Brand purpose has plenty of detractors inside the ad industry. For example, Simon White, chief strategy officer at FCB West argues: “When brands advertise their favorite social cause, instead of meeting consumers’ goals, the advertising becomes irrelevant, ineffective and annoying.”
White adds, “When it comes to advertising, don’t start with your why, start with theirs.”
It’s practical advice and it sounds good on the surface, but dreamers and iconoclasts reject it. Patagonia didn’t move to organic cotton because of a customer request or revolt. The bold move—which led to higher retail prices and a total disruption of the company’s supply chain—was made by the company’s enlighted leaders.
It can be hard to factor on a spreadsheet, but doing the right thing often pays huge dividends. When doing the right thing happens to match the ethos embodied by the customer base, all the better.
Nature Needs Heroes
Timberland, with headquarters in Stratham, New Hampshire is committing to help plant 50 million trees around the world by 2025.
Wht plant trees? Trees help to clean air by removing carbon and releasing oxygen into the air; cool the air through evaporation; prevent erosion and save water, and more. Over the next five years, Timberland will support multiple re-forestation initiatives around the world in support of a greener future.
According to Timberland’s senior marketing director for EMEA, Giorgio D’Aprile, this project is about more than just planting trees.
Speaking to Marketing Week, D’Aprile says Timberland is using the launch of its tree planting project and accompanying campaign, ‘Nature Needs Heroes’, as an opportunity to talk about its long-term sustainability strategy which he hopes will help strengthen brand perceptions among consumers.
“Commitment number one is to have better products, and commitment number two is to have a stronger community. Since the beginning we have tried to find sustainable materials and sustainable ways of making the products.”
Timberland will partner with a range of organizations that support the environment through large-scale regreening and tree planting efforts. These organizations include the Smallholder Farmers Alliance, GreenNetwork, TREE AID, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, Connect4Climate – World Bank Group, Justdiggit, Las Lagunas Ecological Park, Trees for the Future, American Forests and Treedom.
Reforestation projects in year one will be located in Haiti, China, the Dominican Republic, the United States, Tanzania and Mali – including support of the Great Green Wall, an African-led movement to grow an 8,000km line of trees across the entire width of Africa to fight climate change, drought, famine, conflict, and migration.