Purpose-Driven Marketing

By on Oct 29, 2018 in Marketing

Does your company have a purpose? It might seem like a trick question, but it’s not. The concept of purpose has seeped into brand-building conversations thanks in large part to Jonathan Mildenhall, one of the world’s most influential CMOs, who claims his success at super brands like Coca-Cola and Airbnb are a result of the power of purpose. In this post, we’ll examine what purpose-driven marketing is and how it can help differentiate and propel your senior living brand.

What is purpose-driven marketing—and how does it relate to senior living?

Purpose-driven marketing is, as Mildenhall describes it, “a compelling brand purpose that transcends the business model and reaches into culture.” It’s looking beyond day-to-day transactions and committing your business, publicly, to a broader social mission. In the senior living industry, most companies are not operating on a global scale. They’re serving communities, and they thrive only when they create bonds with residents and locals. For this reason, operating with purpose is a competitive necessity.

Purpose drives performance

The concept of creating a purpose for your business can seem like marketing fluff, but purpose-driven companies outperform competitors financially, creating much more shareholder value. They also attract and retain top talent more effectively, a struggle for many senior living operators. Building a philosophy—one employees can articulate in just a couple of sentences—is even more important in today’s climate, where Millennials, who value socially-responsible brands, comprise the largest segment of America’s workforce.

Let creativity and humanity be your guide

In order to effectively bring about change and find your company’s purpose, look at things creatively. “Bring your eight-year-old self to work,” says Mildenhall. “Geek out like it’s your first time playing Legos.” Seeing things as a child would breeds curiosity. It allows you to view things with fresh eyes, while your reasoned and seasoned adult self can bring things back to size. Mildenhall stresses that creativity is not the responsibility of a few people in the organization. “It’s the responsibility of everyone, regardless of their discipline.”

The other tenet of purpose-driven marketing is humanity. Consistently questioning whether or not you’ve been the best human you can be serves as a gut check to ensure you’re delivering on your brand’s commitment to contribute to the greater good of society. Companies must believe in their purpose enough to slow down growth to make sure their purpose is being honored.

Creating purpose in your senior living community

How can you apply these principles in senior living? In an industry built on trust, finding a purpose that genuinely connects your business to the community it serves can have a profound impact. The number one way to create change is to increase visibility.

Create opportunities for staff to get involved with philanthropic efforts to shed light on what caregivers do and the wonderful culture of caring and giving back that you’ve created. Volunteering or partnering with charitable organizations not only elevates your brand in the eyes of the community, it gives your team the chance to find common passions that inform the brand’s larger purpose, and involving residents also gives purpose to their lives.

Reaping the rewards

A defined purpose creates value for the company in many ways. Beyond driving performance and attracting talent, purpose-driven marketing serves to motivate the workforce and define the company’s direction. It’s as much about creating culture as it is branding. By committing to something larger than the goods and services your company provides, your purpose acts as a north star that offers clarity throughout the organization, helps orient staff in each decision they make, and creates a stronger, more esteemed brand.