Brand purpose may seem like an advertising fad, the territory of big businesses with deep pockets. However, consumers are increasingly looking to companies to solve societal issues. Brand purpose can help you to create an agile brand that will stand the test of time.

Designer Wally Olins once said, “The intangible value of the brand is often much greater than the corporation’s tangible assets.” Therefore, by creating a socially-aware brand purpose, you can increase your company’s intangible stock. You don’t need the resources of P&G or Nestlé to make this possible.

Along with a new generation of consumers have come a new set of values. The decision making process behind Millennial purchasing isn’t as cut and dried as with previous generations. Customers now want the best product their money can buy. However, they also want the company to make a difference in the world.

What is Brand Purpose?

According to Alina Wheeler, author of Designing Brand Identity, a brand’s purpose is ‘the reason that the company exists beyond making a profit’. In essence, brand purpose is all about connecting with the customer and bettering the world through relating to what the brand is selling or providing. A powerful brand purpose can set a company apart from the crowd, and it is increasingly important to the modern consumer.

Brand purpose is distinctive from brand promise, which simply lets customers know what to expect from your brand’s offering. Brand purpose is inextricably tied to emotion, which builds relationships with customers and boosts customer loyalty.


Recent advertising trends have leaned towards defining brand purpose; telling the brand’s ‘story’ and reinforcing an emotional connection between brand and consumer. In McVitie’s popular advertising campaign, for instance, they shifted focus away from their product. They moved towards a more robust expression of their brand purpose, ‘Sweeter Together’.

This is an expression of the company’s unique identity and a demonstration of why a consumer chooses, or should choose, McVitie’s again and again. This ad reinforces and demonstrates a core aspect of brand: emotional connection. Other brands in the food sector that have been focusing their advertising on values such as generosity and kindness include Cadbury’s ‘Fence’ and Mr Kipling’s ‘Little Thief’ advert.


Cadbury’s advert shows an elderly man living on his own. He repeatedly returns toys lost over the fence by the children next door. The film ends with the children reciprocating his generosity. They give him a bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk over the fence instead.

This advert showcased Cadbury’s brand purpose by linking their strapline, ‘There’s a glass and a half in everyone’, to acts of kindness. They did this by shining a spotlight on the issue of loneliness among the elderly. Their campaign included donating 30p from the sale of each chocolate bar to Age UK and encouraging people to ‘donate their words’ by taking the time to speak to older people in their families or communities.

Mr Kipling

The Mr Kipling advert focused on the opposite end of the age spectrum. It tells the story of a young boy who is trying to steal Mr Kipling cakes from a family party. He eventually succeeds in nabbing an Angel Slice and runs upstairs with it when he gets home, only to give it to his older sister who stayed at home. The advert showcases a relationship that people with siblings the world over can understand. In addition, it links Mr Kipling cakes with a sense of nostalgia and family while telling a story that is contemporary.

The co-president and Chief Creative Officer at Mr Kipling told LBB Online: “We’re super proud of this campaign. It gives the brand’s heritage a fresh twist and for the first time highlights the many different possible interpretations of the ‘good’ in its Exceedingly Good mantra.”

Final thoughts

Emotional connection is a huge selling point for customers. Values give brands a personality and help consumers identify a real person behind what they buy. This not only gives people a deeper connection to a brand. It also instils a sense of trust, for example, by reiterating that there is a person just like them on the other side. Usually a logo alone is not enough to tell this story. Your brand is what your consumer falls in love with.