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May 10, 2023

Effective, purpose-based marketing in 2023

Dayna Lang
Author Dayna Lang

Purpose-based marketing isn’t new. Whether companies are working to improve their diversity or boost their eco-initiatives, for years, brands have aimed to create a personality that cares. This advertising is starting to wane in effectiveness, however, as younger generations start to see many of these initiatives as the bare minimum – an expectation rather than an impressive benefit. 

This begs the question, where does purpose based advertising go from here – does it shine or fade into the shadows. Do purpose-led business practices still make impactful marketing material in 2023?

The key to successful, purpose-based marketing in 2023 is as simple as genuine, meaningful action. Initiatives need to be made up of real, in-depth change and social conscious business practices. 


Consumer engagement 

Customers are more engaged than ever and communicating with them directly about initiatives and feedback can have a major impact on your purpose-based marketing initiatives. Companies that respond to this engagement with action and authentic, value-based marketing campaigns are more likely to take steps forward through the marketing funnel with socially-conscious consumers.  

The key word in all of this is authentic. Values need to be followed by actions or else socially-conscious campaigns fall flat. With engaged customers come informed customers and increased expectation leads to higher standards for success and transparency. In order to create an effective purpose based marketing campaign in 2023 organizations need to go beyond words and create intentional, tangible, measurable change. 


Eco-conscious marketing initiatives

Given how Earth Day has just passed, it makes sense to discuss eco-friendly, earth inspired marketing initiatives. Most businesses in 2023 have some form of eco-initiative in the works or put into practice. But what truly sets a business apart of its purpose-based marketing is impactful action. 

According to a Google Cloud survey, 80% of executives scored their company above average when rating its sustainability efforts; 86% also believed that their business’s efforts were making a difference.

While these numbers are high, they aren’t reflective of reality. In the same survey only 36% of people agreed that their company had effective measurement tools in order to properly qualify their impact. An even lower 17% said that the tools they did have were being used to optimize efforts. 

This lack of meaningful effort is transparent to consumers, even when information is withheld from them. No longer can a clever eco label do the trick, younger generations expect a level of earth friendly behaviour from brands and setting yourself apart from the competition means taking it a step further and putting words into action by measuring and reducing environmental impact. 

Another important aspect of sustainability initiatives is transparency. While many consumers will see right through flippant efforts, businesses can go a long way in improving their purpose based marketing based marketing initiatives by communicating successes, and failures, openly with stakeholders and potential customers.

In that same Google Cloud survey, 87% of respondents agreed that honesty from business leaders regarding issues and barriers to sustainability made it possible to make more meaningful progress. And meaningful progress on sustainability means a more impactful purpose based marketing campaign.


Examples of purpose-based marketing ad excellence

Google – Environmental Insights Explorer

This ad from Google for its Environmental Insights Explorer platform presents a tangible solution for companies to measure and report on their sustainability initiatives. This purpose-based marketing, in of itself, is an authentic effort at improving environmental efforts with measurable action. 

Univelver – Growing Roots

Unilever’s Growing Roots campaign shares the story of Tracy Shepard-Rashkin, whose Growing Roots snack brand gives 50% of profits to urban farms in the US, helping to reduce hunger in grocery deserts across the country. 

Dove – Self Esteem Project 

Dove is no stranger to creating emotionally charged, impactful purpose-based marketing campaigns surrounding self-esteem and the impact of the beauty industry. The beauty giant’s self-esteem project aims to create measurable change for young girls by teaching their parent’s how to discuss social media with them. 


To learn more about another great example of an effective purpose-based ad, check out our piece on Gillette’s “The Best A Man Can Be” ad. To see more from illumin, be sure to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn!

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