‘Brands don’t always have to have a purpose’

Although many brands have made delivering a clear purpose a priority, demonstrating a purpose is up to individual employees rather than a brand, according to Glenn Caton, Northern Europe chocolate category VP for Mondelez International.

Mondelez logo breaker

Speaking on a panel led by Oystercatchers CEO Suki Thompson at The Marketing Academy’s Inspire event last week, Caton said: “I don’t think having a purpose does matter [for brands] as long as you’re clear on that. You need to make a personal choice to have a purpose.”

However, he said having a personal purpose helps employees believe in more than the bottom line, and that ultimately, “if your value fit isn’t the same as your organisation, find a new company”.

Purpose is something that is important to Caton at Mondelez, as the chocolate VP cited the company’s efforts in third world markets to help women and others in need as part of his daily inspiration.

“Those things motivate me and connect me with the organisation,” he said.

“As much as possible we try to integrate personal passion and doing good to daily work. But I don’t think it’s needed if you’re clear on the fact that people can make their own choices.”

Meanwhile, many brands are trying to communicate a clear purpose in order to reach consumers.

Last year, Bruce McColl, global chief marketing officer at Mars, told Marketing Week that purpose is a game-changer for brands.

A study from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) last year also showed that almost nine out of 10 (88%) of marketers believe purpose will be increasingly important to building brands.

However, while 71% of marketers believe their brands had a sense of purpose, only two thirds (63%) said they had worked for brands that have been successful in communicating it.

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Comments
  • Stuart Maister 13 Apr 2015 at 11:23 am

    Brands may not need a purpose but enterprises which own brands do. This unites the business around a big idea and gives a clear focus to strategy.

    What I do believe is that brands need to identify and articulate a few big ideas which underpin their sales, marketing and communications activity. These may or may not be defined as purpose but they do provide structured thinking and a clear set of themes for which the brand can become famous over time. This in turn feeds back into strategy and so, again, becomes a unifying force that provides direction.

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