Twenty-five years ago the conversation was anchored in uncovering the truth about a brand, making it relevant to people and amplifying it.
That single-minded ‘thing’ that carries with it the potential to differentiate, engage, compel and persuade.
Then, as it is now, it was referred to as ‘The Big Idea’. And it was 100% commercially motivated.
There was no mention of the brand’s role in making the world a better place.
Fast forward to today and, as we know, there has been an ethical shift toward purpose.
“Stand up and stand for something!” is today’s and tomorrow’s rallying cry for brands.
AKA ‘The Bigger Idea’ – a large percentage of commercial and creative imperative with a smaller (yet hopefully still significant) percentage of philanthropy.
Carlsberg is (probably) a good example of a brand that does precisely that.
JC Jacobsen brewed up philanthropic commerciality in 1847 and to this day the world-famous brewery continues to help make the world a better place via the Carlsberg Foundation.
All great stuff.
Except of course, not all brands have a genuine meaningful purpose baked into their DNA.
But that doesn’t prevent brands from embarking on a journey to develop one, provided that the rule of engagement is clear.
And that rule is simply this. Do not set out to manufacture purpose to fulfil a marketing objective. Purpose is not a tick box marketing exercise.
Purpose requires honesty and intention if it’s to relate meaningfully to the brand and the customer. Which of course it should.
Otherwise ‘purpose’ is in danger of becoming ‘craft’. An overused marketing buzzword that quickly waters its meaning down to nothing.
A year or so ago I tuned into a Radio interview that featured a well-known designer from a well-known design agency.
He was being interviewed about how he goes about the business of branding with purpose.
(He was, in that moment, a spokesperson for our industry.)
And he gave an example on the spot.
It went something like this:
“Let’s say for instance that someone with a fantastic rum asked us to create a name and brand identity for it … and let’s say that the brand owner was known to wear a red jumper (dramatic pause) – we’d call it Red Jumper Rum – and we’d donate 10% of profits to charitable causes!”.
I died on the inside.
That’s precisely the opposite of purpose.
The unwavering drive to cut through the banality and bull to deliver distinctive, authentic, relevant differentiation underpinned by meaningful purpose – ultimately giving us folk a resonant reason to care – is why I’m still in this business and as passionate as ever.
We were recently asked to create ‘some bold ideas’ for an organisation that exists to encourage the UK government to impose a ban on trophy hunting.
Trophy Hunting is a sickening circa £200m global business built upon the morally repugnant and egotistical idea that it’s sporting and fun to murder animals with the express purpose of collecting, then proudly displaying, their body parts.
Oftentimes they’re killed in enclosures from which there is no possible escape.
This enhanced evil is known as canned hunting.
Remember Cecil the lion? He was murdered four years ago last week by American dentist Walter Palmer.
Poor Cecil was shot by an arrow by Walter – it took over 12 hours for Cecil to die from his wounds.
(Apparently, hunters get ‘points’ for using novelty weapons… bows and arrows, muskets, catapults…)
Yet even more unbelievably, since the callous and cowardly murder of Cecil – and ensuing global public outcry – there has been a significant increase in trophy hunting!
A significant increase!!!
But momentum is building to ban this barbaric so-called ‘sport’.
And we’ve been busy creating a campaign identity and communications under our philanthropic offer – Taxi C.A.B (Creativity And Benevolence).
Inspired by, and in honour of, Cecil the Lion – ‘C is for Cecil’ is our contribution to the cause.
AKA ‘The Better Idea.’ – 100% Social Consciousness.
Watch this space for more from us on BAN TROPHY *UNTS in the coming weeks.