From ‘Brands To Stands’: The Power of Purpose-Driven Corporate Communication

It was a thought-provoking keynote address titled “Effective Corporate Communication & its Impact on Society,” that involved Subramanyeswar S,  Group CEO, MullenLowe Lintas Group and Chief Strategy Officer – Asia Pacific & Head of Global Planning Council of MullenLowe Global. Interestingly, he delved into the transformative potential of brands when they evolve from mere commercial entities to purpose-driven advocates for positive change.

Reimagining Brands: Going Beyond Just a Commercial Endeavor

It was delving deep into his book – Brands To Stands. Subramanyeswar S, in his address, encouraged a fresh perspective on brands, urging us to consider not just what brands are but what they can and should be. He posed a fundamental question: “What is a brand for?” While the textbook answer is to create value in the minds of consumers beyond generic products or services, he challenged us to look deeper.

Create a Brand’s Differentiation

He highlighted a common challenge in the branding landscape: brands often converge in their pursuit of consumer understanding, innovation, segmentation, and various marketing strategies. They employ brilliant consultancies to craft creative communication ideas and media strategies. Yet, despite these efforts, consumers often find it challenging to distinguish one brand from another.

Brand Purpose: The Essence

Subramanyeswar S pinpointed a critical element within a brand’s DNA that can truly set it apart: purpose. He emphasised that this purpose goes beyond marketing jargon; it represents the reason for a brand’s existence. Drawing inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi’s belief in ‘Swaraj,’ he illustrated how a brand’s purpose can galvanise nations and inspire positive change.

Brands: Catalysts for Change

In Subramanyeswar S’s view, brands have a higher calling. They exist not merely to drive profits but to make a meaningful difference in the world. Purpose-led brands, as he noted, stand up, stand out, and stand firm. He cited Satya Nadella’s words, “Purpose is point. Profit is a result,” underscoring the idea that a brand’s authentic purpose should be at its core.

Driving Tangibility & Authenticity

The focus was on the marriage of Brand and Purpose in the Fireside Chat. It involved Gayathri Sharma, Rolls Royce and both Subramanyeswar S and Ritu Jhingon, Group Director – Communications, Vedanta as the intersection of brand and purpose was explored. When the question of brand ethics emerged, Ritu Jhingon’s response was clear: finding brand ethics begins with discovering your brand’s authentic purpose. Authenticity, as Subramanyeswar S concurred, is the backbone of purpose.

As the discussion progressed, the importance of connecting with the audience became evident. Finding purpose provides tangibility and tangible outcomes. Brands must evolve into expansive ecosystems and identify potential collaborators to translate purpose into ‘real’ actions. Subramanyeswar S emphasised that it’s not just about words but about authentic actions that resonate with the audience.

In conclusion, Subramanyeswar S’s keynote address highlighted the transformative power of purpose-driven corporate communication. Brands that embrace a meaningful purpose stand poised confidently, not only to change perceptions, but also to change the world, one authentic action at a time.

Gayathri enquired – “Marrying a brand and purpose is fantastic, but how do you find brand ethics?” And pat came the answer from Ritu Jhingon – “You have to find your purpose first and build the brand”. Purpose to Subramanyeswar meant that “it has to be authentic”.

How do you manage that connect with the audience? If you find a purpose, you find tangibility and outcome, stated Ritu. Brands have to become a large eco-system and you have to see who are the people you can collaborate with? “To me it’s all about ‘real’ actions”, declared Subramanyeswar.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

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Shree Lahiri
Shree is the Senior Editor at Reputation Today and hopes to move from one focus area to another in the editions that will be released this year. Having worked in Corporate Communications teams, she has experience of advertising, public relations, investor and employee communications, after which she moved to the other side – journalism. She enjoys writing and believes the power of the pen is indeed mighty. Covering the entertainment beat and the media business, she has been involved in a wide range of activities that have thrown open storytelling opportunities.

She can be reached at: @shree_la on twitter

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