Leading Brands Upping Their Purpose Game

Stacy Anderson / Brands / 4 months ago

As we approach end of year, annual plans and strategies for 2017 are well underway alongside review of the last 12 months. Looking back over the past year, we cannot help but feel both optimistic and impressed to see how incredibly valuable brands, such as Apple and Patagonia, continue to ‘up’ their purpose game.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, who has become synonymous with being vocal on a range of civic including, such as gay rights, announced this month the company’s increased commitment and continued championing of (RED).  From awareness through store signage to product collaborations that bake in a donation, Apple is demonstrating its commitments to helping create a better world. As described by Cook, “Of course corporations should have values, because people should have values – and corporations are just a bunch of people.” By letting values guide Apple’s social impact strategy and directions, Cook is able to bring about an authentic expression and demonstration of the role the brand can play in contributing positively to society.

Patagonia, a brand with a significant sustainability driven heritage, also continues to evolve and expand its social and environmental impact initiatives.  From its notorious Don’t Buy This Jacket New York Times ad in 2011 to its Worn Wear clothing swap in 2014, Patagonia has set a precedent for atypical retail campaigns that oppose traditional over consumption behaviors in favor of more responsible consumer (and brand) habits. This year, Patagonia’s Black Friday campaign was no exception – it upped its environmental stewardship by committing to donate 100% of its global sales from Black Friday to grassroots nonprofits that help protect the Earth’s natural resources. The result? Sales were five times the amount anticipated, meaning a total donation of $10 Million to protect the earth. When Patagonia sets out to make an impact, its customers demonstrate support loud and clear.

So, as you close out planning for 2017, what initiatives and impact will your brand have next year? How will you bring your social and environmental commitments to life?

Here are three good places to start:

  1. Get clear on your corporate values – what key principles guide your brand, how do they show up, and what social impact issues naturally align with them?
  2. Build on past successes – what initiatives did your brand recently introduce or launch, and how you could amplify the impact?
  3. Co-create with your customers – how could you mobilize your customers and consumers to be part of your social impact journey, and celebrate their contributions?

From larger, established brands to social enterprise start-ups, we are seeing ever more innovative, significant and scalable initiatives that puts purpose into real practice. What impact do you want your brand to be remembered by this time next year?

Image via Flickr courtesy of user Mike Deerkoski at https://flic.kr/p/fnLdED

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