To Effectively Connect a Brand to Purpose, Data Must Bring the Two Together

“Purpose is one of the most exciting opportunities I’ve seen for this industry in my 35 years of marketing. Done properly, done responsibly, it will help us restore trust in our industry, unlock greater creativity in our work, and grow the brands we love.”

Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever

At the 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the Chief Executive Officer of one of the world’s most successful consumer products companies shared his thoughts on how he felt brands would best form relationships with customers. He believed that a brand having purpose can help us restore trust and unlock greater creativity.

Although brand purpose has been in a marketer’s vernacular for more than a few years now, it is as important as ever. It is often cited as a brand’s “reason for being” beyond making money; it connects with consumers on a more emotional level. The theory… there has to be a societal reason for the brand to exist. Brands invest a lot of resources to learn what those reasons are.  

At DISQO, brand purpose exists beyond buzz. It’s inherent to what we do every day. The data our consumer insights platform delivers helps fuel brand growth and uplifts the spirit of the brands doing business with us. Our clients build trusted insights that they can act upon to fulfill their purpose.

The opted-in zero-party data that our members share with our clients play a significant role in their crucial decision-making — that includes taking actions to connect with their customers’ values. I like to think of our work as the connective tissue between “brand” and “purpose.” 

Recently, I had the opportunity to discuss brand purpose with Ivan Pollard, Global Chief Marketing Officer at General Mills, as part of the TMRE Connects Brand Insights Summit Series. A large part of our conversation dwelled on the challenges faced by brands (and the supporting insights community) over the past year, time marked by the challenge of the pandemic and social unrest. We highlighted the role that research plays in helping brands stay close to their purpose (or roots) while adapting to meet new challenges in the ever-evolving human condition.

To better understand consumers’ expectations in these challenging times, DISQO sought to learn more about the relationship between brands, purpose and data — and how brand purpose impacted purchasing decisions. We leveraged the scale and speed of DISQO’s Consumer Insights Platform to survey more than 29,000 members and analyze the behaviors of more than 6,000 of them who had opted-in to share their online activities.  

You can see the results of our research here, but a couple of big takeaways… nearly two in three consumers (65%) say brands should get involved in social issues. And women are nearly three times as likely as men to search for brand activism related topics. 

Business leaders, marketers, consultants, and academics have long debated whether or not being a force-for-good can deliver bottom-line benefits; our insights show clearly that they can, especially with women. 

In today’s environment, perhaps more than ever, it’s crucial that brands seek out meaningful connections and understand how their messages and values relate to consumer sentiment. Through our recent worldwide challenges, people have had to dig deep to uncover what really matters. 

Now, data shows that it makes good business sense that brands do the same.

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