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How Brands Communicated Purpose in 2019

By 3p Editors

This past year, consumers, investors and employees demanded that companies enact change and demonstrate purpose beyond generating profit.

With 2019 about to wrap, we here at TriplePundit and 3BL Media look back at the brands that rose to meet stakeholder expectations and the interesting ways they communicated their good work on environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics.

Brand experiences take communicating purpose to the next level. When done right, they create a deep emotional bond between audiences and brands. But how does a company execute a brand experience authentically? For United Airlines, whose purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World," it meant hosting its first-ever Drag Queen Brunch to celebrate the diversity of its employees and the people they serve. To attend the event, participants donated air miles to United's charity partner, The Trevor Project, a nonprofit that provides intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth.

More and more businesses have chosen to lead with purpose by aligning with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With only a decade left to meet the ambitious targets laid out in the SDGs, businesses have to do the work and communicate their progress. Procter & Gamble has done just that. In October, P&G announced it had already reached its 2020 goal of purchasing 100% renewable electricity in the U.S. and Canada. This accomplishment signifies a strong start as P&G looks toward its ultimate goal of purchasing 100% renewable electricity globally by 2030.

Brands are living in woke times—and employees know it too! Now, recruiting and retaining top talent hinges on addressing equal opportunity and accountability to build an inclusive workplace. Sharing what a company is doing to become an employer of choice is paramount to having success. Bacardi did that during its Spirit Forward Women Empowerment Series by exploring timely topics such as representation, innovation and disrupting the status quo. The series featured a diverse set of voices and aimed to provide the tools, solutions, relationships and know-how to unleash the potential and advancement of women in hospitality.

In 2019, brands were expected to take stands on issues central to their business. With this becoming the new normal, how a brand break through the noise? Take a page from Timberland's book. The outdoor lifestyle brand launched its largest-ever global campaign, "Nature Needs Heroes," which aims to plant 50 million trees around the world by 2025 and calls on consumers to join the movement by taking small, simple actions for a healthier planet. Harnessing the brand’s passion for nature and the energy of the fashion world, the campaign celebrates 12 eco-heroes who are making lasting change for the environment and their communities. Since launching, the initiative has come to life through robust media activations across print, digital, out of home, social media and PR. Timberland is also engaging the global community to be heroes for nature through a series of tree planting and greening events.

Marketers have long been told that an average user's attention span is eight seconds. Many best practices suggest making content as concise as possible. HP defied this logic with a long-form story on how iOrthotics is using its 3D printers to help patients gain the ability to walk or improve their mobility.

The story follows Christopher, an 8-year-old boy from Australia, as he takes his first steps since he was weakened by a stroke. Dean Hartley, podiatrist and co-founder of iOrthotics, sums it up best when he says, "This is why we do it. You see that smile on his face. Then you see the smile from the parents. It’s amazing."

Previously published by 3BL Media.

Image credit: HP

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TriplePundit editors offer news and insights on sustainable business.

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