Be purposeful. Instead of talking about values, live them

A brand needs to have a purpose. The organisation needs a reason for being, and to deliver on that through the way it operates and the advertising it creates.

It needs to exist beyond the confines of its core offer, seeking social goals and reaching for lofty ideals that don’t rely on PR vacuity. Demonstrating on multiple touchpoints a reason for pursuing such aspirations no matter the P&L imperatives. Making a difference that matters.

Few have expressed this better than Unilever, combining a genius for FMCG business with leadership in demonstrating genuine responsibility for our planet. Its brands proactively display these core values in a meaningful – and authentic – way that connects with audiences.

If brands want to matter they must figure out what makes the consumer tick and then bring that to life within an emotionally-charged and distinctive cause

And the more demanding consumers have become, the more adept they are at spotting and calling out fake integrity. So ideas and beliefs need to permeate right through an organisation, not just its marketing department.

Such values become a brand’s North Star, influencing every decision. And the glue that binds it all is creativity. Differentiated not generic, purposeful not bland. People make up their minds very quickly about brands and they don’t truly absorb all the detail you want them to. But if brands live those values rather than simply talk about them, stronger connections are made.

Societal shifts, propelled by younger generations who seek meaning beyond creativity, have led to the need for a brand’s unique truth to be entwined with its values. If brands want to matter they must figure out what makes the consumer tick and then bring that to life within an emotionally-charged and distinctive cause.

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