Experts Recommend Channeling Purpose Beyond Profits
Broadcasters need to find a purpose beyond making money in order to hire and keep the best employees and survive at a time when brands can get crushed by young, fickle consumers adept at social media. That was part of the message delivered by marketing experts who say “the future of profits is purpose” during an NAB Show session Monday.
Simon Mainwaring, founder and CEO of We First Inc. and author of the book “We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Build a Better World,” laid out the case for broadcasters becoming “a cause with a company” instead of a company with a cause. He said the role of business in society has evolved to this point, and cynics ignore that change at their peril.
Some statistics: “Belief-driven consumers” are about 30 percent of the total, and of them, 57 percent would buy or boycott a brand based on its response to a social issue. And 65 percent will not buy a brand that stays silent on an important topic — a chilling figure to companies that would rather stay on the sidelines and not risk polarizing sectors of an audience.
As for being fickle, 61 percent have changed a favorite brand over the past 12 months, Mainwaring said. These trends have accelerated over the last year and a half and are in the news with issues like gun control, women’s rights and responses like the “delete Uber” or “delete Facebook” movements.
Brands need to have an affirmative association with purpose and values to survive. Finding a purpose — what you’re for — can help to determine what you’re against. Uber, for example, positioned itself against the typical taxi ride, and Airbnb was against the homogeneous hotel experience.
Mainwaring said brands, including broadcasters, also must be careful to focus on the impact of their actions on people in the community rather than on the actions taken — be celebrants, not celebrities. Find a need in the community you are uniquely suited to help and take action.