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3 Purpose-Driven Marketing Lessons to Learn from 3 Innovative Brands

In the past, many people opted to stay neutral on certain causes and issues to prevent retaliation from others. Nowadays, everybody wants to feel like they’re a part of something bigger. Whether it’s by supporting a local/global cause or living a particular lifestyle, many of today’s consumers are actively seeking to make a difference these days. The desire to make a difference is now highly reflected through consumers’ behaviors and purchasing decisions. Several key examples include supporting cruelty-free beauty brands (e.g. BECCA), the zero-waste packaging movement (e.g. bare market), the climate change crisis (e.g. Patagonia), and more!

Consumers who are passionate about their causes are constantly on the lookout for purpose-driven brands and businesses who also advocate for and support the same causes as they do. This new movement has paved a way for what we know today as purpose-driven marketing or cause marketing.

What is a purpose-driven brand?

A purpose-driven brand goes beyond the corporate bottom line and is fueled and centered around a particular cause, mission, purpose or vision. As mentioned earlier, this is a relatively new movement that many businesses and brands are centering their business models around to connect with their audience. According to a Forbes interview, a purpose-driven brand is a successful brand, and a brand’s purpose should be the center of attention in order to be successful. We have now entered an era of “radical transparency” and believe that customers are, in fact, more than just buyers.

As a result, brands are encouraged to adhere and be more committed to their customers’ beliefs. This is where purpose-driven marketing plays an integral part in your business’ brand marketing strategy.

Why is purpose-driven marketing important?

63% of global consumers prefer to purchase products and services from purpose-driven brands. Moreover, over 70% of customers are more likely to recommend a brand that supports a good cause. Here are a few tips to 3 purpose-driven marketing lessons to learn 3 innovative brands:

1. Find a mutual cause both you and your audience can connect with.

One of the most effective ways that you can use purpose-driven marketing to connect with your audience is to find a cause that matters to them. At the same time, make sure that the cause also aligns with your brand.

purpose driven marketing

Patagonia is a prime example of a purpose-driven brand that effectively tailors their marketing efforts around a cause that their audience can deeply connect with. Patagonia’s mission is to save the planet in the midst of the current climate crisis we are in. They see this as an opportunity to build the best products while doing no unnecessary harm to the planet. Their business is centered around protecting nature and this is a cause that their audience cares deeply about.

It’s extremely important that you get to know your customers and what they care about. Using data-driven creativity can help map out your customer journey and deliver the experience that your target audience expects. The right data can make all the difference, and finding a cause that your audience can connect with encourages them to get involved with your brand’s mission.

2. Drive social change by being transparent with your audience.

88% of consumers want to know that the brands they are supporting have a real impact. Purpose-driven brands need to be transparent with their audience through their marketing efforts in order to prove that they are truly driving social change. In other words, this means reporting on the impact your brand has made on the cause you are supporting. Many brands do this by capturing and collecting data to communicate the impact it has made over a certain period of time.

As a marketer, take this as an opportunity to create original content by reporting on the impact that you and your customers have made together. For example, the TOMS Stories website displays first hand how their customers’ purchases are creating change and making an impact. You can read up on the cause behind their Unity Collection, which is dedicated to equality and inclusion. You can also read up on how they are also take a stand on ending gun violence. TOMS’ content marketing strategy is what makes up their strong narrative as a purpose-driven brand. This is significant because it can help build stronger brand trust and loyalty in the long run.

3. Always realign your purpose-driven marketing efforts back to your brand.

Keep in mind that purpose-driven marketing is a two-way street. Why are you doing what you’re doing? Not only do your marketing efforts impact your customers, but it also defines your business as a whole.

Take a look at the adidas and Parley product line for example. Adidas’ purpose-driven marketing efforts for this collaboration are centered around the ocean plastic epidemic. Their campaign video takes us on a journey and does a real deep dive on how ocean plastics are negatively affecting our oceans’ ecosystem. Adidas effectively realigns their efforts to their brand by spinning the problem into a solution and creating high-performance sportswear that is made out of plastic. The lesson here is that the cause you are supporting becomes a part of your brand narrative, which is a driving factor that determines who will support, buy from, and invest in your business.


At the end of the day, not every company is obligated to go as all-in as brands like Patagonia, TOMS or Adidas. However, working towards a common goal or a shared set of values with your customers creates a strong emotional link with a huge impact. Ultimately, this will help drive your purpose-driven marketing efforts forward and continue to build a community around issues and causes that matter.

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WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.