Harjot Singh (McCann): “Brands have more power to change the world than governments do.”

What would you say to the many cynics of brand purpose strategies that argue that it is a fad that is falling out of fashion?

If someone is going to default to cynicism as a first response, that’s quite immature. You don’t get to deem the very premise of purpose a failure – after a few mis-steps by brands that you may have otherwise held on a pedestal. We need to understand that brand purpose is complex. Sometimes even the most experienced, intellectually sophisticated, and resourceful companies can get it wrong. We’ve seen that happen to the likes of Unilever and PepsiCo in the recent past. This isn’t an opportunity to jeer and poke fun at them. This just proves that getting it right isn’t as simple as it may appear to the cynic.

In my opinion, when cynics call brand purpose a fad, they’re undermining it, and that proves that they don’t understand it. Fads become obsolete quickly, and I don’t see anything faddish about the practice of brands and companies leading with intention. That’s what brand purpose is and it’s here to stay.

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