The power of purpose: How to market mission-driven businesses

by Katie Jones

Organisations that remain change-averse and do not embrace purpose-driven marketing may be at risk of becoming obsolete. Whether it’s sustainability initiatives or brand ethics, brands need to double down on publicly communicating their values and show they stand for something more than profit.

27th February 2023

The rise of conscious consumers has transformed the marketplace as we know it. No longer content with just being buyers, customers are seeking to be catalysts of change and want to make an impact through their purchases. Case in point, 64% of consumers say they’ll buy or boycott a brand depending on its stance on a social or political issue.

But simply stating your purpose isn’t enough - action through advocacy is key. Successfully marketing your brand purpose can have a major impact on how your brand is viewed in the market, and, ultimately, can be the driving force behind your success.

So how do you market purpose? Let’s take a look at some examples.

Purpose-driven marketing in action

Patagonia - The company that puts its money where its mouth is


The most obvious brand that comes to mind when thinking of brand purpose is Patagonia who recently made global headlines after the founder announced the $3 billion company would be donating all its profits to combat climate change.

In recognition of the fashion industry being the second-most polluting industry, Patagonia has made a conscious effort to reduce its carbon footprint by adopting a marketing narrative focused on environmental sustainability and responsible consumption.

The company's marketing efforts include initiatives such as the "Don't Buy This Jacket" ad campaign, which encouraged customers to consider the environmental impact of their purchases, and repair programmes that help extend the life of Patagonia products.

Patagonia's commitment to social and environmental responsibility has helped it establish a reputation as a socially responsible company and has helped it earn the trust and loyalty of its customers.

Ben and Jerry's - I scream, you scream, we all scream for... human rights?


What do ice cream and social activism have in common? Not a lot, that’s a given, but this hasn’t stopped Ben and Jerry’s from championing social causes through product launches.

In 2019, the company launched a new flavour in support of criminal justice reform with a portion of its sales going towards the Advancement Project National Office to support its work advocating for criminal justice reform. The brownies used in the new flavour were also sourced from Greyston Bakers: a non-profit organisation that provides jobs to people who face barriers to joining or reentering the workforce, including the formerly incarcerated.

And they didn’t stop here. The company has long been vocalising their support for the world’s most pressing social, environmental, and political issues, including BLM, climate change, and gun control.

Unlike Patagonia, Ben and Jerry’s brand purpose is external to its core product demonstrating that a company's impact can go way beyond its bottom line. Ben and Jerry's purpose-driven marketing has helped create a strong brand identity that resonates with consumers and differentiates itself from competitors. Fans see the company as a movement for positive social change which has been a key factor in creating a loyal fan base and a strong, socially responsible brand. ‘Cause who doesn’t want their vanilla ice cream with a sprinkle of social activism?

How to market purpose

Disingenuous purpose-driven campaigns are obvious to most consumers, so we suggest you choose a cause that is close to your heart and aligns with your company’s core values.

Here are our five pillars to purpose-led marketing to get you started:

Authentic storytelling: Effective storytelling resonates with customers by creating an emotional connection that builds trust and loyalty. By showcasing a brand's unique values, mission, and purpose, storytelling can differentiate it from competitors and make it more memorable and appealing to customers who share similar beliefs.

Transparency: Trust today is the make or break difference in people’s relationships with brands – and building it starts with transparency. If your company is not transparent about its intentions, actions, or impact, consumers may perceive it as a cynical attempt to capitalise on a trend or exploit social issues for profit.

Cause-related marketing: Cause marketing involves a collaboration between a for-profit business and a non-profit organisation or cause. The strategy is a win-win as it helps to bolster a company’s corporate social responsibility and drive donations for a worthy cause.

Social media campaigns: Brands can leverage strategic social media campaigns and partnerships to reach new audiences, engage their core customers, and give back to their communities. Social media is where people are most willing to be vocal about social causes, so it’s the perfect platform to promote your purpose.

Community building: This helps to foster a sense of connection and shared values between a company and its stakeholders, leading to increased customer loyalty and advocacy. By engaging with and listening to their community, companies can better understand their customers' needs and concerns, and tailor their purpose-led initiatives accordingly.

We specialise in marketing for purpose-led companies!

We help organisations establish, express, integrate, and evaluate their purpose, leading to benefits for both their financial performance and society as a whole.

Our team of marketing professionals has a proven track record of creating compelling purpose-led marketing campaigns that engage audiences, build brand awareness, and drive business results. Whether you're a startup or an established brand, we can help you establish, express, integrate, and evaluate your purpose-led marketing initiatives in today's socially-conscious marketplace.

Reach out to us today to find out how we can help.