June 10, 2019

Guillén MejideGuillén Mejide
Sales and Marketing Consultant

Brand, Purpose and HR

Believing that a brand is merely a symbol that informs us about the manufacturer of a product and its quality is something we can no longer take for granted. Today, a brand is a vessel for values, connecting with consumers in numerous ways.
One of the most apparent ways is through identity. Many people associate a part of their identity with owning a particular product, choosing one brand over another because they identify with it. Or, more accurately, they want others to identify them with it, whether for prestige or belonging to a specific social group.
Given this foundation, many brands have spent years developing their identity to create a particular image in the minds of consumers. This image helps them establish a position in the market and, of course, boost their sales!

Most of the brands continue to work in this paradigm, in fact the ones that have best worked on their identity have also managed to be the favorites of job seekers; those to which the candidates would say yes almost without thinking about it, since just as they feel proud to use their products, they would also be proud to work for one of them. We can see some of them in this recent study by research firm YouGov.

After years in which this pride in displaying a logo has been the main way in which brands have differentiated themselves, in recent years small brands have appeared that have gone a step further by adopting a certain ideology, normally focused on social problems or environmental issues and have made it their flag – not only as the basis of their communication but also as the center of their business – making it possible for consumers to recognize themselves in this ideology and create a much greater bond.

During the past year some big brands have chosen to make a movement in this regard, the most famous being Nike with the campaign carried out with Colin Kaepernick, an American football player famous for having knelt when the national anthem was played in protest against the increase in police killings of black people.

This movement by Nike was answered by some consumers burning their products, but over the weeks it led to an increase in sales and a notable improvement in the brand's image, as well as the pride of showing its logo.

This brand positioning is known as Purpose Marketing.

According to some studies, it is the way in which all brands will connect with their consumers in the future, and thanks to the fact that this positioning is not based only on appearances, but is based on the real activity of the brand and on the values of the organization, at the same time they will be able to generate positive externalities to their activity, something that is difficult to achieve with classic CSR policies.

And what effect does this purpose have on the people who work at these companies?

Increasingly, marketing departments are looking within the organization to achieve, together with people management departments, that company workers feel more linked to the brand, is the well-known as Employer Branding.

In addition, companies understand more and more that employee satisfaction has a great impact in the customer experience, so they also work on the Employee Experience to give coherence to the global strategy.

In the case of purposeful marketing, and linked to the above, the effect produced on workers is similar to that produced on clients.

There will be some who feel rejected by such positioning, but for those who feel aligned with it, their vision of the company they work for will be different, also generating a much higher level of connection.

In this regard, we can refer to the organizations that Frederic Laloux discussed in his book "Reinventing Organizations", where he emphasized that organizations should transcend the "professional identity" of the individuals within them by incorporating more personal aspects, particularly those that are aligned with the organization's purpose.

In this framework, we can think that, if in the future brands begin to become visible in a transparent way ideological aspects that constitute the basis of the existence of the organization itself, the labor market could suffer a totally disruptive change, since the candidates for Working in these organizations will not only base their decision on the prestige of the brand or the working conditions they are offered, but also on the purpose that moves them.