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Marketing that our collective future depends on

In today’s world, every other headline is a bombardment on the senses: social unrest, climate justice, global pandemic, cancel culture, fake news, and data privacy erosion — not to mention the myriad of opinions on how to navigate these issues. As a result, there’s an acceleration of transformation occurring across industries, businesses, and consumer behaviour. There’s a mindset shift where people are increasingly looking to brands to solve societal problems, and buying from brands that stand for something larger than just their products but are aligned with customer values. As marketers, we’re left wondering: What’s our role in the intersection of principles, profit, and purpose, and can we contribute to our best collective future?

The answer is yes. We call it Marketing with Purpose.

Marketing with Purpose is about building a brand that’s welcomed into peoples’ lives by earning their trust and upholding their values. It starts with respecting their right to privacy, being transparent, and designing equitable experiences. Trust grows into love by demonstrating brand values throughout the customer experience and expressing them through marketing and advertising to give people opportunities to connect and find shared meaning in shared values. Brand love leads to loyalty when someone experiences authenticity and personalised inclusion, and as a result they feel “this brand is for someone like me.” That’s Marketing with Purpose, and it is outlined in our detailed playbook.

The strategy is based on multiple research studies by Microsoft Advertising, and it’s supported by various third-party studies. The result is an actionable guide to building a trusted brand, which means being true to your brand’s values and inclusive of more people, for a responsible marketer.

Here are the three core building blocks of Marketing with Purpose:

1. Responsibility. The role of responsibility in marketing covers — in part — privacy, transparency, and accessible marketing. It’s about being good stewards of the customer experience.

Trust is not static but can be dynamically built by being a good steward of the customer experience. Companies need to constantly earn peoples’ trust by taking responsibility and being transparent in data collection; responsible marketing plays a critical role. Start by actively reviewing your practices on privacy and data collection, but also know the platform’s policies of where your ads will be placed. Being a responsible marketer also means ensuring brand safety and choosing wisely where you place your ads, as well as making sure you’re producing accessible marketing materials.

Five quick actions to start on the path of more responsible marketing:

  • Get the “Top six ways to demonstrate responsibility.”
  • Review the top five ways people feel it’s worth sharing their personal data, as well as what concerns them most, to optimise your brand experience.
  • Review the “Advertising Platform Requirements Checklist.”
  • Review the “Privacy Compliance Checklist for Marketers.”
  • Review the entire section dedicated to Accessible Marketing.

2. Values. The role of values in marketing builds on brand values first, enabling people with shared values to find shared meaning in the brand experience.

Values are inherently embedded in building trust, and brand trust leads to brand love and loyalty, which all help drive purchase consideration for a brand. These three elements are closely related: The correlation between trust and brand love is 76%, and the correlation between brand love and loyalty is 55%. People want to spend with brands that have shared values, and who stand for that in which they believe. Understand that your brand purpose and values create trust and authentic connections with people to unlock business opportunities.

Five quick actions to drive value with values:

  • Learn about ethical advertising, as it’s 3x more important to company trust than competence. Review the Ethical Advertising Checklist.
  • Review top brand attributes linked to shared values building brand trust.
  • Review your mission as a company and authentically position your products, services, or experiences in alignment with your purpose and values. This is the key to authenticity.
  • Review the Diverse Audience Snapshots of values across ethnicities, sexual orientation, and generations.
  • Consider sustainability as a value and review how advertising platforms can provide Marketing with Purpose opportunities with their supply partners.

3. Inclusion. The role of inclusion in marketing is about the expression of an inclusive lens on the outputs of any business; it’s a modern marketing imperative.

Inclusive Marketing means considering multiple dimensions of diversity to create culturally accurate representation in your advertising, not stereotyping. A brand who considers inclusion in advertising strives to provide authentic connection, demonstrates open mindedness, and conveys equity. It’s an opportunity to build more meaningful relationships with people and show in advertising that you value them. There are clear insights within Marketing with Purpose to help activate this core building block to trust. When people feel included, joy and trust follow, which leads to brand love, loyalty, and an increase in purchase intent. Furthermore, inclusive advertising increases purchase intent by 23 points.

Five quick actions to create inclusive advertising:

  • Review the Inclusive Marketing activation model — the “What you market, Who you market to, How you market” approach to design campaigns relevant for your brand.
  • Review the Inclusive Product Marketing Checklist.
  • Learn how to develop an inclusive keyword strategy for search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing, and more.
  • Learn how to apply the three metaphors for inclusion in ad imagery: connections, openness, balance.
  • Learn how to use Microsoft Bing to quickly scan your site’s image representation and contemplate if it represents the audiences to which you’re marketing.

A responsible, values-based, and inclusive approach to marketing isn’t just about targeting niche segments, providing product value, or policy compliance. It’s about building genuine relationships with people who celebrate diversity and a wide range of human experiences. Intentional inclusion with purpose woven throughout the brand experience conjures up feelings of acceptance, contentment, confidence, certainty, hope, and safety, which precipitates loyalty — a leading indicator of future business growth.

Explore the Marketing with Purpose Playbook to help you authentically connect your marketing with purpose to build a more trusted brand. It’s the guide to building trust, love, and loyalty, while future-proofing a business in these transformational times. Marketing with Purpose marketers seek to find the intersection of purpose, profit, and principles to contribute to our best collective future.

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