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How Brands Can Leverage Purpose Marketing In a New Era of Consumer Activism


According to the 2019 “Meaningful Brands” study, being meaningful is good for business:

  • 77% of consumers prefer to buy from companies who share their values
  • 55% of consumers believe companies have a more important role than government today in creating a better future
  • Value-driven brands outperform the market by 134%

Yonder CMO, Lisa Roberts, joined Barbara Shipley, SVP, Brand Integration at AARP; Leela Srinivasan, CMO of SurveyMonkey; and Laurel Mintz, CEO of Elevate My Brand for a conversation hosted by Reuters Events about purpose-driven marketing, and why its paramount today. Below is the recording and highlights from the conversation.

Does it feel like consumers are demanding brands to live with purpose today, more than ever before? Why?

Activism isn’t new but social media has reinvigorated it with frequency, visibility, and accessibility, giving consumers more influence than ever. Most of them believe social platforms play a critical role in social change — in fact ~70% of Gen Z and Millennials believe this. These are generations of digital natives, driven to advocate for their values, and they know how to use the mechanics of today’s internet to do it. Brands will do well to know them — really know them.

A global pandemic, racial justice movement, and an important election has put new pressure on brands to know where they stand. Factions are using social media to influence buyer decision-making and every aspect of a brand is fair play — store policies, where they source products, employees and culture, the executive team and the causes they support…

Brands are learning that marketing is no longer just about catchy campaigns to sell more. Our marketing platforms have become platforms for activism. There is a lot of opportunity and risk in this for sure.

Knowing which values and beliefs are keeping your consumers connected to your brand can help you identify advocates, and build campaigns to engage them in really powerful ways. Brands out of touch with consumers will miss out on opportunities to build cultural allies, or worse, come across as tone deaf and be at risk of being cancelled.