Before we can define goals and objectives for social media marketing, we need to understand our purpose. Simon Sinek has a timeless classic TED Talk and book (Start With Why) about knowing why you get out of bed in the morning to do what you do.
This session is part of a LinkedIn Live series diving into the topics of my new book, “Planning for Success: A Practical Guide to Setting and Achieving Your Social Media Marketing Goals.” I talk about ‘Finding your purpose’ in Chapter 2.
Watch the recording on YouTube:
The Pillars of Purpose Model
Sam’s MBA research whilst studying for a Masters in Leadership, involved exploring the link between PR and purpose. This led to the development of the “Pillars of Purpose” model, a framework used at Target for discussions and work on purpose-led activities.
The model comprises three fundamental pillars: PR, Leadership, and Communications.
- PR serves as an organisation’s conscience, providing purposeful guidance on reputation management.
- Leadership ensures that the senior members of an organisation embrace and drive the purpose.
- Communications, the focus of today’s discussion, involves clear and consistent messaging both internally and externally to bring purpose to life.
While the theory behind purpose-driven content is compelling, translating it into practice can be challenging. This is where communication experts, like the team at Target, play a pivotal role.
How much does the audience care about purpose-driven content?
“Customers that are not connected to your purpose will purchase from you because they need to, not necessarily because they want to. However, they are more likely to be loyal to your brand, trust you, buy other products and services, and act as advocates of your organisation if they share your purpose.” -Luan Wise, Planning for Success, Chapter 2
It is no secret that consumers are demanding. However, they are now increasingly looking to organisations and businesses to help make the world a better place. The shift in responsibility from governments to businesses in making the world a better place is significant. Edelman Trust Barometer‘s revelation that 80% of people look to businesses for positive change reinforces the idea that purpose is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have.
The impact on recruitment is equally noteworthy. As the younger generations, like Gen Z, enter the workforce, they are actively seeking to align the purpose of an organisation with their own values, over pay.
Purpose-Driven Content in Action: Real examples
Let’s explore some real-world examples of organisations putting purpose at the forefront.
TOMS Shoes’ commitment to social responsibility and its “One for One” business model has become synonymous with its brand identity. Here’s how TOMS effectively communicates and emphasises its purpose:
- Giving Back: TOMS’ core purpose is embedded in its business model. Originally, for every pair of shoes sold, TOMS donated a pair to a child in need. Today, TOMS commits to 1/3 of profits for grassroots good. This approach to giving creates a clear and compelling narrative for consumers. The message is simple: when you buy a pair of TOMS shoes, you’re not just making a purchase; you’re contributing to a social cause.
- Storytelling: TOMS excels at storytelling to convey its purpose. The brand shares powerful stories of individuals whose lives have been positively impacted by their program. Through engaging narratives, TOMS connects consumers emotionally to the impact of their purchases. By featuring real people and their journeys, TOMS humanises its brand and makes its purpose relatable.
- Transparency: TOMS is transparent about its giving initiatives. The company provides updates on the number of lives impacted and the overall progress of its charitable endeavours. This transparency builds trust with consumers and reinforces TOMS’ commitment to making a difference.
By weaving purpose into every aspect of its brand and communications, TOMS Shoes has successfully created a powerful and authentic connection with consumers who want their purchases to make a positive impact on the world.
Patagonia’s commitment to environmental sustainability and corporate responsibility is evident across various aspects of its marketing communications:
- Environmental Activism: Patagonia’s purpose revolves around environmental activism and sustainability. The brand takes a strong stance on critical environmental issues, which is reflected in its content. Patagonia uses its platform to advocate for the protection of natural spaces, wildlife conservation, and climate action.
- Worn Wear Program: Patagonia encourages sustainability through its Worn Wear program, which promotes the repair, reuse, and recycling of clothing. The brand actively encourages customers to buy used Patagonia items, repair their existing gear, and recycle worn-out products. This approach aligns with the brand’s purpose of reducing environmental impact.
- Transparent Supply Chain: Patagonia is transparent about its supply chain and manufacturing processes. The brand provides detailed information on its website, allowing consumers to trace the origins of their products.
- Donations and Grants: Patagonia actively supports environmental organisations through its 1% for the Planet commitment, pledging 1% of sales annually to grassroots environmental groups. The brand communicates these initiatives in its content, showcasing the tangible impact of its financial contributions to environmental causes.
Specsavers, with its clear purpose of improving lives through better eyesight, has evolved its services to align with this mission.
- Evolution of Services in Alignment with Purpose: Specsavers has demonstrated a commitment to its purpose by evolving its services over the years. The company’s evolution, from a national eyecare provider to a global brand, reflects its dedication to expanding access to quality eye care. This expansion aligns seamlessly with the overarching goal of improving lives through better vision.
- Social Impact Initiatives: The company’s dedication to providing eye care for the homeless addresses a critical societal need. By extending its services to vulnerable populations, Specsavers showcases a commitment to making a positive difference beyond its primary customer base.
Navigating Purpose-Driven Content in B2B and B2C
When attempting to understand purpose in business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) environments, one thing becomes clear: purpose is universal. Whether serving individual consumers or other businesses, the process of defining, articulating, and communicating purpose remains the same.
The challenge often lies in translating the purpose into tangible messages and actions. It’s not just about being purposeful; it’s about communicating it effectively. Many businesses may feel apprehensive about where to start and when to talk about their purpose.
How Does Social Media Play It’s Part In Communicating Purpose?
So what are the key insights and tips for effectively conveying purpose through social media?
- Authenticity: Social media users crave genuine, honest narratives. To effectively communicate purpose, the messaging must align with the organisation’s core values. Being authentic means not only showcasing the positive but also addressing challenges and showcasing the journey towards improvement.
- Consistency: Consistency, both in messaging and frequency, is equally vital. Creating a clear plan ensures that key messages aligning with purpose are consistently shared.
- Listening and Understanding: Effective communication is a two-way street. It involves not just broadcasting messages but also actively listening and understanding your audience. Social media provides a platform for dialogue, allowing organisations to tap into communities and comprehend their concerns, issues, and interests. This listening aspect informs content creation, ensuring it resonates with the audience’s needs and values.
- Navigating Greenwashing Concerns: A critical point often raised is the apprehension around greenwashing when it comes to sustainability messaging. The solution lies in clarity and evidence-based communication. Before sharing content, organisations must rigorously question and ensure that they can follow through with their claims- and provide evidence if required.
- Calls to Action: Social media isn’t just about broadcasting messages; it’s about prompting action. Whether it’s supporting a crowdfunding campaign for an environmental project or encouraging engagement with a particular post, clear calls to action are essential.
Purposeful communication through purpose-driven content is extremely multifaceted, and I hope after reading this blog, you can agree that you cannot overlook the role of purpose in decision-making. Especially in times of uncertainty, like the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, many organisations focused on their purpose and found clarity amidst tough decisions.
If you found this topic particularly interesting Target PR has a podcast, Target Talks, which promises to contain insights, featuring diverse voices sharing their experiences in purposeful communications.