 2021 Forrester published its study entitled The Trust Imperative which found that:
Organizations that succeed at building and continuously reinforcing trust have the unique opportunity to build enduring bonds with customers, attract the best, most dedicated talent, and create unique experiences with an ecosystem of partners and emerging technologies that people embrace, not fear—all while minimizing risk. Every company must embrace this opportunity and commit to trust as a business imperative. 2
The concept of a purpose-driven brand, clearly defining why and how we do what we do and then striving to earn the trust of consumers by reliably living up to the standard, is a driving force within The Fedcap Group. Our very structure as a nonprofit makes us mission-driven, but who we do business with matters as well. We understand our fidelity to our mission of breaking down barriers to economic well-being matters to our funders, donors, and staff—and they hold us to a high standard. Likewise, it matters that our supply chain and other business partners are purpose driven as well.
1. Excerpted from Brand and Talent by Kevin Keohane. Brand and Talent. Kogan Page Publishing. (2014).