Kansas City, MO-based ad agency Barkley has issued a new “purpose” report and companion guide designed to help brands identify issues that can impact their business and further develop their sustainability strategies.
Agency research conducted for the report found that despite tighter corporate purse strings tied to worries about a possible recession, purpose still matters to consumers.
94% of respondents to a survey the report is based on said that supporting brands that care about environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues is as important as it was 12 months ago, despite inflation.
And 71% said it’s difficult to know if a brand is acting ethically and 62% said they look for proof of ethical behavior on the part of brands.
The agency also surveyed employees for the report and found that 78% say it’s crucial for the values of the organization to align with their personal values. And 50% indicated that working for a values-driven company brings out their best work.
“After the events of the past several years, consumers want to live more sustainably and they expect brands to make this easier for them,” said Lindsey DeWitte, President of PR/EVP Purpose + Sustainability at Barkley.
The guide offers a purpose-led sustainability strategy that addresses the environment, and social and governance issues that could impact an organization.
Steps in developing a strategy include:
1. Identify your most important topics: Define relevant issues for your organization and industry by reviewing Environment, Social, Governance (ESG) Frameworks and Benchmarking indices.
2. Listen inside and outside your organization: Survey both internal and external stakeholders to assess their opinions on issues that impact your business. Think clients or customers, investors and shareholders, suppliers, government agencies and the wider community.
3. Prioritize what matters: Plot external and internal views to define priorities, and cross-tabulate the results of both surveys in a matrix to create a priority list of issues to focus on.
4. Build a strategy worth sharing: Define goals and objectives against priority issues and your brand’s purpose.
The report also shares case studies from Barkley clients including Fruit of the Loom and Planet Fitness, as well as brands like IKEA and Smashbox to help show these steps might be activated.
More on the report can be found here.