The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Why Purpose Marketing And Planners Need To Be Stopped …



Both have had a lot of debate about them in the past few years and both have their cheerleaders and detractors.

The reality is they both have incredible value but – and it’s a big but – only when used responsibly.

Of course, what ‘responsibly’ is, is often in the eye of the brand owner and that’s where the problems starts … because too often, the focus is appealing to the ego of the company directors rather than the pulse of culture which is why we’re seeing more and more ‘purpose work’ that communicates in the corporate monotone of egotistical, bland, business-speak.

The client doesn’t think that of course, they think they’re doing an amazing thing and that people will really believe Hard Rock Cafe’s want to stop hunger or a plastic lighter company in HK wants to save the rainforest [which is true, but I can’t find the post about it, mainly because it was back in 2010] or – hold on to your hats – this …


Yes, that really is an umbrella company claiming their purpose is to offer lifestyle solution and protection for the public.

Are they insane?

Even if that was true – which if it is, means they’re bonkers – then the way they’ve written it means the umbrellas are to save you from marketing bullshit raining down on your head.

Purpose has a really important role for brands … but you don’t just ‘make it up’.

I am utterly in shock how many companies sell ‘purpose’ to brands and yet never investigate the soul of the brand.

Go into the vaults.

Look inside every single box.

Discover what made them make their decisions.

Understand the values they lived by and fought for.

Talk to the people who have worked there or shopped there since the earliest of days.

Basically discover their authenticity rather than what they wish their authenticity was.

And yet a lot of companies are paying a lot of other companies to literally make up a bullshit story about them.

Something they think makes them sound good.

Something they think will make people want to choose them.

And while we are definitely seeing more and more people choosing to associate with brands that live by a set of values and beliefs, the thing the brands who ‘invent a purpose’ fail to understand is that this audience seeks truth, not bullshit and so what they’re doing with their make-believe is actually achieve the absolute opposite of what they were trying to do.

Purpose matters.

Planning matters.

But the moment you let ego drive your ambitions rather than your authenticity, you end up being a brand that is flying extremely high on the Planning Purpose Twatosphere.

Remember brands, by being yourself you will be different.

Stop inventing bullshit and start acting your truth in interesting ways.

20 Comments so far
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This is brilliant. I don’t know if I like the Umbrella shop photo or the purpose graph more but I’ll be passing both around the department tomorrow morning.

Comment by George

And yes to all you said about purpose.

Comment by George

When purpose has no purpose.

Comment by Pete

Yep …

Purpose for ego, not purpose for a purpose.

Comment by Rob

Purpose is the best thing that has happened to adland in 20 years. They have made more money from clients wanting to find and then communicate their purpose since they exploited the .com boom. Funny how most of them don’t have a purpose beyond making money from producing bland and contrived ads.

I’m all for purpose, I just don’t understand why it has to be “created” when it should be one of the reasons you went into business in the first place. It was cynics purpose that made me apply to join. Purpose can bite you in the ass.

Comment by Bazza

I think it all worked out well for you.

Comment by George

Yeah Baz, you have had it soooooo hard.

Comment by Rob

You don’t see the scars on the inside.

Comment by Bazza

fuck you midget millionaire. we made you.

Comment by andy@cynic

Sorry Baz, but Andy just made me spit my coffee out laughing with that insult. It’s like old times. Very old times.

Comment by DH


Comment by Bazza

This seems the right place to ask whether the other key stakeholders have to buy their umbrellas or do they get freebies?

Comment by John

you assume the stakeholders are all big fucking blaggers like campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

fucking planners.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by Rory

enough of the fuckers.

Comment by andy@cynic

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