Brands with purpose

A few weeks ago I was honoured to get an invite to The Creative Council’s (TCC) breakfast event which was a review of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. From the review, my key take out was that the brands of the future are brands which are able to touch the hearts and minds of their consumers.

In short, they are brands with purpose. I recall one of the videos played at the breakfast with Jared Leto saying F$@k your advertising. To paraphrase, he says he wants to know that there is an organisation on the other side of the ad that cares about him and his reality. That was powerful for me.

In a world where consumers have access to information at their fingertips, they are no longer looking for you as organisation ABC to tell them which product or service is better purely from a jingle and a sexy girl or guy but they are looking at whether or not your company connects with them and where they come from.

TCC took us through a few advertisements which are doing just that, the Pantene ad campaign #Not Sorry and the Proctor and Gamble campaign called #Like A Girl. Organisations now have to become people experts and in a genuine way, they need to relate to the consumers of their products without treating them like idiots. This brings to mind the brightly coloured, patronising adverts used to relate to the black consumer group in South Africa.

The big advertising and marketing companies who presented at Cannes believe that through the use of neuroscience in advertising it enables an organisation, through advertising to change the perceptions of consumers because it’s when you change a perception that you can effectively control one’s reality.

This can be very scary for the consumer as essentially one would feel vulnerable and manipulated. In the same breath I’d say that people can only be fooled a limited number of times until they are onto you, thereafter they write you off…for good.

This brings me to the ordinary organisation, the one that’s too concerned with their brand key, and the demographics of the people who make the buying decision about their brand. This applies to that organisation too. They need to connect with their internal and external stakeholders in a similar way.

The focus is back on mission statements. In the book Built to Last the authors identify this as one of the separators of great long lasting businesses from the not so great. I always remember the TED Talk by Simon Sinek on how great leaders inspire action. This holds true in this instance as well. If I think of myself as a consumer  of a vast number of products actively and passively, I am no longer buying into organisations that I don’t connect with. I want an organisation that speaks to my mind and heart at the same time.

I believe that consumer expectations are what’s dictating the future structure and policies of organisations, so as an organisation you can no longer afford to ignore them.

For more about the videos I mentioned please see:

Proctor & Gamble Like a girl campaign:

Pantene Not sorry campaign:

Simon Sinek How great leaders inspire action:


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