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Marketing with Purpose makes a difference

At Microsoft Advertising we’re invested in helping our clients and partners to create brands that are welcomed into people’s lives, as well as become a brand people rely on. That feels especially important during these challenging times, as services are disrupted, people learn to work productively from home and restrictions limit activities we took for granted. In these critical moments, how you show up matters. We know there’s uncertainty and with that comes a need to focus on what is most important. That applies to life in general but also how we help you focus to move your business forward. Our Microsoft mission of “enabling every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more” has never felt more important than it does today as we focus on helping you respond to today’s environment.

Today we’re launching a communications campaign called Marketing with Purpose. This work is born out of a few important things that have taken place in our industry over the past several years: The decline of trust in the digital space. The increase in people’s sentiment that the brands they welcome into their lives must provide value and align with their values. The opportunity and duty we have as marketers for making our marketing inclusive and accessible. And our learning that as you build trust as a company, you increase brand love which builds loyalty, and increases consideration.

Building trust has never been more relevant than it is today. It’s being stress-tested in how businesses operate, communicate, and respond. It’s also an opportunity to re-examine the role that brands play in peoples’ lives, and specifically the good you can do to counteract the uncertainty and disruption. Through it all, we expect trust will emerge from the current situation as an attribute of even greater importance to people. It calls for our collective creativity across the industry to adapt to what’s ahead, and a commitment to step up to show people they come first.

The campaign is supported by extensive research to understand the role trust plays in consumer decisions and the drivers of trust that increase loyalty and purchase consideration. We further tested the impact of inclusive advertising on how people feel towards a brand and whether it amplifies trust. We found that trust is an attribute that can transform your return on marketing spend and build stronger relationships with your customers. Trust is highly correlated with brand love and loyalty, all of which drive purchase consideration. In fact, 85% of people in our study said they will only consider a brand that they trust. We also found that intentional inclusion with purpose woven throughout the brand experience conjures up feelings of acceptance, contentment, confidence, certainty, hope, and safety. People view brands that represent diversity in their ads as more authentic, and inclusive advertising increases trust.

We view building trust and creating more inclusive advertising as a way to differentiate your brand. In today’s current climate of uncertainty, earning and maintaining the trust of people has never been more paramount to building a stronger and healthier business for the future.

We want to help you find new ways to build business value as you build equity through trust with people. That’s at the heart of Marketing with Purpose.

Trust is the currency of brand differentiation

As you compete for people’s time and attention in an increasingly disrupted marketplace, being trusted is the difference between connecting and targeting. Together, trust, brand love, and loyalty amplify the impact of the work that marketers do to grow their business.

There’s a significant boost in purchase consideration for trusted brands over untrusted brands. We find this varies by the type of purchase people are making, and in certain purchase categories, trust is a leading factor in who people choose to do business with:
  • Auto: 7x more likely to consider a trusted brand
  • Travel: 6.3x
  • Financial services: 4.7x
  • Retail: 2.8x

Trust multiplies what marketers can accomplish

The reality is that trust is multi-dimensional. Trust is more than just protecting data and instead is foundational to creating relationships between people and brands. Yes, it’s true that earning trust starts by providing people with a sense of security through transparent communication, protecting their privacy, proactively solving their issues, and delivering reliable products.  

Where trust can create real equity between you and your customers is by building authentic, personal connections. Think of any relationship you have, whether in good times or more challenging ones. Trust is foundational to that relationship. But then how you grow that trust is by showing that person you understand them. That you share their values and engage with them based on those shared values.

The same applies to building a relationship with your customers. Our research showed the biggest drivers of trust are brands who are genuine and authentic and are “for someone like me.”

Shared values drive brand value

Inclusive marketing is at the heart of understanding what people value and aligning that with what your brand values. Some marketers hesitate to take the first step toward inclusivity, for fear of getting it wrong. It involves far more than checking off boxes for diversity representation when choosing a photo for an ad or expanding your audience targeting. It’s about building genuine relationships with people that celebrate diverse values and a wide range of human experiences. 

Approaching inclusive marketing as a growth strategy is about building genuine relationships with all people, not just those in targeted groups. Inclusive ads show a 23-point lift in all purchase intent overall — and not just for niche audiences. Further, this lift held even for people who weren’t personally represented in the ad. Brands that represent diversity in their ads are more authentic, and people are more trusting of those brands. Inclusion can strengthen relationships with people across the board, helping you reflect the values of your core customers even as you engage new audiences.

Making personalization more purposeful

Personalization isn’t just about laying out what you know about people. It’s about understanding what they value and delivering experiences that are better because of it. The business returns are clear — in revenue and in efficiency. ​But it’s worth doing personalization right. ​Tactics that aim to connect through false familiarity don’t earn trust — they ​get blocked. But it can be all too easy to overstep and alienate people by making them question how their data is being used. As a result, despite the enormous potential, only one in seven marketers feel that they’re on the right track with personalization.

There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach; resonating with consumers means striking different chords in different categories. Your data must go deep enough to uncover what people truly want and their expectations in engaging with brands. Trust increases in brands which deliver personalization in the following ways:
  • In Automotive, it’s all about standing for what people believe in. ​To make people feel like the brand is for them, it is important that it aligns with their values.
  • In Travel, it’s about experiences that recognize their individuality. ​People want brands to provide an experience that feels personal and the recognition that the brand understands how important they are.
  • In Retail, it’s about making them feel the brand is built for them. ​Having the right products, high quality merchandise, and their favorite brands go a long way in making a better connection.
  • In Financial Services, ​it’s all about value, education and service.​ Providing good value and ​competitive pricing in addition to teaching people how to manage their finances and prepare them for the future.
When you understand the kind of personalization that’s meaningful to people, and when you deliver that brand experience genuinely and authentically, you earn people’s trust and create a worthwhile exchange for the data that you collect from them. That’s adding purpose to personalization.

Get inspired by other marketers’ successes

We’re in this journey together, and we’re excited by what we’re learning from partners who are making great strides in building their business based on Marketing with Purpose. For example: Dept, a Netherlands-based digital agency, is empowering employees to contribute to their local communities through volunteer efforts, donations, and pro-bono projects. They’ve tied their success as an agency with how much they give back, meaning that their achievements are shared with their customers and their community. For Dept, doing philanthropic work not only helps the communities they live and work in, but also improves morale and builds a positive work culture. Dept was selected as one of the winners of the Microsoft Advertising Powerful Moments contest for the work being done for their clients and communities. Get the full story 

We’ll celebrate more of our amazing partners and their stories as we work together towards Marketing with Purpose.  

Join us in Marketing with Purpose 

Truly advancing trust between brands and people is a collective effort. And we’re dedicated to helping you build better, more sustainable, and more valuable connections with the people who matter to you. In today’s current climate, earning and maintaining the trust of people has never been more paramount to building a stronger and healthier business for the future. Marketers that build trust during this time of disruption will foster customer loyalty and will have strengthened the foundation for sustained business success as life subsides into something more familiar.
In every economic or business climate, we believe that a world where the relationship between people and brands is defined by trust is a better world for us all. That’s the opportunity of Marketing with Purpose.  

Learn more

Explore videos, guidance and stories on how to start Marketing with Purpose.

Research sources cited throughout this post: Microsoft Advertising and LRW Research: “Uncovering the Trust Drivers,” 2019 (US); and Microsoft Advertising: “The Psychology of Inclusion and the Effects in Advertising,” 2019-2020 (US).