The Do-Good Marketer

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Campaigns with a higher purpose are enabling brands to make real—potentially profitable—connections with conscious customers.

Today's marketers are learning to sell products by selling shared values.
Today's marketers are learning to sell products by selling shared values.

Consumers aren't the only ones benefiting from do-good marketing; brands can meet a number of internal goals through value-based marketing. Watts says forward-thinking companies are doing just that, reaching a myriad of goals from image repair to revenue generation. She cites several brands that are doing it well, including American Express, with its small business initiative; GE, which markets its tech innovation intended to make the world a better place; and BP, for its major environmental initiatives—no doubt meant to repair its tarnished image after the 2010 Gulf oil spill. “It's not just meant to sell your product and build revenue,” Watts says. “It can help further push positive reputation, which of course will then lead to more sales.”

Other brands known for their purpose marketing include Kashi (sold by Kellogg), Whole Foods, TOMS, charity: water, Alternative Apparel, and more recently Always, with its recent and popular “Like a Girl” campaign that challenges traditional stereotypes of girls and women. Watts says if shoppers feel that companies are doing the right thing, brands will see the positive effects in their revenue. “Bottom line: Brand value translates to sales,” she says.

So one question remains: How can marketers begin to build out value-based campaigns? Watts says they must create a campaign from the inside out. “If you think of any relationship, including one with potential customers, you wouldn't change who you are to attract someone,” she explains. “You need a relationship based on authenticity. So craft something based on your own values, rather than just to seem more appealing.”

Of course, social marketing isn't the only effective way to campaign, but Watts says that in today's marketing landscape purpose-driven is now the status quo: “Every company that wants to survive needs to walk the walk,” she says.

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