Purpose-driven marketing campaigns for FMCG brands

Stephen J. Arias

Shoppers are expecting more from brands. Customers are no longer just looking for products, they want an experience and they want to connect with brands. If you want to attract more loyal customers, then you need to show shoppers what your brand stands for. 

In this article, we are going to focus on purpose-driven marketing. You will find out what it is, how it can help your brand, and how to implement a purpose-driven marketing campaign. Also, we’ve added some examples of successful purpose-driven marketing campaigns for inspiration. 

What is purpose-driven marketing?

Purpose-driven marketing is a strategy used by companies to showcase the social cause they stand for. The social cause needs to align with the brand’s core values. Purpose-driven marketing combines the advertising of products/brands with the promotion of a social cause. To put it simply, it is a way to show how a brand has a positive impact on the environment or a political/social cause. 

Purpose-driven marketing shouldn’t be confused with cause marketing. While both of these strategies are important, cause marketing is more of a one-time-only campaign, like running a marathon for a cause, while purpose-driven marketing is a long-term commitment to support a cause. Purpose-driven marketing is about the core values of your brand, not just a promotional campaign. 

In the last few years, there’s been a growing concern regarding pollution and that’s why a lot of brands have been creating purpose-driven marketing campaigns where they promote their environmentally-friendly initiatives. However, this is not the only direction for brands. Depending on the products and the context, various companies have benefited from this strategy. Let’s see what’s its impact and why your brand should include purpose-driven marketing in its brand marketing strategy. 

Why is purpose-driven marketing important

At the end of the day, every brand wants to promote and sell its products, while gaining loyal customers. However, a purpose-driven marketing campaign can help you achieve this, while also standing for a cause and making a change in the world. 

More than ⅔  of consumers want companies to become more involved in social and political issues, according to research published by a social media analysis company. This shows, once again, that shoppers don’t just want to purchase products, they want brands to make an effort to make the world a better place. If you want to gain the attention of these conscious customers, then you need to show what your brand stands for. 

Also, a recent study reports that close to 8 out of 10 Americans feel a deeper personal connection to companies with whom they share values. This is why it is important for the causes you stand for to align with your brand’s values. 

The purpose of this marketing strategy is to develop a deeper connection with your customers by highlighting what truly matters for you and them: making a change. 

How to implement a purpose-driven marketing campaign?

What do you stand for?

First off, you need to decide what cause your brand is going to stand for. When deciding this, you need to take into consideration the products you sell, the core values of your brand, and how you can make a change. 

Also, simply stating that you support a minority group or that you care about the environment it’s not enough. You need to have actionable initiatives that actually make a difference, which leads us to the next step. 

Avoid purpose-washing

Just like rainbow-washing and green-washing, purpose-washing means creating campaigns where you support a cause, without actually making taking any actions to make an improvement. 

Purpose-washing happens when brands use a social cause to promote their products without a clear action plan. This, of course, has a negative impact on customer loyalty. Shoppers don’t want to see another brand with a great marketing campaign that is only for show. 

Customers are expecting brands to get involved and support these causes financially or in a different way (create products that are sustainable, raise awareness, etc.). Also, remember that purpose-driven marketing is a long-term commitment and strategy. Is not just a simple campaign or one-time-only financial support. 

Include storytelling

Storytelling in retail is a powerful way to send your message across. It’s a perfect solution for purpose-driven marketing because it will make customers engage with your campaign instantly. 

Omnichannel approach

If you want to show customers how you are making a difference, then you should have an omnichannel approach for your purpose-driven marketing campaign. You should distribute this campaign on your website, in TV and radio commercials, on social media, and in-store. 

In-store, you can use a robotic POS display like Tokinomo to attract the attention of shoppers and engage them. 

Examples of purpose-driven marketing campaigns

Recycling raccoons – Mentos

One of the most recent and funniest purpose-driven campaigns was the one from Mentos. In an effort to showcase that only a few people recycle, Menton trained raccoons which ended up recycling better than most humans.

To promote their latest paperboard gum bottles which are 90% recyclable, Mentos focused on highlighting that only 32% of Americans recycle, while more than 75% of the trained raccoons managed to recycle. If a raccoon can do it, so can you! 

Official anti-sponsor – Brewdog

Beer and football work great together and that’s why many beers and refreshment companies promote and sponsor the World Cup. As you know, this year the World Cup is taking place in Qatar, a place where human rights are not respected. Brewdog decided to be the anti-sponsor to showcase what the brand stands for. Another purpose-driven campaign that managed to increase the visibility of the brand. 

Thank you, mom, and mom – Doritos Mexic

Last year, Doritos Mexic wanted to show that it supports the rights of the LGBT community. In their heartwarming campaign, kids say thank you to their mom and their other mother, showing that every family is unique, yet we are all united by love. No matter the gender or orientation, family is about caring for one another. 


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