This is part of an article series for the Power List 2020, created in partnership with Twitter as part of their global #LeadersforGood initiative.
Advancements in tech and social media means brand messaging is scrutinised like never before. Whereas brand messaging used to be one-way and top-down, today’s consumers are expecting companies to do good in society. Not only do consumers slam brands for not doing enough on social channels, they’re also boycotting companies who they perceive to be prioritising their profits over that of consumers’ interests — especially in recent years, with #MeToo and the Black Lives Matter movement. In fact, 47% of consumers are now walking away from brands who aren’t walking the talk, per an Accenture survey.
“[The next generation is] questioning — actually, they’re refusing — to give their time and attention to brands without a purpose or to brands that are solely driven by business activity. There has to be something in return for them — for the society they’re building and the world they inhabit,” notes Naomi Yamamoto, chief creative officer at Shiseido.
Another company walking the talk is HP. “D&I has always been an important part of what we do, from recruitment and talent retention to the programmes we run,” says Foo Siew Ting, VP and global head of marketing strategy and planning, print category for HP. “In Japan, we launched a campaign presenting three females protagonists who have gone against societal expectations to pursue their dreams. This is very important in Japan, where gender stereotypes still run rampant.”
Since COVID-19, the tech giant has launched HP Print, Play & Learn, a site where parents can download printables to engage their kids during lockdown. HP created the printables in partnership with various education centres.
Aside from finding purpose, brands need to ensure their messaging is authentic and rooted in the values of their brand. Or else, it won’t be sustainable. As Aditya Bhat, founder of Jio Creative Labs, says, ”purpose needs to come from within, one doesn’t suddenly discover purpose.” It’d be slightly bizarre, for example, for a company with a male-dominated board to suddenly advocate for gender equality in the workplace.
In the case of Jollibee, purpose is translated into two key things — bringing joy to families and Pinoy pride. “As a brand, we’ve always been about promoting family values,” says Francis Flores, global CMO of Jollibee. This is evidenced by campaigns such like Kwentung Jollibee, a series aiming to, as noted in the Power List 2020, “warming hearts as filling bellies”.
Since the pandemic, the Jollibee Group Foundation, via its Food Aid programme, has been delivering food to affected families and medical frontliners. The scheme has, at writing, raised ₱220 million, translating into 3.8 million meals.
Last year, the Phillipines Tourism board enlisted Jollibee for the ‘Eats. More fun in the Philippines’ campaign. It was a perfect match. It’s hard to find a brand more intertwined with Filipino pride than Jollibee. As Jollibee continues to evolve into a global brand, expanding through North America, UK and 20+ markets worldwide, it also remains firmly rooted in its Pinoy roots, as Flores emphasises. This ethos is embodied, perhaps, by the global CMO himself.. “I was working at Unilever, but when the opportunity came up to join Jollibee 12 years, I jumped at it. As a Filipino, I want to help grow a Filipino brand that will be the pride of the country.”
Know your audience
For Bhat, the execution is as important as the message itself. “Very often, people think purpose must be serious. I think purpose driven marketing needs to be entertaining".
Jio Creative Labs is no stranger to purpose-driven campaigns - from its popular anti-smoking campaign featuring Bollywood star Sunny Leone to a recent one of Indian police bursting into song in tribute to the country’s healthcare workers. The company was in the middle of creating an experiential campaign that’ll allow mall visitors to literally ‘step into a woman’s shoes’ and experience the sexism females in India are exposed to.
Aside from being grounded in issues pertinent to Indian society, there appears to be an irreverance or element of ‘fun’ to Jio’s work. For Bhat, the execution is as important as the message itself.
“We’ve got so much thrown at us every day. If the message doesn’t stand out from the clutter, there is no point in the message.”