Brand Purpose: Continuing Theme at ANA Masters of Marketing

Each year, one of the highlights on the marketing world calendar is the annual “Masters of Marketing” event put on by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) in Orlando.

Not only does the three-day event feature a Who’s Who of CMO’s but also provides strategic insights of what fellow marketers are thinking about to shift consumer behaviors, generate new product awareness and most importantly produce business results.

Like so many conferences in 2020, last week’s ANA Masters of Marketing event took place virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As I sat at my computer, one of the most interesting meeting themes had to do with brand purpose. Of course this isn’t really new but the amount of time multiple brand leaders spent talking about it and how to attract new and prospective customers beyond their pocketbooks was striking.

Karen Walker, Intel’s CMO said, “Post-quarantine, the brands that are taking action and have a more human-centric approach, are the ones that will drive meaningful change.”

While this meeting has always been primarily about advertising, I couldn’t stop thinking about the importance marketers should be thinking of brand purpose from a communications and public relations perspective in the post-pandemic era. When things settle down, consumers will go back to spending money on brands they trust and love. They also will remember brands and companies that built positive community spirit during the pandemic. But marketers must be careful. Brands must be transparent with their communications to come across as purposeful. Transparency places your humanity at the heart of your brand. Messaging has to come across as meaningful, trustworthy and genuine.

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