Purpose is Spreading up the Food Chain

If you run a business or you’re in business, this article is well worth a read:

“Small Brands Are Challenging Big Brands With a Commitment to Cohesive Purpose.”

Purpose is beginning to bite big business, because small businesses get it, while big businesses don’t.

The article sites a number of small brands that are founded on a genuine Purpose and which are growing rapidly. Brands like Goodio – a Finnish chocolate create chocolate that’s actually good for you, and Wheelys Cafe, a chain of organic bicycle cafes, enabling people to start their own coffee businesses.

Bu the real lesson from this article is that the big guys just don’t get Purpose. They are simply Purpose-washing:

“(Big) brands today are firmly on the social issues bandwagon like bees around a honeypot. Brands are desperately playing a game of catch-up by shouting, “We care,” but often this comes across as a lighthearted after-thought. This is all very well, but for purpose to really work, it should be built into the business model because otherwise people can easily smell the difference.”

I could mention a number of big brand campaigns in the last couple of years that are guilty of this, but rather than naming names, let’s just say that one or two of the big Australian brands are prime examples of this. They make big claims about caring for their customers, when public opinion suggests they believe quite the opposite. So why do they persist in trying to be what they are not? Arrogance? Or are are they just out of touch with what they customers think of them?

One day (soon I hope) big brands are going to have to change. For the time being they will continue to buy up the smaller brands that are nipping at their heals and either delete them or delete their Purpose. But as customers become more and more frustrated with how out of touch they have become, the negative comments on social media will mount, and a larger player will decide to change the game. Then customers will act with their feet, and more over to the purpose-driven option.

It’s starting to happen. The trickle is going to turn into a deluge..