The answer commonly heard when asked about why brands expand and grow is because they seek to profit. But according to Muhammad Rahadi Prasetya, Brand Building Manager of Unilever and MBA ITB alumni, a brand expands and grows in order to fill the gap in the market demand and stay relevant while doing so. It’s not enough for brands to simply do one and not the other amidst the tight competition that has been brought by easy access to information.
He then shared three reasons why brands like Unilever choose branding strategies through delivering purpose:
People with purpose thrive
As humans in the era where it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information we go through, employees need a reason to tie them back to why they wholeheartedly enjoy working in the company. Delivering purpose is a great way to remind people that the work they are doing is impacting other people out there positively.
Companies with a purpose last
In today’s age, the barrier to enter the market has significantly decreased due to the internet and technological advancements. Thus, it’s not enough for companies to rely on good products to be successful, companies must also groom a lasting impression in the minds of their past, present, and future consumers.
Brands with purpose grow
A brand aligns itself with purpose because it’s something that’s actionable, following the principle of “the brand says brand does”. A brand’s purpose is then manifested through the actions they take, for example when Sunlight empowered women in communities. This also adds to the emotional appeal of the brand is trying to reach the consumers, because they may associate buying the brand with helping a community out there. It may just be the tiebreaker needed to make brands win over their competitors.
Rahadi said that carrying out company social responsibility (CSR) obligations is not the same as a brand’s social mission. While they may be similar in nature at a glance, CSR can be done in any form that is not related to the brand’s purpose, and tend to be done by companies as a whole such as Unilever as opposed to its line of brands like Sunlight.
According to Rahadi, the goal of a branding strategy that is based on a social mission is to penetrate the market, even if the process may not happen directly. Market penetration is done by attaching a brand to a purpose and doing actions that are in line with the purpose to slowly build brand equity among potential consumers. All of these eventually drive up the brand’s sales in the long run.