business news in context, analysis with attitude

MediaPost reports on a. new study suggesting that purpose-driven marketing may not be all that it is cracked up to be.

According to the study, 57 percent of those surveyed "could not name a brand taking care of the environment. The same percentage couldn’t think of a brand promoting diversity and inclusion. And 54% can’t name a brand giving back to the community."

The study was done by data intelligence company GfK.

The story goes on:

"Affluent consumers, defined as those earning $125,000 or more per year, are more likely to be able to name a purpose-driven brand, as are Democrats.

"Surprisingly, Gen Z -- often cited as the generation most likely to choose brands based on their social and environmental promises -- are least likely to be able to name any cause-driven brands.

"Among those who could come up with a name, Amazon and Walmart received the 'overwhelming majority' of mentions, the report says. Tesla was the only other brand to get more than 100 unaided mentions.

"Amazon was the most-mentioned in all three issues. Under the environmental umbrella, Tesla, Walmart and Apple followed. For diversity, Walmart, Target and Google followed. And for the community, Walmart, Target and Apple came next."

KC's View:

I'm sure that some will see these numbers as suggesting that companies should not engage in purpose-driven marketing.  And I have to admit that the naming of companies like Amazon, Walmart and Target as being purpose-driven sort of misses the point of what that term means.

I think that being purpose-driven means having the long view, and not being interested in just the short-term boost in sales and recognition.  So I'd worry about doing the right thing, not getting credit.  

But I also would argue that this statement - "54% can’t name a brand giving back to the community" - is a shot across the bow of most supermarkets in the US.  Almost every grocery store in this country supports its local community, with local jobs, donations and in all sorts of other ways.  I don't think they should be seeking credit for credit's sake, but I do think that perhaps they need to be better communicating their community connections and the ways in which they are investing in local communities and neighborhoods.