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Brands need purpose, and purpose needs bravery

Gaia Ottaviano

Strategic Planner

Ogilvy

Gaia.Ottaviano@ogilvy.com

Brands need purpose, and purpose needs bravery

In recent years, a noble word has secured its place in marketing and communications vocabulary: purpose. When we look at brand value, we help a brand to define its identity, or we ponder a campaign idea, we try to understand what drives its choices. We ask ourselves why a company acts in a certain way, which values motivate its behavior, and what kind of consumers might embrace its promises.

But purpose alone is not enough. We risk codifying it very clearly in a branding strategy that works in theory, but is not so compelling in real life.

Italian companies have to understand that purpose is about the role that a brand plays in the world; in our society. They have to take an active role in local and cultural conversations. They must adapt to the changing social context, choose a position, and state their fearless opinion - in the most credible and relevant way possible. People expect this from them. So, next time we start a conversation with clients about this topic, we should say: “OK, let’s talk about your purpose. But do you have the courage to bring it alive?”