Build a powerful social purpose strategy with these 5 essential tips

January 01, 1970 by Leela Bozonelis

Social purpose is your brand's new best friend. Social Media Week shared the facts that prove the rise in purpose-driven brands, including growing consumer support of sustainable brands and increasing company investment in capital for social impact.

Choosing the right corporate social purpose is vital for success.

Keep these five essential tips in mind when developing social purpose strategy:

1. Make a meaningful contribution

To choose the right focus, identify a set of social or environmental needs that the brand has the ability to make a meaningful contribution to. Consider the issues that most concern the consumer base to help narrow the options. Choose a social purpose that can create value for the brand and its consumers, employees, stakeholders and leadership.

2. Match social purpose with brand purpose

For a brand's social purpose to be an effective and fruitful addition to corporate strategy, it must be consistent with the culture, heritage, mission and distinctive character of the business. When social purpose aligns with brand purpose, companies can focus on the social needs they are well positioned to address.

Sam Hollis, head of planning at Good Agency, explained it to Marketing Week this way: "It gives consumers a reason to believe in you - and belief is enormously powerful in creating loyalty and advocacy." Hollis further noted that this richer emotional connection can increase competitive edge.

3. Address financial outcomes

PR professionals should keep the numbers in mind when developing or communicating all aspects of a corporate social responsibility strategy. An effective social purpose integrates with the company's efforts to make money, driving business performance by creating an opportunity for the brand to develop a new product or service and venture into a new market. Additionally, some social purpose efforts may help reduce costs or increase profitability.

4. Consider consumer perspective

A brand's social purpose should be relevant to its consumers, giving them every reason to believe in and support the company. When consumers associate the brand with its relevant, respectable social purpose, it can positively influence their buying decisions.

5. Get leadership on board

Social initiatives go hand in hand with company principles. A brand's social purpose should start from the top, making it a truly integrated component of the company. PR professionals should sell the social purpose strategy to the CEO, board, C-suite and stakeholders as a relevant element of overall corporate strategy, promoting a commitment from the most influential decision-makers.