Why Purpose Driven Brands Win Big

Well hello hello! Catherine Langman here with you on the Productpreneur Success Podcast! Welcome to the show if you’re a new listener, and welcome back if you’re a long-time listener!

Today’s episode is brought to you by my newly repaired Profitec coffee machine, and inspired by my almost-12 year old daughter Isobel, who has been receiving a bit of education from me about how to be an aware consumer.

In short – she’s just recently started to enjoy a little bit of freedom of choice about what she wants to spend her pocket money on. And I’d taken her down to Target where she decided to buy a couple of tops that were on sale for a really good price, I suspect because someone else had tried them on and gotten make-up on the fabric, so because they had dirty marks on them the store was selling them really cheaply. 

Isobel was thrilled with her bargains of course, but then I started asking her how much money she thought the sewers would have been paid to make them. And so we had a really good discussion about the realities of product pricing and whether it is ethical to support brands that are probably barely paying a living wage to workers in third world countries just to make cheap products that are then maybe only going to be worn a handful of times before the cheap materials break down and the garment ends up in landfill. Which then of course contributes to environmental problems as well. 

It was rather an eye opening conversation for a tween to wrap her head around!

But it also inspired me to share a few statistics with you about the rise in values-driven consumers, and also the faster growth-rate of purpose-driven brands compared to companies overall. And share a few ideas with you about how you can incorporate some of these ideas into your own business with the goal of improving your bottom line as well as having a positive impact on the world around you.

But before we dive further into this episode, let me share how you can get your hands on an awesome free resource that’ll help you grow your business of your dreams…

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OK, let’s dive into the episode and talk all about purpose driven brands – what they are, why they’re growing bigger and faster than the rest, and how to build one yourself.

So first things first, what do I mean by a Purpose Driven Brand?

To me – this is a brand that is built around really clear values and beliefs and for a purpose bigger and more altruistic than simply making money. Yes it’s a commercial, for-profit venture, but baked into the DNA of the brand is also some sort of impact goal, whether it be on its consumers or the environment or society in general.

A purpose-driven brand might also be what we call a social enterprise, which usually also give financial support to their cause with every consumer purchase. You’ll know some examples of social enterprises – such as the brands Thankyou and Who Gives A Crap. 

Thankyou sells products such as hand wash, body wash, lotions and more, with proceeds from the sale of every product invested in projects aimed at ending poverty around the globe. 

Who Gives A Crap, which is honestly one of my most favourite brands in the world because of its values but also because of its sense of humour – donates 50% of profits to sanitation projects in developing countries. 

Or Flora & Fauna – whose founder, Julie Mathers, I had on the podcast a few weeks ago. You can check it out – it’s episode 130. Flora & Fauna is a B-Corp business, and they donate a set percentage of revenue to environmental non-profit partners. They also list out Flora & Fauna’s brand values on their website:

Be Kind

100% Vegan and Cruelty-Free Always

Be Authentic and Transparent

Be Bold and Make a Difference

Make Ethical Decisions

Tread Softly

Have Fun and Be Positive

Wow Our Customers


And if you listen to my interview with Julie Mathers – you’ll hear how integral to their growth that these values are. They really use them to guide their decision-making, so they’re completely baked into the way they operate.

So those are a couple of examples of social enterprises, but you don’t need to be a social enterprise to be what I’d call a purpose driven brand. 

My own first business was very much a purpose driven brand. As a modern cloth nappy brand, my goal was to have a positive impact on the environment by reducing the volume of non-biodegradable waste being sent to landfill, where disposable nappies or diapers typically would take hundreds of years to decompose. 

The reason why purpose driven brands exist is to solve a problem or meet a need in society, and that purpose informs the brand’s vision, mission, brand identity, even their decision-making and ways of operating. 

So some other examples from our client base would include:

Curated with Conscience – whose mission is to make the world a better place by promoting beautiful, ethical, and sustainable gift giving and generous charitable giving. They support Australian artisan businesses, design-led ethical brands, and social enterprises by bundling their products into beautiful gift hampers.

They’re passionate about helping ‘for purpose’ businesses and organisations thrive by designing gifts that do good in the world and connecting socially conscious people who appreciate those unique and beautiful gifts.

They also donate a minimum of 3% of sales revenue each year to secular humanitarian, environmental, and social justice charities, and inspiring individuals creating social impact.

Or, how about Babiators and also French Soda – two gorgeous brands, Babiators more summer-focused with their kids sunglasses, and French Soda more winter-focused with their rainwear, both of whose purpose is to inspire Aussie kids and families to live healthy outdoor active lifestyles. 

My own business now – here at Productpreneur – exists to help launch and grow purpose driven brands, with a particular focus on brands created by women, for women and children. 

So – have a think about your own brand and what sort of impact you aim to have in the lives of your customers? Or on your community or the environment?  

Next – why is becoming a purpose driven brand more important now than ever? 

And of course it is altruistically important because of the positive change you can potentially create in the world.

But aside from that – it’s actually commercially savvy as well. 

In what has been a growing trend that has been observed and noticed since 2017 – Values-driven consumption in retail is growing as consumers’ desire to align themselves with brands and companies that share their social, political, moral, and other values. People are re-evaluating and reprioritising their values, moving away from pure consumerism and toward values-based, purpose-driven spending.

So nowadays it isn’t just a nice-to-have fad: building a brand around strong values and purpose is proven to deliver better business results. Statistically, according to Forrester, almost four in 10 (37%) values-driven companies deliver double digit growth, compared with 32% of companies overall.

According to Accenture, 63% of consumers prefer to purchase from purpose-driven brands. And 80% of consumers say when they buy from a brand that aligns with their ethics and values, they feel they are actively doing something to help have a positive impact.

So communicating your brand values and purpose in your marketing really gives you a competitive edge because it helps your customers to engage with and relate to your story and taps into their desire to make a values-led purchase decision. Knowing the impact that their purchase is having means that buying from you feels much better than supporting a business that is driven purely by profit.

And that competitive edge isn’t reserved just for new purchases either: 66% of consumers would even switch from a product they typically buy, to a new product from a purpose-driven brand. So customers might seem loyal to another product, but with a purpose-driven brand, you can count on some betrayals in your favour!

So with all this statistical and empirical evidence – it’s pretty clear that, from a revenue growth and profitability perspective – you’re wise to take this kind of approach.

As Richard Branson has been quoted saying, “The brands that will thrive in the coming years are the ones that have a purpose beyond profit.”

So I suppose, the next question really is – how do you go about building a bit more purpose, values and ethics into your brand? 

And the first thing is – Authenticity is key

Authenticity is important because — regardless of age — values matter to customers. However, it must be genuine. Any suggestion of greenwashing or fake statements on values upheld by a company will be rightly exposed, and customers will likely seek a different brand or retailer. 

You see a bit of this sort of thing happen when brands or businesses say they’re gender inclusive or culturally inclusive, either in their hiring processes or wage equality, or in their marketing by adding in people of different cultures or genders or abilities, but it’s tokenistic and just doesn’t ring true. And you can sniff out that sort of inauthentic behaviour effort a mile off.

I think consumers look for examples of behaviour, not just take what brands say at face value. Consumers increasingly expect retailers to act with honesty, integrity and transparency, delivering products, services and experiences based on their values.

And the pandemic has accelerated the values-driven consumption model, as people and businesses have re-evaluated and reprioritized what’s important to them. Trends such as “make do and mend” and renting clothes instead of buying fast fashion increased in popularity as people had more time to reflect on what’s most important.

Secondly, how can you demonstrate that you are a sustainability conscious brand? Or become more sustainable in all your operations if you aren’t yet already?

More and more consumers now vote for sustainability with their wallets by doing things like:

  • Checking packaging labels to ensure that the product or service had positive social or environmental impact
  • Buying local, reducing ‘food miles’ or the eco-footprint of the products they buy and consume
  • Purchasing from companies committed to positive social or environmental impact
  • Vetoing brands that made false claims about their social or environmental impact
  • Purchasing from a company because it cared about the issues the consumer cared about
  • Paying extra for products or services from companies committed to positive social or environmental impact

How can you prepare for the future?

With volumes of values-based consumption growing fast, how can brands prepare to satisfy that increasing consumer demand? Because let’s face it – if we don’t find ways to be more focused on our brand values and purpose driven in the way we operate, if we don’t find ways to be more focused on creating positive impacts on the world around us, then commercially our businesses will be left behind. So financially, you’ll suffer.

And it’s not just about how brands behave as corporate citizens. It’s also how they choose to align with suppliers, distributors, and manufacturers across their ecosystem, as well as technology and business partners.

Do you collaborate or partner with someone who has a hard nosed, sales-at-all-costs approach? Or do you partner with someone who is just as enthusiastic about growing your brand so that you can have the biggest impact possible in the lives of your customers?

As brand owners, we also need to keep a watchful eye on changing customer expectations and adjust our sourcing and operating practices accordingly. Are consumers requiring brands to source more products locally or according to stricter welfare codes, for example? Or have consumers lost interest in cheap fashion which can only be manufactured in poor working conditions?

Hopefully one day we’ll also see more consumers making buying decisions based around equity and inclusion as well. I feel like the wheels are starting to turn on this one now, a bit slower behind consumer concern for the environment perhaps.

Once brands understand what’s important to consumers, they can meet those values with action plans and also with the kind of marketing and brand-building content that you create and share with your audience.

So – quite a big discussion prompted by a fairly innocent excursion to the shops to spend some pocket-money! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode though. If you enjoyed this one, I’d be forever grateful if you’d share it with one or two of your business besties. Especially if you know they’re looking to grow their brand and make an impact this year. It’s super easy to share – just click on the icon next to the podcast on whichever platform you listen to it, copy the share link and then send it in a message to your friends.

Lastly – if you’re ready to uplevel, or looking to grow into multiple 6 or 7 figures a year in your business and you’re keen for some help to get there faster – please give me a shout! This is what I do and love to do every single day. So to find out about working with me, head to Productpreneurmarketing.com and book in a free strategy session today.