CreativeBrief asked the industry's smartest minds to give their view on whether or not the profit versus purpose debate is still relevant. Our Head of Brand Voice, Nick Hynes, shared his views.
Meaningful campaigns are able to have both a positive societal impact and drive business growth.
Last year Hellman’s mayonnaise was thrust into the spotlight following criticism from investors that it had placed purpose over profit. Yet, the year ended with Hellman’s becoming Unilever’s fastest-growing brand, showing that for all the controversy something in the strategy seems to be working.
For consumers, knowing that the products they buy have a positive social impact has become increasingly important. While many may argue that the cost of living crisis has seen affordability be prioritised over all else, in many cases it is actually about good value. So if a product is similarly priced but has a more positive social impact it becomes a no-brainer for consumers. Although recent research from Media Bounty underlined that other factors do continue to play a significant role in purchase decisions
While cynicism around purposeful marketing is rife and accusations of ‘wokeness’ circle brands that put purpose at the centre of their marketing strategies, the fact remains that purpose and profit are not mutually exclusive pursuits. In fact countless meaningful campaigns are able to generate increased revenue for brands and make a positive societal impact.
For businesses looking for quick wins in the face of permacrisis, purpose-driven campaigns may not be able to create the quick turnaround pay off. However, the long-term brand-building opportunities and the proven sustained business growth results show that purpose and profit are intrinsically linked. So, we asked industry experts: ‘Is the profit versus purpose debate outdated in an era in which having a positive social impact is table stakes for consumers?’
Nick Hynes, Head of Brand Voice at ThreeTenSeven, told us:
"For me there's a question mark hovering over the 'versus'. Are profit and purpose mutually exclusive? In fact, were they ever? I'm sure most business leaders today would argue that the two are inextricably bound together.
As a design business, specialising in health and wellbeing, we have a clearly stated purpose to make a positive impact on people's lives. It's a shared commitment that determines the kind of work we do, and how we go about our business – always ethically, always responsibly. It's also become one of the key reasons our clients – and indeed our own people – choose to work with us. In this respect, our purpose feeds directly into our strategy for growth and supports the long-term financial future for our business.
So for us, it's not a question of purpose or profit; it's about working with purpose and building a financially sound business that rewards us for the work we do and allows us to carry on making a difference."
Read the full article on Creative Brief.