Why everyone's talking about purpose-led comms

Why everyone's talking about purpose-led comms

In the spirit of transparency, I have to admit that I wasn’t aware of terms such as ‘youthquake’, ‘woke’ and ‘techlash’ until well after they became common vernacular – even though I’m a twenty-something millennial! But that doesn’t mean I hadn’t felt the quiet rumblings of discontent through my friends and social feeds.

Now more than ever, consumers (most notably Gen Zs) are demanding transparency and expecting complete insight into how products and services are delivered, companies’ value systems and the way they do business – and as such, businesses are increasingly focusing on purpose-led communications. In fact, a recent MSL survey* revealed that 63% of people want to know what the brands they support are doing to address social and environmental issues – and they’re not afraid to make their voices heard.

It’s not just consumer brands that are being put to the test; employer brands are facing the same issue. A well-known name and a solid pay packet will no longer attract or retain the best talent as employees hold companies to higher standards.

According to the survey, 59% of UK employees expect the organisation they work for to take a stand on social issues, while 88% are less likely to work for a company that advocates disagreeable positions.

Clearly, employees want to work for companies that share their values. And this is most obvious in the graduate space, where there’s a preference for socially conscious companies over those traditionally seen as the most reputable. As a result, how companies treat their employees and champion their values are becoming increasingly connected to how their products or services are perceived in the marketplace.


The impact of this was evident last year, when many companies were condemned by the media for some of their employee practices, whether it’s covering up a bullying and biased culture, unfair wages or failing to protect consumers’ and staff’s confidential data. Equally, many businesses were celebrated for championing meaningful causes – such as TOMS and Patagonia. As consumers and employees increasingly have the tools and passion to speak out about the issues important to them, companies are under more scrutiny than ever.

Luckily, companies now understand the importance of championing their values and are addressing unfair prejudices and practices within their organisations. Doing so can help them increase employee engagement while providing consumers with the transparency they desire – and it can help reinforce the company’s position in the market.

However, as with any well-executed branding strategy, it’s wise to proceed with caution and do your research. Internal and external awareness are key as some brands are better placed to champion certain causes – so make sure it’s the right fit. And, never assume that you’re more informed than your consumers or employees who regularly communicate amongst themselves and compare notes (or user reviews). Ultimately, in a world where transparency is not just the norm but an expectation, you need to ensure that you are championing the values of those who support you – be it consumers or employees.



Susan Parry

Senior Account Manager

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