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Marketing Team
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Purpose builds stronger brands. We hear companies and thought leaders speak about the phenomena of purpose-driven brands more and more these days. Many organizations have confirmed their commitments to sustainability for 2020 and beyond. But there is no cookie-cutter sustainability strategy that can be applied to all brands.

“Stand up to stand out,” states a recent publication by Accenture. It continues, “By standing for something bigger than what they sell, tuning into customers’ beliefs and taking decisive action, companies have the chance to recast their customer relationships and connect with consumers on a deeper level.”

I started WRAP in February of 2020. The idea first came to me when I observed how recycling was done in our offices and at home, turning a good initiative into a race for recycling. I realized that we needed to rethink our approach to sustainability and responsible living and become more thoughtful about the use of our resources. This is when the idea of turning waste into art came to me. Humanizing the concept of recycling was the key to my approach. The language of art is universal; it reaches the hearts of people, and I believe it can have the most impactful and lasting effects.

Many organizations today are redefining their purpose and strengthening their commitment to the environment and other missions, but it’s important to build a foundation for a program your company is passionate about in order to make a genuine difference and build stronger relationships with your customers.

Tap into your people to build an authentic program.

The key is for each organization to figure out and build its own authentic programs. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is highly visible, and it is paramount for a brand to get it right.

The first step in building a comprehensive strategy is to start from within. Listen to your employees, your customers and even your competition. Define how you can position your brand as an empathetic and authentic leader and a creative innovator in your efforts around sustainability practices, a CSR mission, employee engagement and customer experience programs. Sometimes an unusual twist on a program can bring that sought-after differentiation. Look into programs that live at the crossroads of art, environmental sustainability, education and technological innovation.

Define your goals.

It is extremely important to define your program’s goals. Once goals are defined, you need to build a strong communication plan for both your internal and external audiences to create a following. Make your efforts known. Get your people’s buy-in.

Here, social media is going to be instrumental to effectively launch surveys, get feedback and refine your programming. Once your goals are confirmed with your audience in mind, launch the program.

Monitor your program’s success.

It is important to create milestones and communicate them effectively to your teams. A comprehensive strategy will involve your marketing, human resources, philanthropy and business stakeholders.

Accountability will be your key to success. Assign a program director in each of those functional areas to make them effective in communicating with their teams about the company’s overall purpose and specific goals set forth for the year. Hold quarterly meetings and town halls focusing specifically on these programs.

How do you measure the success of a program? The answer is simple: by how many people it touches. You need to make that metric your key performance indicator (KPI). From environmental sustainability projects to employee engagement activities, you need to measure how many people each project helps and how many people it makes feel happy, useful, etc. That’s how the power of the brand translates into purpose.

Is there a prize?

What is the reward you reap as an organization? Forbes contributor Afdhel Aziz has written about the “power of purpose” and makes a great case for prioritizing the development of your brand’s purpose. Further, a 2018 survey of U.S. consumers found that 79% “would be more loyal to a purpose-driven company.” That translates into revenue.

Happy purpose-driven brand building!

SOURCE: Forbes Communications Council 
Yana Nigen – Forbes Councils Member. Founder and CEO of WRAP, a waste reduction art project, and Woman of the Year 2019 Golden Bridge Award Winner.