The Communications Case for Purpose Driven Brands
CDG’s CMO: Lisa Buffo
May 31, 2024

In today’s competitive business landscape, companies are increasingly recognizing the value of integrating purpose and social responsibility into their core strategies. Beyond the moral imperative, giving back is proving to be a powerful tool from a communications perspective. Here’s why giving back is good business, particularly when it comes to enhancing marketing and branding efforts between your company and your customers.

Enhanced Brand Reputation

A company’s reputation is one of its most valuable assets. Engaging in charitable activities and giving back to the community can significantly enhance your brand image.
According to the Zeno Strength of Purpose study, purpose-driven companies are 4.1x t more likely to be trusted by consumers (Pro Purpose). Trust is a fundamental component of a strong brand reputation, which in turn drives customer loyalty and advocacy.

Purpose-driven brands also enjoy better resilience in times of crisis. The same Zenostudy found that consumers are 6x more likely to protect a purpose-driven company in the event of a misstep or public criticism (Pro Purpose). This protective buffer can be invaluable, allowing companies to navigate challenges while maintaining customer support and goodwill.

Stronger Customer Relationships

Modern consumers are increasingly value-driven, preferring to support brands that align with their own values and contribute to societal good. This alignment fosters deeper connections and loyalty. The Cone/Porter Novelli survey revealed that 66% of consumers would switch from a product they currently buy to a new product from a purpose-driven company, with this number rising to 91% among Millennials (Pro Purpose).

Furthermore, purpose-driven companies are more likely to generate positive word-of-mouth. The same survey found that 78% of consumers would tell others to buy from a purpose-driven company (Pro Purpose). This kind of organic advocacy is incredibly powerful, as personal recommendations often carry more weight than traditional advertising.

Improved Employee Engagement and Retention

A company’s social responsibility efforts can significantly impact employee satisfaction and retention. Employees today want to work for organizations that have a clear purpose and contribute to societal well-being. This sense of purpose can lead to higher levels of employee engagement, productivity, and loyalty.

According to a study by Sustainable Brands and Harris Poll, 80% of individuals say they are loyal to brands that help them live the Good Life, which includes meaningful connections and personal achievement (Pro Purpose). When employees feel that their work contributes to a greater good, they are more likely to be motivated and committed to their employer.

Effective Marketing and Public Relations

From a communications standpoint, giving back provides a wealth of positive content that can be leveraged in marketing and public relations efforts. Stories about your company’s charitable activities can be shared across social media, press releases, and other marketing channels. These narratives not only enhance your brand image but also create an emotional connection with your audience.

For instance, sharing tangible impacts such as the number of children educated or communities helped can be a powerful way to engage and inspire your audience. According to the Cone/Porter Novelli survey, 68% of consumers are not likely to share content from traditional companies with their social networks, but 73% are willing to defend a brand with a purpose if it is negatively discussed (Pro Purpose).

Increased Market Differentiation

In a crowded marketplace, differentiating your brand is crucial. Companies known for their charitable efforts stand out from the competition. This differentiation is not just about being seen as generous; it’s about being perceived as a leader in social responsibility. Leadership in this area can attract customers who are looking for more than just products or services—they want to support brands that make a real difference.

The Kantar Purpose 2020 study highlights that brands with high perceived positive impact enjoy a 175% increase in brand value over 12 years, compared to 86% for medium positive impact and 70% for low positive impact (Pro Purpose). This significant growth underscores the long-term financial benefits of being a purpose-driven company.

Financial Benefits

While the primary motivation for giving back is often the desire to make a positive impact, there are also financial benefits to be gained. Charitable contributions can lead to tax deductions and other financial incentives. Moreover, the increased customer loyalty, enhanced brand reputation, and improved employee retention all contribute to a healthier bottom line.

According to research by IBM and the National Retail Federation, 70% of purpose-driven shoppers are willing to pay a 35% higher upfront cost for sustainable purchases (Pro Purpose). This willingness to pay a premium reflects the added value consumers place on purpose-driven brands.

In conclusion, giving back is not just a noble endeavor; it is a smart business strategy. By integrating social responsibility into your business model, you can enhance your brand reputation, build stronger relationships with customers and employees, and stand out in the marketplace. Moreover, the positive stories and impacts generated from your charitable efforts provide valuable content for your marketing and communications strategies, driving both profit and purpose.

For more insights and examples of how businesses are successfully integrating giving strategies, visit Jump Associates and LinkedIn’s articles on purpose-driven companies.