Why do brands with purpose generate more revenue?

Posted by John Aves, Monday 18th May.

In a recent article in Marketing, Unilever has revealed that the brands within its ‘Sustainable Living Plan’ are contributing to over half the overall business growth. Brands such as; Dove, Ben & Jerry’s and Comfort are achieving above average growth compared to other brands in its portfolio such as Marmite, Pot Noodle and Persil.

It is no secret that brands that make us feel something, that have a purpose, engage with their customers more. Customers want to be part of a brand’s purpose, they want to contribute to the cause, to help them achieve something, to help make the world a better place.

Unilever’s brand Ben and Jerry’s for example has recently won awards for ‘Compassion in World Farming’s Good Dairy Award’, for excellence in animal welfare in the dairy sector, and its ongoing commitment to sustainable dairy farming. Dove has concentrated on the reduction on product waste and its marketing programmes around “real beauty” and womens self-esteem and empowerment, things that the modern consumer really care about.

Purpose when coupled with powerful brands gives a lot of weight to a subject. It enables customers to show that this is something they value too, buying that product makes a statement on their personal values and considerations. Brands with real purpose as a result generate more brand loyalty, repeat purchasing and greater advocacy, which of course then has a very positive effect on revenue and brand growth.

As Unilever stated “responsible-consumption products will account for 70% of total grocery growth in the US and Europe over the next five years (according to Boston Consulting Group). In the US alone, responsible-consumption products have grown about 9% annually in the past three years.”

Brands with an ethical foundation seem to be driving revenue trends with modern consumers who will not think twice about not buying brands who make an ethical slip. However these values must run deeper than just a marketing campaign, they must resonate through a brand’s values and all aspects of their customer experience if they are to sustain their growth.