Purpose-led marketing and media investments

Mar 15, 2022
Media Thought Leadership

The definition of a purpose-led brand continues to evolve. As the world grapples with geopolitical conflict and uncertainty, the accelerating impacts of climate change, and raised social consciousness through the Black Lives Matter movement, consumers are expecting and demanding more from brands.

Consumer expectations for brands today go far beyond delivering on a promise for a product or service. Consumers want to see transparency across the board: From ethical sourcing, labour and hiring, to carbon emissions, and diversity, equity and inclusion. Today, purpose-led brands not only fulfill a consumer need, but also strive to deliver value far beyond their brand stakeholders to create a positive impact on their communities. 

How do purpose-led brands intersect with media planning and buying today?

To be a purpose-led brand, you have to consider all elements, including where you’re spending media dollars. There is a growing awareness of the media supply chain and the impact that a brand can have based on its media buying choices. Media spend has a huge impact on society as it determines whose stories are told, who shares them and how they are amplified to shape information and public opinion. As a result, there is increased pressure on media suppliers to be transparent. Conversely, brands are becoming more aware that their media investments directly impact their communities. People are questioning brands, their purpose and where they choose to advertise. Good tension and accountability are building across the system. 

What challenges do brands and marketers face when aligning their brand purpose to their media investments?

So many businesses are acquisition-driven and dominated by lower funnel activity. There needs to be conscious investments and decisions made to start to change the path. Marketing capabilities that have been built around performance KPIs could be impacted; depending on the business, it could be a massive transformation. At minimum, it’s important to evaluate and remove any practices that are still driving cycles of prejudice or socioeconomic disparity. At best, more intentional media spends that align with a brand’s values will emerge, delivering on both business results and public good. 

How can brands and marketers reflect their brand values and purpose through their marketing and media investments?

  • Be authentic. Recognize that your brand purpose needs to flow throughout the supply chain, including your media investments. 
  • Gain alignment. Ensure that all stakeholders are aligned on the KPIs measuring both social and business impact of media investments.
  • Engage partners. Work with your agency and media partners to incorporate their perspectives and achieve your goals. 

Media choice is important for a purpose-led brand because it is ultimately an expression of the values the brand is conveying to its consumers, and to the world. While the phrase “the medium is the message” may seem ancient, one could say that it’s truer today than ever before.


AUTHORED BY
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Penny Hicks

Managing Director, Client Partnerships The Globe and Mail




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