Brand purpose is now a core part of many companies’ strategies. But the questions remain: how well are they integrating it into their operations, and what are the consequences of doing it badly? Some are unconvinced of brand purpose’s role in an organisation’s success – notably Fundsmith investor Terry Smith, who called Unilever’s focus on sustainability and brand purpose “ludicrious”, linking these values to its financial underperformance. To win the argument that brand purpose is important to sustainable business growth, it clearly has to be treated as a fundamental part of the organisation, informing everything from employee engagement to shareholder value and product or service design. This new research, conducted by Marketing Week and Zone, reveals that the message has yet to be fully embraced. To realise the benefits leading organisations are gaining from purpose, brands must include all parts of their business in the strategy and, crucially, embed it in company-wide objectives and training.
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