How companies with multi-purpose brands can scale up to corporate purpose statements, strategies and platforms

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One of the biggest challenges for companies like Unilever, PepsiCo, Mattel, Mondelez and many others with a portfolio of diverse brands is figuring out how to align them around a centralized corporate purpose – and then manifest them from way to achieve ESG objectives. and commitments. Each brand has a different consumer base and a different brand purpose based on its life stage, business opportunity, and growth potential. But there are great benefits to having the entire portfolio aligned around a common goal in a measurable and impactful way.

Here are five principles of good practice in this area, drawn from the experience of our consultancy Conspiracy of Love.

CREATE AN ARMADA OF GOAL

The benefits of having individual brand goals aligned around a common business goal are manifold. Think of individual brands as an Armada, a fleet of ships, each individual and unique but heading in the same direction. There is a common direction and purpose that flows from the corporate purpose, but each vessel is treated as an individual entity.

Mattel is a great example of a company where a corporate purpose statement intersects with individual brand purpose statements in a powerful and synergistic way. Mattel’s statement of purpose (why they exist) is “We empower the next generation to explore the wonders of childhood and reach their full potential”. Their mission (their “how”, what they are dedicated to doing every day to bring the goal to life) is to “create innovative products and experiences that inspire, entertain and develop children through play”.

Their brand portfolio then finds its own way to achieve this overarching goal. The goal of the Barbie brand is “to inspire the limitless potential in every girl”. By focusing on “every” part of that statement and creating a range of dolls that are staggering in its diversity and inclusiveness, the brand has once again become a billion dollar brand after years of stagnation.

Fisher Price’s goal is: “We believe in the potential of children and in the importance of a supportive environment in which they can grow, learn, and get the best possible start in life. Quite worthy of a brand synonymous with early childhood development. And Hot Wheels wants to convey that life is full of challenges that build resilience and “champion the challenger spirit in every child.” As such, it has designed to show how children can best learn the educational concepts of physics and math through a hands-on app using Hot Wheels cars and track sets. All of these brands now operate in a way that reinforces and enhances the purpose of the business, but in a way that is uniquely their own.

DESIGN FOR COLLABORATION, NOT COMPETITION

Taking this holistic approach to a portfolio of purpose-driven brands also ensures that there is clear white space differentiation between them, not competition or conflict around the same social impact territory. Just as two brands in a portfolio wouldn’t use the same celebrity spokesperson, brands shouldn’t be tackling the exact same cause and nonprofit partner. However, there may be ways to design goal strategies to create powerful synergies within a portfolio.

For example, in our work with Mondelēz, we worked with the Ritz brand to strategically focus them on the issue of childhood hunger in the classroom, partnering with Feeding America for a $1 million donation. For its sister brand Triscuit, we developed an approach focused on the issue of food deserts (places without access to nutritious food) and funding social entrepreneurs solving the problem in cities across America through The Missing Ingredients Project , another $1 million commitment.

As food brands for a large multinational CPG, each found a way to play in a naturally intuitive space around food security and access to nutrition, but in completely different ways. And they all live up to Mondelēz International’s broader commitment to help provide more than one billion servings of fresh food to fight hunger and obesity in America.

FOCUS ON COMMITMENTS AND NOT ON CAMPAIGNS

This brings up another important principle – how companies can move beyond campaigns into engagements. It allows brands to come together to act cumulatively against larger company commitments around ESG themes, with each brand taking responsibility for their own energy, waste, etc. goals, but all being tracked in a way that can have a meaningful impact. at the enterprise level.

For example, Procter and Gamble’s 2030 brand is the framework the company uses to ensure its leading brands enable responsible consumption and have a positive impact on the world. Focusing on issues of environmental sustainability (which also extend to the company’s Ambition 2030 commitments), community impact, equality and inclusion, and corporate ethics and responsibility, different brands like Always, Pampers, Charmin and others help achieve these common goals across the board. from packaging and waste to the fight against gender stereotypes. This is how the company achieves its goal of being “a force for good and a force for growth”.

(For more on this, click here for my interview with Virginie Helias, P&G’s Chief Sustainability Officer.)​​

BE TRANSPARENT AND ACCOUNTABLE

Another of our clients, PepsiCo, owns the PepsiCo Positive platform, which focuses on the two macro areas of planet and people. It covers everything from where their ingredients come from, to how their healthier, more nutritious products are made (all further backed by transparent commitments). The company has announced transformational goals: from scaling regenerative agriculture to 7 million acres (which has hugely positive implications for tackling the climate crisis) to aiming to increase access nutritious food for 50 million people by 2030.

All of these commitments are posted on their website and championed by their CEO in a way that keeps the focus on them both internally and externally.

REPORT REGULARLY ON PROGRESS

Finally, it is important not only to have goals, but also to report on them regularly. Particular praise must be given to Dole Packaged Foods, whose goal is ‘To make the world a healthier place ‘by’educate, inspire and empower consumers to make healthier lifestyle choices and find pleasure in fresh fruits and vegetables.

Their corporate engagement model is the Dole Promise platform which I had the pleasure of covering in this column previously in 2020. They followed it up with the first Sunshine for All progress report a year later. , revealing how well they achieved their goals. Taking a rigorous approach to measuring progress is essential for companies to demonstrate to all their stakeholders that they are acting with integrity.

As the field of progress matures and progresses, the ability of multinational companies with brand portfolios to unlock the enormous potential of a synergistic goal has powerful advantages not only for profitability – but also for the future of our planet and the benefit of humanity.

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