Doing good to connect better


and why hand hygiene is better branding than saving the planet

by Samirkumar

Branding with a purpose is almost a buzz word that most marketers and businesses are waking up to, but very often it’s thought to be occupying just a hallowed and lofty space. The purpose often seems like a big statement like saving the planet. In fact, a purpose idea works only when it can connect with the audience and make real, tangible impact in the society and the culture that a brand operates in. Consider Lifebuoy. HUL conducted the biggest home and personal care clinical trial with more than 2,000 families in Mumbai. Half were given Lifebuoy and education about the importance of hand washing five times a day. Compared to the control group, the target group had 25 per cent less cases of diarrhoea; 19 per cent fewer respiratory infections; and 40 per cent fewer days off school. In this light, Lifebuoy has been able to connect to its audience with a brand purpose. A higher order purpose needs to be demonstrated through actions that people and the society can relate to. And this is significantly important for brands and marketers in India. In the Edelman research, China, India and Brazil all scored significantly higher than the global average when consumers were asked if they would pay a premium for a product that supports good causes, for example.


This is because, for the common people in India, the impact of this message is so much more important. Besides, purpose puts marketing at the heart of the operational business of the company and allows it to build bridges with these departments, ensuring that what’s said in public matches what’s being done in private. At Unilever, CMO Keith Weed is also responsible for leading the company’s sustainability agenda, further evidence that marketers are increasingly reaching beyond their TV, digital and outdoor messages to create meaningful dialogues that reflect every aspect of their company.


Why we make good products and idea of business

For long, businesses held the notion that the eventual goal is about making more profit. This appeared to be the sole purpose behind bettering products and connecting with the audience. The problem with this approach is that it limits innovation. Think, for example, Surf Excel Quickwash. It’s an innovation that helps people save water while rinsing their laundry. Now that kind of innovation comes with a purpose beyond profits. It suddenly opens up the entire organisation to think and innovate in a completely new manner. Across South East Asia, Unilever has launched Comfort One Rinse fabric conditioner which needs only one bucket of water for rinsing instead of three. This saves 30 litres of water per wash for the average household. “If we could convert all our laundry product users in Asia and South Africa to Comfort One Rinse, we would save more than 500 billion litres of water a year,” The Chairman of Hindustan Unilever, Harish Manwani says. In India, rinsing accounts for more than 70 per cent water consumption in the washing process. Surf Excel, HUL says, is a product that resolves this problem as the formulation produces less lather and hence requires less water while rinsing. Therefore, if a brand thinks with a purpose, it innovates and differentiates at a far more fundamental level. By leveraging the power of purpose Brand’s can build differentiation by focusing on how the brand makes people’s lives better, or how it makes the world a better place.