Updated: Jan 20, 2020
I love to hear great stories about brands who have either found or redefined their purpose - the reason they exist beyond making money. These brands have realised that they have influence over their audiences - and with influence comes responsibility. They could encourage their audiences to do all sorts of things but they are trying to make a positive impact on their world, be that locally or globally.
Now let's not be too 'holier than thou' - having an authentic purpose doesn't mean you can't make money. In fact it's quite the opposite! If you don't make money you wont be in business very long, and if you're not in business very long your positive impact is going to be short lived too. Some of the world's most purposeful commercial brands have seen huge growth since defining, sharing and authentically living it. I guess that means that we (the consumers) quite like the idea of a great product or service that also does a little good? Here's three brands that I love - there are many many more (it was tough to just choose three!)
1. Michael Jordan "Failure" - Nike
Nike tells anyone and everyone to 'just do it'. Your ability to try is not limited by your sex, your ethnicity, your social economic status or your ability to play.
No world class performer, sports person or business leader succeeds every time. What I love about this commercial is that it encourages you to 'just do it' and if you fail, dust yourself off and 'just do it again' - like Michael does.
Oh and we sell shoes.
2. Becoming Circular - Ikea
Ikea's mission is 'a better everyday life for the many people.'
Most of us will think of reasonably priced flat pack when we think of Ikea. And for a longtime that's what it was all about. But for Ikea to continue living its mission in a changing world they have had to reevaluate what 'a better everyday life' is.
They have realised that sustainability and environmental impact is, and will continue to be, key to that so "we’re transforming the entire way of working within the IKEA value chain from a linear to a circular business. This means designing all products from the beginning to be repurposed, repaired, reused, resold and recycled, generating as little waste as possible. But going circular will mean working beyond our own business – with suppliers, governments, customers, and more – to make it happen." NB. This is not a commercial but it is awesome.
3. Back to the Start - Chipotle
This is pretty old now so if you're into business with purpose you have probably seen it before. None the less its beautiful - I could watch it over and over.
Not only is Willie Nelson's voice perfectly twinned with the track he's singing but the animation echoes his gentle but slightly gritting tones. Chipotle live and die by their ethics - a perfect example being back in 2015 when they discovered that their pork supplier had raised pigs in conditions that they felt were inhumane.
Forget government standards Chipotle say that their pigs have to be raised in humane conditions (as defined by them) with access to the outdoors and not in cramped pens.
Although a Mexican Grill restaurant without pork may sound ridiculous the chain removed its Carnitas from all 1,724 restaurants around the states and spent a little over 4 months rotating the pork it did have from its preferred suppliers so that no store went more than four weeks at a time without it. Customers loved that they were true to their commitments.
Don't just say it - live it!
And if you're not living it but want to, then go back to the start.
Brands with purpose - grow stronger and grow faster.
Check out what Unilever are up to and how they have gone back to their roots to better understand their purpose and live it.