Research and Insights / 3 minute read

Brand Purpose in Communications

Written by Callum Gill

22 October 2019

Open any industry mag, attend any event or gather around your industry soapbox of choice and the topic de jour is more than likely to be brand purpose. It’s increasing importance in our field is unique in so much as it’s not a flash in the pan, an annual trend or even flavour the week. It is a fundamental reshaping of the way our internal audiences are willing to be talked to, governing everything from their choice of energy provider to the place they choose to work. Over half of UK consumer behaviour is now driven by brand purpose considerations. The younger generation are expecting purposeful change more than any other demographic with 67% expecting brands to lead on and not react to societal, political and environmental issues.

Opinions are like @#$%£!/>

This is a prominent topic and the industry has what seems to be a laser like focus on it now. Forbes has noted that purpose driven communications campaigns have increased by roughly 24% year on year. The veritable who’s who of communications, Cannes Lions has reported that over half of its gongs are now dolled out to purpose campaigns and here at DRPG, we ourselves have seen a ten-fold increase in briefs mentioning purpose in the last two years. Everything seems rosy right? Well being the insightful bunch we are here, we thought we’d better ask a few industry pros just to make sure…


Brand Purpose: Shaping a new Purposeful Reality for Communication professionals

We went out and knocked on the digital doors of 110 businesses across industry sectors to bend their ears on the topic of brand purpose and reeled in some great information from the people at the coal face of comms. We found out that strong opinions abound, including that brand purpose was at the top of the agenda for 91% of the organisations surveyed.

What interested me the most though, as I poured over the statistics, is that communications professionals are a little generous, or perhaps even a little deluded when talking about the impact their brand purpose comms are having. 52% described business wide awareness of their brand purpose as good, 19.4% as excellent.  Externally, 47.8% believed the general public were aware of their purpose and quite generously. 52% believed that their messages were trusted and perceived as authentic. This for me was where our comms pros’ perspectives became a little skewed.


Rose Tinted Glasses

It’s a jungle out there. Trust in brand messaging has been in sharp decline since 2017 and our view from professionals, I believe, was probably influenced by the amount of time they spend working closely with brand purpose. The actual landscape makes from grim analysis. 96% of consumers do not trust the official messages delivered by brands. 60% of employees attest that they do not receive anywhere near the required information about their own company’s brand purpose. There is most definitely a gap between our communication professionals’ view and the word on the street. So what’s causing the divide?

The answer lies in…. our Whitepaper of course! Please take a look at the findings from our survey and the work our analysts have done to unpick the problems surrounding brand purpose messaging and most importantly how we implement and measure it effectively to tackle the doubting Thomases and make sure we are seen as authentic and purposeful brands and employers.


To download your copy of our latest Whitepaper, please click here.  

Whitepaper Brand Purpose_cover page