In today’s world, there is a transformation in terms of brands, especially considering the millennial generation. Brands that function with a purpose are becoming increasingly important, rather than companies that focus solely on profitability. Brands participate more in what is happening than a posture that does not touch soap and water. The missions of the company are more focused on contributing something to society, sustainability and equity than on growing sales. But how do we understand the sincerity of brands as the world changes? Does the posture raised reflect high-turnover PR movements or the true vision of the brand?
SXSW Session titled “Purpose Washing: Taking Real Action”; It was a panel that focused on exactly these issues. The body shop, Ben and jerry’s Y Greyston panel in which managers explain goal-oriented business models with examples from their own brands; He talked about what brands can do to contribute to society.
It is difficult to translate the phrase “special purpose laundering” into Turkish in the name of the panel, but it can be said that it “stifles the purpose”. This language describes brands that resort to social responsibility projects only for public relations and profitability. Sincerity can’t be mentioned much here because purpose is expressed in ROI, sales figures, and turnover. However, the group that includes the marks on the panel; brands that are truly focused on making a contribution. Therefore, they emphasize that these numbers point to the wrong questions.
3 different brands focused on profit
Hilary Lloyd, Marketing Manager for The Body Shop North America; He explains that since the establishment of the brand, companies have acted with the belief that they are a force to create goodness. In this direction, the main objective of the brand is; creating a more just and beautiful world. However, rhetoric alone is not enough for this. The brand has to work to create real change with the activism and programs it develops.
Sean Greenwood, speaking on behalf of Ben and Jerry’s, makes similar points. Saying that the company is not a refrigerator, Greenwood; It highlights that they are a social justice firm that has managed to produce great ice creams for 43 years. Greenwood says that the strongest bond that can be established with the consumer is shared values. He adds that trade is the greatest power over companies and brands should not hesitate to use this power for a good cause.
Greyston, meanwhile, is a bakery that has been in business for over 40 years and is known for its brownies and is the supplier to Ben & Jerry’s. Greyston’s Joe Kenner sums up the “open hiring” policy they have adopted in hiring by telling the story of the company. Established in the Bronx, this bakery has focused on benefiting the community since its early years. For this reason, founder Bernie Glassman began working in his bakery, turning them off the street to employ them in this region where prisoners and single mothers who have difficulty finding work are intense. This vision has been embedded in the brand’s DNA over time. Today, Greyston offers jobs to anyone who includes their name in the hiring process as the position opens. There are no job interviews, resumes, references… The only thing that is expected in return is your willingness to work and succeed.
Each brand has a contribution to offer
B Corp Certification The common ground that these 3 companies find is making a contribution to the world. The purpose of the sustainability and contracting processes is the same. Anyway, the advice they give to other brands goes in that direction. They say that each brand can pursue a purpose that suits its size and vision. Speakers argued that million dollar budgets are not necessarily necessary, emphasizing that providing jobs to just one person can trigger big change for a community and can trigger many other things.
In addition, they claim that the audience, which is currently between 18 and 35 years old, is increasingly turning to goal-oriented companies and that this will increase even more in the next 10 to 20 years. Therefore, they also claim that profitability and social responsibility are not two separate scales for a company, and that a purpose-oriented structure is actually a very effective business model.
When it comes to honesty, the main factors here stand out as transparency, reporting, taking action, and standing by what you say. In short, concrete steps to solve a problem instead of trying to alleviate its symptoms; It is distinctive in terms of brand sincerity.
Picture: Ben and jerry’s