An image of planet earth from NASA
An image of planet earth from NASA

Evaluating the merits of brand purpose

A lot has been said about “purpose-driven brands,” both good and bad. Hailed as a heroic new(ish) way of approaching business. Exposed as marketing puffery without real commitment. Paraded across agency websites & name-dropped on industry blogs. Whatever it is, many in the marketing community are interested. But what role does brand purpose serve, and do we really need it?

Businesses have a reputation for being corrupt, money-hungry entities that don’t hesitate to prey on an unassuming public. It doesn’t reflect the entire business community, but it does have an impact on people’s perception of businesses, and sows distrust. I…

Consider this scenario: John Doe wakes up one morning and decides he wants a bicycle. He Googles “how to choose a bicycle,” lands on an REI article, and decides he should buy a CO-OP Cycles ARD 1.2 Bike for a little over $1,000. He looks up the closest REI with this bicycle in stock, drives to the store, and buys the bike.

Marketers get giddy at the premise that we just need to insert ourselves at the point John decides he’s interested in a bicycle, throw some content his way, and make a sale. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

If this…

I’m watching a delightfully quirky show right now called “Detectorists,” and it’s inspired me to think more storytelling in marketing. It’s about two guys in England who go metal detecting and call themselves “detectorists.” Your initial reaction may be, “A show about people who go metal detecting? WTF.” And yet, as the show progresses, you almost forget the premise initially seemed so goofy. Each episode is like pulling off another piece of the artichoke, satisfying, and one step closer to the heart. Sadly, I know that like all good television shows, eventually it must come to an end. …

Lindsey Weintraub Marshall

A perpetually thirsty sponge. Relentless problem-solver who's not afraid to challenge the status quo.

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