As the second year of the pandemic draws to a close, consumer demand for online buying is still on the rise. However, the same cannot be said for brand loyalty. Consumers have changed their spending habits since the beginning of the pandemic and continue to do so. It is now more important than ever to turn your customers into brand advocates by understanding what drives their purchasing decisions.
McKinsey reports that consumers are looking for more than value and convenience and that it is purpose that drives their decisions. People want to know that a brand is more than just its products, services or campaigns, and consumers are voting with their wallets for brands and businesses that reveal they care about more than just the money. In fact, Porter Novelli found that 78% of their survey respondents are more likely to remember a brand or business with a strong purpose.
But do consumers actually make purchasing decisions based purely on what a brand or business stands for? Surely with the economic pressure more traditional purchasing criteria, like price, still dominates. Well, when Deloitte Insights interviewed 11,500 people around the globe to find out more about their spending habits, the data revealed that “price and quality were individually cited as top-three purchasing criteria anywhere between 61% and 86% of the time”. But the numbers also reveal that people do elevate requirements other than price and quality, albeit in a more nuanced way.
For example, when it comes to personal care and beauty products sustainability is the top priority for a third of consumers that are 25 and younger. In the banking arena, data privacy is key for nearly a quarter of Deloitte’s survey respondents. This reveals that all brands definitely have to deliver on price and quality and that these elements are not competitive differentiators, but rather table stakes. So to use purpose as a differentiator, brands and businesses must fully understand their audience and what they care about and then utilise this information to inform the direction of the company.
Becoming a purpose-driven brand is more than just reverse-engineering a campaign based on audience findings it is about uncovering a purpose that resonates with consumers as well as employees. It is something so complex that it needs to be embedded in your company’s culture.
And to fully harness its powers, purpose has to be considered more broadly than sustainability and environmental causes. Here are three things to bear in mind when you want to establish your purpose to become a more purpose-driven brand or business.
Think about the purpose of your company in the world at large. Think about why you do what you do. (Simon Sinek’s golden circle is always a helpful tool when it comes to understanding your why.) Then consider what purpose your company shares with customers as this will also help to create a more authentic connection that leads to lasting loyalty.
Next, consider the role of your brand or business in the lives of your consumers. Think about the needs that are hard to articulate and how your purpose ties back into this. Consider how you could change, for example, operations to act more in line with your purpose.
To find your brand’s purpose, it is helpful to look at your customers’ purposes because you want to be the business or brand that helps customers achieve their purposes. Not assisting customers to achieve their purpose will lead to frustration and confusion. Change your thinking and make the goal of your brand or business an expression of your purpose. It might be difficult not to prioritise material success, but remember, this will follow when your brand’s purpose resonates with your audience.
Once you have established your purpose or purposes, you have to align your policies and practices with it. The last thing you want are accusations of virtue signalling. Especially in this digital age, where companies may find themselves in the middle of a PR crisis before they even know what it is all about.
As the relationship between brands and consumers continue to shift, it is increasingly important to connect with your audience by aligning with their values. Purpose creates an emotional connection and inclination towards a brand which is probably why consumers find it hard to articulate exactly what it is they are looking for in a purpose-driven brand or business. So, while they look for the words to explain all their feels, you can be sure that there will be an increased expectation of brands and businesses to make an authentic, relevant, and positive impact.
List of references:
Next in loyalty: Eight levers to turn customers into fans [online] Available at:
Purpose—A beacon for growth [online] Available at: https://www2.deloitte.com/za/en/insights/topics/marketing-and-sales-operations/global-marketing-trends/2022/brand-purpose-as-a-competitive-advantage.html
Purpose Perception: Porter Novelli’s Implicit Association Study [online] Available at:
Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle Tool [online] Available at: https://simonsinek.com/commit/the-golden-circle