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Find your balance between purpose and functionality

Find your balance between purpose and functionality

Reaching a Clear Purpose

One of the biggest accomplishments for any senior marketer is delivering a clear and compelling brand purpose. Brands with purpose are perceived as untouchable, immune to crisis, continuously generating value to the business. Although creating a strong brand purpose is paramount, it’s also vital for the brand to continually emphasize its key functional benefits.

The Communications Challenge

With consumer attention spans decreasing and ad blocking on the rise, the window of opportunity to deliver your brand message has never been shorter. This presents a challenge when marketers try to communicate all layers of their brand’s proposition (both the brand purpose and its functional benefits) within one communication. Breaking down a brand proposition into its component parts and delivering these in separate but connected communications will increasingly be a viable marketing model. As marketers, we need to ensure we’re not neglecting any part of our brand message in our advertising.

Don’t Forget Functionality

Some corners of the marketing community are getting too hung up on the idea of brand purpose and are, in turn, neglecting their key functional benefits in their advertising. Marketers that overvalue purpose and undervalue functionality are foolish, as they are forgetting this fundamental truth: Consumers buy a brand because it is a “product” first. The “product” has to satisfy the functional need of the consumer. PepsiCo’s newest addition to the bottled water market, LIFEWTR, has focused its product positioning primarily around providing a platform for young, creative entrepreneurs. However, LIFEWTR’s functional benefits are barely mentioned. Any potential new customers are likely to be left with some questions unanswered at the point of purchase, potentially making them more likely to lose out to competitor brands of bottled water.

Find Your Balance

Nike isn’t just about theoretical greatness; it’s about performance too. Dove isn’t just about inner beauty; it’s about purifying and softening skin. Coca Cola is an excellent example of a brand that’s found that marketing sweet spot between purpose and functionality. Its marketing team spent years fostering a great sense of brand purpose but have, in recent years, circled back around to emphasizing its crisp taste and refreshment to remind next generation consumers about its functional benefit. Contrary to the 2009 “Open Happiness” tagline, the “Taste the Feeling” campaign, which launched in 2016, not only appeals to consumers’ desire to cultivate memorable, meaningful moments in their lives (brand purpose) but also their desire for refreshing beverages (functionality).

Always is another excellent example. It has created its “Like a girl” campaign, in which they promoted the importance of equality amongst the sexes and self confidence among girls and women in society. However, this focus on brand purpose hasn’t stopped them from reminding their consumers about the functional benefit of their menstrual product, which is leak protection. They pushed their girl power message while consistently showing side-by-side demonstrations in their adverts reestablishing the superior quality of their products versus their competitors’. Always has the right idea, since brands that simultaneously communicate both their product’s functionality as well as their purpose have a stronger chance of sustained growth than those who only do one or the other.

Keep on reminding

Demographics are changing. Products are changing. Thus, marketers are adapting. Brands cannot assume that consumers will remember your brand’s purpose or your brand’s functionality for long. You must constantly be reminding them of both. Only then will you truly maximize your brand’s opportunity to penetrate to next generation consumers.