The clever people at Accenture have recently published a fascinating study looking at brand purpose.
Called 'To Affinity and Beyond' (can you see what they did?), the study is based on the views of an impressive 30,000 people around the world and argues that brands without a clear purpose are missing out.
The report recognises that not all brands benefit from a strong sense of purpose - brands that offer an experience rather than a utility product seem to fair better.
But does purpose trump a decent product or good service? Is it, to put it bluntly, just marketing guff.
Most people do not choose their phone, car, house, their accountant or lawyer, a beer or the food they eat because that company has a strong social or moral purpose?
Buying decisions are complex with price, habit, desirability, location, personal preference, recommendations and fashion all playing a part.
Surely, if purpose were a significant driver how could we justify shopping at Amazon, using Uber, flying Ryanair, eating factory-farmed food etc.
Purpose at best is an afterthought, a nice to have, but far from essential.
Consumers are no longer making decisions based solely on product selection or price; they’re assessing what a brand says, what it does and what it stands for. They support companies whose brand purpose aligns with their beliefs. And they reject those that don’t. Companies in the UK are increasingly under the spotlight as they struggle to gain a competitive advantage against the current economic, political and technological backdrop. Brands have become community property and are no longer the sole domain of the companies that invested in shaping, growing and monetizing them.