Published 1 year ago.
About a 6 minute read.
Image: Aleksandar Pasaric
/ This article is sponsored by
British Columbia Lottery Corporation.
For a purpose-driven business, marketing must transform from traditional advertising to building a social-purpose ecosystem, requiring a fundamental
shift in the way marketing is integrated and delivered. In a recent webinar, BCLC, PepsiCo and CLMBR discussed how they are shifting their marketing strategies to accelerate social purpose.
Social purpose is a growing aspect of business with implications far beyond
traditional Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)
Social-purpose companies exist to create a better world through their core
business functions, enabling an organization to create a competitive advantage
and discover nascent opportunities for maximizing sustainable growth and profit.
For a purpose-driven business, marketing must transform from traditional
advertising to building a social-purpose ecosystem, requiring a fundamental
shift in the way marketing is integrated and delivered.
On September 15, a Sustainable Brands
explored how the British Columbia Gambling
PepsiCo and CLMBR are
shifting their marketing strategies to accelerate social purpose.
As a gambling corporation, BCLC is responsible for administrating lottery,
casinos and online gaming in the Province of British Columbia. Starting in
2020, BCLC began asking how a gambling organization could embed social purpose.
After a long journey of engaging various stakeholders, BCLC adopted “Generating
win-wins for the greater
as its social purpose — a theme it has embedded into every aspect of its
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“Consumers want companies to play a role in making a better world; and business
leaders are adjusting to these new expectations in part by publicly stating
company values, and demonstrating that those values are integral to their
processes and decisions,” said Peter ter Weeme, BCLC’s Chief Social Purpose
Officer & VP of Player Experience.
purpose-driven marketing, creating value and new opportunities for growth. ter
Weeme recognizes the importance of marketing, communication and stakeholder
engagement as BCLC moves to the next stage of its social-purpose journey, and
how its evolving purpose will in part be shaped by marketing and engaging
“It’s marketing’s job to influence the behavior, not the values, that people
have,” ter Weeme asserted.
In a polarized society, this way of thinking about marketing is essential to
connect seemingly disparate values to the same outcome. For instance, one
household may embrace solar energy for energy independence, another for
“Very different value sets, but the behavior is the same at the end of the day,”
ter Weeme said. “Once you start to focus on people’s individual values, they
become territorial and shut down to your message.”
Traditional KPIs can be deployed to measure the success of social-purpose
marketing; but it’s also important to understand how the organization is driving
change. This more qualifiable measurement of success means working with
stakeholders to determine what indicators are relevant in determining if the
organization’s social purpose is making a difference, and how that in turn
influences future marketing.
A study conducted in collaboration with BCLC and
Forrester identifies key themes of how a
social purpose company’s marketing is different from traditional marketing. Key
Executives must lead and not pull company-wide efforts at building social
The need to systematically embed ethics into the marketing process
The importance of listening and responding to the dialogue that marketing is
The report found that social-purpose marketing is a long-term journey that
requires a consistent strategy and clear implementation framework. Companies
must ensure executives lead and uphold the effort over the long term. Many
companies have the C-suite buy-in needed for social purpose; but intent alone
won’t move the needle.
“Sometimes, you have this intention — thinking it’s inherent in your product —
and assume that DNA will carry social purpose throughout the value chain,
maintenance-free,” said Bridget Russo, Chief Marketing Officer at CLMBR,
maker of the hugely popular fitness machine of
the same name. “But people define values differently, often resulting in
marketing swaying way off the mark.”
Keeping focus is key; and bringing in third-party analysis is extremely helpful
in building out a guiding social-purpose framework, Russo added.
“Even though your product may have inherently been intended to do good, if you
don’t have systems and frameworks in place for how you make decisions on a daily
basis, you may find that things fall apart from there,” she said.
For PepsiCo, keeping on track requires a clear understanding of the mission and
how each team member’s role plays out in the nuts and bolts of making social
purpose a reality. Alignment starts with the CEO and goes all the way down to
“There's an intent to make everybody feel they have a role to play,” said
Maddy Kulkarni, Global Marketing Director of Sustainability and Social
Impact at PepsiCo.
Universal engagement with both internal and external stakeholders is key to
getting a bead on the organization’s social-purpose progress. Identifying the
“why” behind stakeholder values and organizational action is the starting line
before diving into a new initiative; and staying aligned on social purpose often
means focusing on bite-sized chunks of truly actionable items over taking on the
“If you have a laundry list of initiatives, you might find yourself stuck,”
Russo said. “Pick three things that you want to go after and dig in deep for how
you can have a really big impact.”
Russo also cautioned organizations against jumping on a bandwagon just because
it’s a “thing.”
“You really have to think about what it is that you stand for,” she said. “Is
the thing that’s happening in the world really the thing that you want to be
tagging on to, and do you have the credibility to do
This doesn’t mean flying through life with blinders on, but steering clear of
performative actions or
— an all-too-easy temptation in marketing and on social media.
The goal of purpose-driven marketing is to inspire stakeholders to deeper,
tangible engagement with the organization’s stated social purpose. At PepsiCo,
this means looking at what consumers want, what the world needs, how the brand
can fulfill both, and how to tell stories that spur authentic change.
The panel agreed content must be rich and thoughtful, often layered in a slow,
deliberate way. The best storytelling sparks an emotional connection leading to
“You have to think inspirationally and emotionally, telling a story that is
positive and one that people can feel connected to,” Russo said.
Deep listening is a daunting but essential task in a large organization with
many stakeholders, especially as an organization scales. It’s also important to
listen outside your supposed target
Kulkarni said, and to refrain from summarizing or paraphrasing feedback —
instead, presenting it word-for-word so as to stay true to stakeholder
Deep listening through direct conversations and surveys gauges stakeholder
temperature. Effectively listening to stakeholders enables the flexibility an
organization needs to weather shifts in technology, policy, markets and consumer
values. With deep listening in place, getting marketing and company values on
the same wavelength is the next step, Kulkarni added. With mission and values
clearly stated, they must be consistently shared across all marketing channels.
It’s not about going viral, Russo explained. Real change takes a long time to
evolve and grow, and will only come to fruition with commitment to the purpose
that you set from the beginning.
“You create a movement through consistency,” she said.
Published Oct 25, 2022 2pm EDT / 11am PDT / 7pm BST / 8pm CEST
Christian is a writer, photographer, filmmaker, and outdoor junkie obsessed with the intersectionality between people and planet. He partners with brands and organizations with social and environmental impact at their core, assisting them in telling stories that change the world.
This article, produced in cooperation with the Sustainable Brands editorial team, has been paid for by one of our sponsors.