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Brand Purpose was everywhere at ANA’s Masters of Marketing Meeting in Orlando in October 2018.  In fact, Suzy Deering, CMO for eBay North America, joked that Purpose was such a buzz word that it could become a drinking game.

The reason brands are playing the Purpose game?  “Brand Purpose is a bigger growth driver than anything we can do,” said Alicia Hatch, CMO of Deloitte Digital.

While so many brands are trying to play, a few companies are leading the pack.  Here are three things they are doing:

Be – Then Act

Great Purpose activation begins with engaging employees.  Ancestry’s Executive VP- Global Chief Marketing Officer Vineet Mehra says its brand’s purpose is “to enable journeys of personal discovery that collectively inspire a world of greater understanding and belonging.”   And while it is turning into a movement,  Ancestry began with its own employees.  Vineet showed a moving video of a diverse group of employees learning their ancestry – with some big, tear-inducing surprises. The world is one and strong sales have come as a result.

FedEx also realizes that its purpose needs to be authentic to its culture.  With a team of over 425,000 people around the world, Rajesh Subramaniam, EVP and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer said, “we need to be most impressive on our front lines” to deliver our purpose of “connecting people and possibilities around the world.”  All employees pledge the “purple promise” to “make every FedEx experience outstanding.” FedEx gives Purple Promise Awards and the leaders walk in team members shoes on a regular basis.

Make it Real with Strong Activation Plans

This is much more than a new tag line or a PR program.  Jill Estorino, Walt Disney Parks’s Experiences and Consumer Products EVP, talked about how they are creating magic in every element of the Disney experience.  For example, their #DreamBigPrincess campaign is inspiring girls everywhere to be brave and intelligent and to lead instead of waiting for their prince to come. See more here.


Dream Big, Princess – Every Girl | Disney

Measure Impact

“You get what you measure,” the old adage goes and leading companies are indeed measuring results.  One-hundred forty-seven-year-old Unilever is leading the way.  The British-Dutch company is committed to “work in partnership with others to promote environmental care, increase understanding of environmental issues and disseminate good practice.”  And they measure their progress corporately and on every brand. Learn more here.

CIGNA is also measuring the impact of their purpose activation.  They realize that preventive care can lead to saving 100,000 lives.  The company first focused on employees and encouraged them to get their annual physical.  Then, they went public and drove health check screens with the “not real doctors effort.”

CIGNA addressed the #1 barrier why people don’t get screened – lack of time – with a mobile health improvement tour.  According to Lisa Bacus, CIGNA’s CMO, her team consistently measures the results and they are outstanding: +91% in social sentiment, 44% familiarity, +19% favorability, +109% likely to consider, +6% customer growth, +9% revenue growth, +27% shareholder return and most importantly, +18% preventive care visits.

There were so many great insights coming out of ANA that we’ll be doing a blog a week filled with steps you can take to fulfill your brand or organization’s purpose.  So, stay tuned. Cheers to Purpose driven growth!  Drink up!

ANA Masters of Marketing Blog Series

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