The Power of Purpose: A Brand's Superpower

Purpose: it’s the magic word in today's business lexicon. No longer just a feel-good buzzword—it’s the very essence that can catapult a brand from ordinary to extraordinary.

Recently, Hothouse hosted a discussion organized by Conscious Capitalism, a movement built upon the core belief that business can solve systemic problems, uplift communities, and create meaningful change. Our biggest takeaway? Purpose isn’t a mantra you recite in morning meetings; it's a living, breathing part of your company’s DNA.

When we think of purpose-driven brands, Dove inevitably comes to mind. Remember the iconic Real Beauty campaign? It wasn't just a marketing gimmick. Philippe Harousseau, one of our esteemed panelists, reflected on his time at Unilever, stating, "It was an epiphany because I realized that you can actually do well and do good at the same time, and actually, the more good you do, the better you note it." The campaign not only resonated deeply with consumers but also led to a significant increase in sales. Purpose and profit are not mutually exclusive—they are dance partners in the grand ballroom of business.

So, how does one inject this purpose into the brand’s bloodstream?

First, it’s about extraction rather than injection. Philippe provocatively suggests, "The fundamental challenge is that you have to uncover or extract your purpose. If you try to embed it, if you try to inject it, you’re going to rely on two of the most important things, which are authenticity and credibility." This means digging deep, getting to the core of why your company exists beyond making money, and letting that truth shine through in every aspect of your business.

For another example, we look to Interface. Under the visionary leadership of Ray Anderson, the modular carpet and flooring company wholeheartedly embraced sustainability as their purpose. The result? A transformative journey that not only enhanced their market position but also fostered a culture of genuine commitment to environmental stewardship. As former Global CMO Jo Ann Herold eloquently states, "Purpose has to be driven from within to the employees, and then the customers have to believe it."

It’s not just about grand campaigns and sweeping changes.

Purpose can be found in the minutiae of everyday business decisions. It’s the way a company treats its employees, interacts with its community, and even how it handles its supply chain. When purpose permeates these facets, it creates a ripple effect that can elevate the entire brand.

In all, the power of purpose lies in its authenticity and the emotional connection it fosters with both employees and customers. It’s a long-term play, but one that pays dividends in loyalty, brand equity, and yes, even profit.

So, leaders, entrepreneurs, and fellow brand enthusiasts, let’s not just talk about purpose—let’s live it, breathe it, and let it guide us to create brands that truly matter.