For every business and brand, it is a necessary requirement that they know what their purpose is!
Here’s what Accenture has to say: “nearly two-thirds (63%) of consumers, globally, prefer to buy goods and services from companies that stand for a shared purpose that reflects their personal values and beliefs, and are ditching those that don’t.”
Having a purpose is key, yet many ignore it or simply find it too difficult a barrier to overcome. It starts with the leadership, it will define companies and their culture and the consumer facing brands they own, so time and effort is required. We have our own idea of what lies at the foundations of purpose, which can not only help build sustainable, workable ideals and values, but can also alongside this, create a belonging to the eco-system which fuels it. We believe that the ‘Plant-Based’ eco-system is at the heart of the solution and here we discuss how to build a brand purpose by empowering a plant-based attitude!
What do we mean by purpose? For this article we define it thus: Brand purpose is the reason for the brand to exist beyond making money. It is the underlying essence that makes a brand relevant and necessary. Its role is to unite customers and culture alike in the pursuit of that intention. It’s a statement of belief, of hope, of pursuit.
Expanding on this, a well thought through brand purpose is a set of values that matches that of your typical customer/consumer and ideally, it needs to relate to the product or service itself. Crucially, a strong brand purpose can sit comfortably alongside the pursuit of profit.
Corporations are becoming more purpose-driven, which in turn is causing them to seek new ways of engaging with customers, employees and shareholders. This though is still new territory for many marketers and their brands, and this needs to change. Here’s some more reasons why:
Thanks again to Accenture (more countries on the link). It is no surprise that this picture is repeated across the Globe!
And just in case you’re in any doubt here are a few words on purpose from those that have ventured into it:
“You really need to be convinced of why you do what you do. At IKEA, with our purpose of creating a better life for many people, this is a very easy thing.” (Claudia Willvonseder, CMO and Chief Communications Ofﬁcer, IKEA)
“Companies can do more than just make money, they can serve others. The business of business is improving the state of the world.” (Marc Benioff, Founder, Chairman, CEO, SALESFORCE)
We’re agreed then, that we need a purpose to survive and thrive. All of us!
We have a marketing agency that specialises in developing strategies for brands who have a purpose, want to extol the virtues of a a better (plant-based) planet for all and who have a story they want to tell. In the spirit of full disclosure, the purpose for All Things Better: ‘We believe that, with every client, we will collaborate on making a positive difference for the Planet. Together, by empowering plant based attitudes, we will help to create a planet where all things are better!
What about your business/brands? I’m going to discuss now a set of simple rules you can apply, some ideas to explore, which will help you to establish the small shoots of your own purpose. You will need to do the work and that could take a while, or you can crack it in a few minutes. Either way we will provide some prompts and food-for-thought to help you get into the right frame of mind!
Our rules of engagement will deliver what we call ‘Plant-Based, Planet driven, Purpose’. It will empower you to use plant-based attitude!
Firstly, before we delve in, let’s look at the consumer journey that is linked to developing your own brand purpose. We’re going to use an analogy with the plant-based food market and extrapolate this out to understand the sort of segmentation analysis that is required in order to understand where your brand fits and how you can address the expectations of your consumers/customers. I’ll explain how the food example relates to a wider eco-system to include services etc.!
The food consumer journey into plant based:
This diagram demonstrates that for the majority making huge changes of lifestyle is difficult. Most consumers are aware that they need to eat more plant-based food and less meat. However, they are not making giant leaps – in fact 32% won’t change at all! The great news is that 42% are happy to make small steps and will feel this is enough before, perhaps, moving onto the next step, where they ‘dabble’ much more with reduction and embracing change. Only 10% are committed or devoted and this is a much harder state to comply with full time. As always, when you discuss the extremes, it can produce ‘preachy’ attitudes, but not much more than you get from some of the 32%! What is essentially true is that at the extremes it is much harder to keep to your principles, it is easier to slip and is sometimes hard to live up to!
And that’s our analogy. For meat reducers in food industry read, choice of fuel from energy suppliers, conundrums over material in fashion, decisions for flight takers or even financial risk takers. All of these have their own extremes and centre ground; The large leapers and short steppers!
And brands need to decide how much of a leap they want to make with their own purpose. There are some that can have a purpose that is absolutely in their hearts and minds, both internally and externally and they never need to deviate form this, but for most this will just be too difficult to live up to and there is no reason to be ashamed or feel guilty about this. As with the majority of ‘accidental reducers’ most brands will be most comfortable making small steps to doing the right things – what is key to this is that it is communicated in an open and honest way; no greenwashing, be transparent.
PLANT BASED ECOSYSTEM – EMPOWERING A PLANT-BASED ATTITUDE
Having established that purpose is a requisite and that plant-based is a journey which can relate to many markets, it is important to consider the ecosystem into which your brands can now be plugged. This diagram is by no means a finished article but it gives an idea of the possibilities that we can now apply to your brand to help it understand its purpose.
We believe every brand can find its purpose (or at least a part of it) from this diagram. By defining your brand as befitting one or many of the icons to the right of the bar or by being kindly to the animals (plus a few million other species) on the left, you can start building a purpose in which you, your staff, your customers and consumers can believe in.
How does this work in practice? For us, it’s a simple 3 step process:
- We decide where a brand fits now; What’s the story?
- We look at the many places the brand can go to; or already has links to. We build a story
- We define the brands plant based attitude and purpose. We test the story.
There we have it, but to help a little more here are the prompts we promised which are certain ideals for which your brands and business may be able to adhere to or build a strategy around. These are your plant-based attitudes and we’ve named them thus because they are each applicable as reasons to be on the plant-based journey mentioned earlier. Now to be clear, we are not ‘anti’ anything, we support every business wanting to make small steps to their open and honest relationships and partnerships. So to use the analogy, if you are a ‘meat’ brand, this is fine, we’re all about balance, but what we want to achieve is that you take a good look at the sustainable aspect of your business etc. A wise person recently told us: “Take care of the land; Take care of us” and that’s what we believe we’re doing here by suggesting ideals which may help you to ‘look after your own land’, so to speak!
Here we have listed 10 ideals of a plant based attitudes, which you can aspire to. Of course, when you consider your business you will come up with others, but this is a great place to start and we’ll define each point as a question:
HOW TO BUILD BRAND PURPOSE – DOES MY BUSINESS/BRAND HELP WITH…
1. Prevention (or even reverse) of chronic disease?
May seem like an odd place to start, but in fact it’s a massive issue! For example, in USA, one out of every 3 people will die of heart disease — America’s #1 killer. 70% of Americans are obese or overweight. And by 2030, a full 50% of all adult Americans are predicted to be diabetic or pre-diabetic. 75% of all U.S. health care costs are attributed to lifestyle illnesses. The standard American diet (“SAD”) is the USA’s leading export, with fast food lifestyles creating problems for the developing world. Making steps towards a whole food plant-based diet is the right attitude in gaining dietary balance. What are you contributing on this scale?
2. Conservation of water?
It has been predicted that the UK may run out of water by 2050! WIll we be waging wars over water in the decades to come. Water usage has become wasteful and inefficient and will in time be a precious commodity. We have a chance now to contribute.
3. Cutting greenhouse gas emissions?
This is an ‘old’ topic, but key. Not just fossil fuels, but use of animals in the supply chain and the turning over of land to emit pollution. When it comes to global climate change, we have a crucial role to play and it’s an attitude on which many of your consumers will want to know where you stand!
4. Conservation of land?
Livestock covers 45% of the Earth’s total land. A meat eater could require 18 times the amount of land necessary to feed someone eating plant-based. Yet animals raised sustainably also contribute to the land (soil fertilization). There is a balance, and you can be either side of it…but need to be clear where it is you are standing and why!
5. Prevention of species extinction?
Agriculture and supply chain demands are also a leading cause of species extinction. More than a hundred animal and insect species are lost every day from rainforest destruction! The ingredients supply chain has come under pressure for allowing deforestation and subsequent planting of soy and Palm…what does this look like inside your organization?
6. Reduction of waste and waste pollution?
Apart from well documented attitudes to plastic, most especially single-use, we also waste over 1.9bn tonnes of food in the UK every year; we have not found a solution to these waste problems. When aligned to a broken system of ‘recycling’ there are so many ways we can combine to improve. It is an addressable issue whereby waste is key for sustainability and the potential for circular economies.
7. Prevention of marine life destruction?
As many as 40% (63 billion pounds) of fish caught globally every year are thrown out, and some scientists say we could see fish-less oceans by 2048. Whilst clearly fitting the waste agenda it is also clearly a simple waste of marine life. Moreover, the waste runoff from animal agriculture has been shown to create ocean dead (oxygen deprived) zones. Not to mention plastic! We really need to protect our oceans.
8. Slowing of deforestation?
Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction. In fact, one to two acres of rain forest are cleared every minute for grazing and growing feed for livestock. The impact is responsible for a loss of oxygen and increases in carbon dioxide.
9. Alleviation of world hunger?
We are currently growing enough food to feed 10 billion people, and the U.S. alone could feed 800 million people with the grain that livestock eat. Hunger isn’t a scarcity issue, it’s an allocation and distribution issue, so much so that it is said that if we eliminate waste we will eliminate hunger; that’s quite a goal!
10. Boosting of physical and mental well-being?
It has been said (and tested) that having a plant-based attitude can maximize athletic performance, primarily because it optimizes immune system functionality and significantly expedites physiological recovery. Furthermore, we live in a time of huge anxiety and heightened awareness of mental illness, which requires a new approach through better understanding and the role that diet and attitude plays in this.
Please remember that these examples are not specific, they are ATTITUDES; in that they are analogous to real life experiences of brands and businesses with multi-varied services and supply chains. You don’t need to be a food manufacturer to fit the bill and we can guarantee that if you extrapolate out from each heading, you will find something that will form part of your potential plant-based purpose.
Hopefully we have raised some thoughts, ideas and questions. We haven’t defined your business or brand for you but have given you a good idea or two on how to build a brand purpose by empowering a plant-based attitude.
by showing how to build a brand by empowering a plant-based attitude, we hope to have opened up some ideas as a new way of looking at your brands and business. Can you say that you have some ideals aligned with the 10 questions on the list? Where can you make the biggest impact? Ask your selves if you could adopt something and then consider how much difference this could this make to your employees, customers and consumers? Can you meet the eco-system and attitudes in another way? Is your charitable donation policy aligned with your business aims and practices? There are so many questions to ask.
We’re sure you’ll have fun working with your teams to define your own strategy, but I sincerely hope we’ve helped you make a start.
Get an ATTITUDE!
Good luck 😊
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