3 January 2023

10 key takeaways from the Campaign Purpose Summit 2022

How often, or deeply, do you consider your purpose? Don’t worry, we’re not getting all existential on you. We’re of course talking about your brand – and the campaigns you create that further positive causes.

We recently attended the Campaign & PRWeek Purpose Summit 2022, an annual event that explores how brands and agencies are creating, refining and communicating purpose. It was a fascinating day, featuring senior marketing and PR professionals from a variety of household name brands – and we felt compelled to share our key findings. We hope you find them useful!


1.     How to rediscover your purpose if you need clarity

It’s easy to lose track when it comes to knowing – and promoting – your purpose over the years. Sometimes you need to go back to your origins if you need clarity, and consciously find the balance between your purpose and your product.

Healthy food company, KIND Snacks, for example have delivered several campaigns that align to their values around being kind to one another, putting people first, and being more sustainable.

2.     Ensuring your purpose is authentic and aligns with your brand

It’s important to decide on the values that align best with your brand – and combine them with your product. Choose topics you’d like to focus on to remain relevant and remember that purpose needs to be at every touch point.

Method Products, for instance, have partnered with the LGBT Foundation this year – and they’ve implemented gender neutral toilets within their offices to follow guidance and remain authentic.

3.     Connecting the customer to your purpose

With your purpose defined, it’s time to connect with your customers. Avoid mis-placed marketing by collaborating with those who can channel your message in the right way.

Award-winning coffee company, Change Please, supports people out of homelessness. They partnered with Colgate because 17% were pulling their teeth out due to pain. This also fitted neatly with Colgate’s own purpose, which is that everyone deserves ‘futures to smile about’.

4. Purpose isn’t and shouldn’t be a marketing strategy

A company’s purpose should evolve and remain relevant – it shouldn’t just be a marketing strategy. People need to see your brand reflect the trends of today and highlight the issues that matter – throughout your entire business.

Weave your purpose into your company values, embed them into your decision-making processes; encourage action within every area of your organisation; and ensure you have the knowledge to back-up and evidence your campaigns.

5. Bringing your purpose message to life

How do you make purpose real, understood and owned within in the organisation? You need to engage everyone – from top to bottom. Drive engagement amongst your people and create a framework to change the conversation to put purpose front of mind. John Lewis, for example, champion the idea of working in partnership for a Happier World – and they’ve used their 78,000 employees to help bring this purpose to life.

Another great example is our own work for Trafford Centre: ‘Refashioned’. This campaign encouraged and educated consumers in the Northwest and beyond on the sustainable fashion movement – bringing Trafford Centre alive with spectacular fashion shows and pre-loved fashion sales.

6. The importance of transparency and avoiding greenwashing

The right purpose-led campaign can drive consumer and policy change, do good, and make a real impact. It therefore needs to be fully transparent, tangible and factually correct – no greenwashing!

Innocent Drinks have famously learnt to become transparent, and they now openly share their carbon neutral journey, the ‘Big Rewild’ campaign connects with experts and drinkers at a local level to ensure absolute transparency.

7. Responding to different generational attitudes

Today, it’s crucial to appeal to a wide range of consumers in light of differences in attitudes and behaviours. Issues can be extremely complex, so strategies need to be based on the motivation of customers.

In the fashion industry, for instance, generational behaviours can differ greatly. Some think locally, not globally. Some are only going green for the ‘gram. Some get the why, but not always the how. All need to be catered for regardless.

8. Standing out in a crowded market

Until you have an important message, storytelling is boring. Purpose brings the fun and helps you stand out in a crowded marketplace, but it needs to be genuine. Business can – and should – be a force for good. The products that The Body Shop create, the campaigns they run, and the communities they support drive purpose as well as profit. And that’s why their voice is heard.

One of own clients, Ikea, also knows how to stand out for all the right reasons. Ikea didn’t participate in this year’s Black Friday, instead opting to bring back their sustainable ‘Green Friday’ initiative where customers were able to get an additional 50% off new items when returning used Ikea furniture to store.

9. Weaving purpose into seasonal events

Purpose doesn’t have to stop when focus is on seasonal events. In fact, these moments in the year are a great time to weave your purpose into your messaging to create something compelling.

John Lewis’ 2022 Christmas ad for example is aimed at raising awareness of children in care. The ad is a small part of a much wider purpose – and fits directly into their ‘Happier People’ purpose (which runs alongside their aforementioned ‘Happier World’ directive).

10. Impactful examples

Impactful examples can be seen in every sector today. We hope that you’ve found the ones listed in this article insightful – but we couldn’t end without including one last campaign of our own.

BWP’s recent ‘Beauty Unfiltered’ project for Trafford Centre promoted their beauty category by campaigning against the widespread filtering of imagery that’s seen within the industry today. This reflects our own purpose as a diverse, inclusive, transparent team of conscientious professionals.

In summary, it’s becoming increasingly important to create purpose-driven marketing and PR campaigns that stand up to the expectations of today, while standing out and staying true to your core brand values. However, it’s not enough to simply have purpose – communicating it in a way that expresses authenticity and genuine action is essential.

At BWP, this is something we help our clients do every single day, so do reach out if you’d like to chat about what’s possible for your brand.

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