Brands with a purpose are more successful than brands without—more than that, they are intent on … [+]
Brands with a purpose are more successful than brands without—more than that, they are intent on making the world a better place. But why do some B2B companies succeed over others in their marketing endeavors? The fastest-growing B2B brands in recent years have significantly increased their clarity on and commitment to what they stand for, what makes them stand out from their competition, and in just about everything they do (i.e., crucial performance factors).
But don’t just analyze their external habits. Stand-out B2B brands are built from the inside outward. And they are driven by a common, uniting brand purpose.
If you thought that brand purpose only matters for B2C brand success, think again. Brand purpose is too often associated with consumer-facing businesses alone, but B2B businesses are realizing that purpose matters not just to individual consumers, but also to their business customers. As the Rockwool Group’s Senior VP of Group Marketing, Communications, and Public Affairs, Mirella Vitale has stated, “Every person is purpose-driven. And so is every buyer.”
How is B2B brand purpose related to internal culture? nternal culture weighs in heavily for brands to really live out their commitment to purpose, and this can be especially noticeable in B2B companies, where brand purpose is so often manifested through its employees. In fact, failure of so many B2B brands can be easily traced back to some misunderstanding of, neglect toward, or failure of internal culture.
Fostering a healthy internal culture is one of the best ways a brand can help forward its purpose. Smart brands recognize that if you take care of internal culture, then purpose fulfillment, customer experience, and brand success will take care of themselves.
Brand culture and purpose are both critical drivers for a successful brand. Your purpose can inspire you every morning, but your brand’s internal culture determines in large part how well your team delivers throughout the day. You need them both.
And they are not mutually exclusive, but rather, they play off of one another. A brand with a purpose, no matter how noble, that fails to nurture its culture, will end up with a lot of disgruntled employees. But then a brand with a well-tended culture, lacking a genuine purpose, will not last long.
Meaningful brand purpose fosters culture
While a healthy culture can help move a brand’s purpose forward, a meaningful, authentic purpose can help build a healthy internal brand culture. According to a 2020 study on B2B brand purpose released by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), Carol Cone On Purpose and the Harris Poll “an authentic purpose can set the agenda for culture to influence behaviors, establish norms, and foster a transparent, collaborative, and meaningful working environment.”
According to the report:
Joey Bergstein, CEO of the Seventh Generation, Inc., previously spent several years leading U.S. B2B marketing for the full Procter & Gamble non-food portfolio. According to him, the Seventh Generation brand culture is a result of the brand’s mission (purpose).
“Seventh Generation’s culture is a direct result of our mission (to ‘transform the world into a healthy, sustainable and equitable place for the next seven generations’),” Bergstein says. “Our values reflect that mission. Our team brings passion and drive to deliver our mission every day and this shapes our culture and is critical to delivering our mission.”
According to Bergstein, the Seventh Generation team aligns everything from product development to the brand’s innovation agenda, from advocacy efforts to broader communications efforts to support delivering on the brand’s mission.
“[Our mission’s] importance is then underscored by also aligning our incentive structure to also support delivering our mission,” Bergstein continues. “That means that we have a company of around 160 people who are all focused on sustainability (the work is not left to one department alone). Everyone plays a critical role. Having such a clear North Star and making it consistently apparent in all we do helps us to attract more and more supporters all the time, internally and externally. It helps with our culture, and helps with our mission.”
Here are some key ways to prove your brand’s commitment to purpose.
Define your “why.”
Your brand’s purpose should guide everything you and your team do, and that will naturally draw like-minded people to your brand. Define a brand purpose that people, internally and externally, can get behind.
Get buy-in from C-suite leadership.
A brand’s leadership can help get more widespread implementation of and acceptance for a brand’s purpose by inviting more open, natural discussion about it.
The ANA, Carol Cone On Purpose and The Harris Poll’s report indicates that 82% of senior leadership openly talks to employees about their organization’s purpose, while 76% of senior leadership talks to external stakeholders (vendors, consumers, community) about their purpose.
Empower Employee Stakeholders
The report also states that “employees are the priority audience for B2B purpose, followed by customers, shareholders, communities, future talent, and the supply chain.” To be authentic and effective, purpose should be employee (culture)-driven.
Even with the most dynamic, inspiring CEO at your brand’s helm, ultimately, your brand’s driving purpose is powered internally, by employees and the work culture they live every day. When everyone is on board with your brand’s purpose, from the CEO to entry-level employees, working together in a healthy internal culture—in a commonly shared “this is bigger than all of us” movement —is when the true meaning and purpose you’re bringing to your work and brand will shine outward most visibly.
This content was originally published here.