There is no doubt that Purpose is the fifth “P” within the marketing mix today. A brand’s purpose should define not what product or service they sell but the higher order of why they exist in society. More and more brands are realizing the importance of acting as purposeful, values-driven organizations, living that purpose through all they do and communicating it through all they say, following in the footsteps of smart, purpose-led brands like Proctor & Gamble and ANN INC.
However, because many marketers are focused on finding the next “big idea” or testing multiple cause, Corporate Social Responsibility or other issue related strategies to live out and communicate their “purpose,” they often miss another critical “P” – People. Companies are run by people, it is people that invest in brands, and people that buy products and services. No matter what industry – B2B or B2C – everyone is ultimately trying to reach people in more meaningful ways. It is the combination of purpose plus people that will help brands stand out in the cause arena moving forward.
It is critically important to seek ways to engage your target audience – whether employees, consumers or other stakeholders – in your purpose-led and cause-related marketing efforts, all the way from strategy to solution.
Three places to engage your target audience in your process:
Preparation: Do your due diligence to really understand what makes your target tick when it comes to care and support for issues impacting their communities and society at large. Base your issues work in real audience insights to align with their interests, fears, passions and – most importantly – where they would expect your brand’s resources to have significant impact.
Planning: As you develop your strategies – whether it is a promotion, a partnership or a new program – seek your target’s advice on how to tackle the issue, how to communicate it and how to solve it. Test the ideas before finalizing the strategy to ensure your message will resonate and allow your team to absorb any learnings on how to make the message stronger and long-lasting.
Participation: Once you are ready to execute and bring your brilliant issue-related strategies to the marketplace, make sure you have a clear, simple, do-able call to action that invites participation from your various audiences. From fundraising, volunteering and advocating all the way to liking and fan-raising, people want to participate. They expect to be engaged. They believe brands should play a role in changing the world and want to help.
All of these critical “People” junctures in your planning process could come with small to very hefty costs. The reality is that there are ways to do research, vetting and engagement relatively inexpensively and quickly today. Thanks to agency research departments, preferred vendors and proprietary research as well as innovative ways to crowdsource and seek information online, there is no excuse not to include People, in addition to Purpose, within the marketing mix. It will pay off – leaving you with a more profound impact on both your business and on society.