OPINION

Why a purpose-first approach sets brands apart

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Purpose-led brands succeed for their clarity of mission. But “purpose” covers a broad spectrum; unlock yours and life becomes a lot more rewarding…

“We’re trying to knock Haribo off their perch,” Jamie Laing, co-founder of vegan sweet brand Candy Kittens, told the audience at last month’s Blue Earth Summit in Bristol. “Initially, we thought we just needed better packaging. Then we realised there was meat in Haribo.”

Enter purpose-led businesses – and the theme of the Bristol event, buzzing with brands united by crystal-clear visions, underpinned by a climate focus. But purpose isn’t confined to environmental credentials. In a world of overproduction and overconsumption, our values are shifting; people are increasingly making consumer choices based on principles, not products. Unlock your purpose beyond profit, and life becomes seriously rewarding.

Social Impact Coffee- Cans - Brand Purpose Mission - Design brand strategy agency

PEOPLE DRINK A LOT OF COFFEE

Social Impact Coffee is more than beans from regenerative farms, more than zero waste cafés, more than Fairtrade prices. It’s a brand that champions accountability by seeing people as profit, not cost. As a community-interest company (CIC), Social Impact Coffee reinvests 65% of profits back into local community causes, with a transparent business model.

“Progressive businesses realise that success isn’t just return on investment; they’re tapped into a real human value shift where people seek purpose,” says founder Adrian Evans. “If every bean sold has a positive impact, the more we can scale, the better for everyone. When Without suggested we see jobs not just as an expense, but as profit, it really turned on a light.”

Social Impact Coffee launched in April of this year. Since then – in just seven months – the brand has scored a full-page feature in Raconteur’s ‘Responsible Business’ section, as well as a mammoth partnership with a Silicon Valley tech giant (more on that coming soon!).

INVESTING IN EDUCATION

Despite efforts from chefs like Jamie Oliver and Henry Dimbleby’s School Food Plan, school caterers continue to face exceptionally difficult challenges when it comes to feeding secondary school pupils, with serious consequences: unappealing food impacts academic performance, physical development and mental health, and increases food waste.

Determined to change that, our new client Alliance in Partnership challenged us to reinvent school food and reestablish dining rooms as the focal point of school communities. The Kitcheneers is a category-defying approach to school food that started, not with governors and suppliers, but with today’s students. This has seen an average revenue growth of 10.8%, with one school seeing growth of 21.3%.

Brand proposition agency - Harrow & Hope

PRODUCTS WITH PRINCIPLES

Product-led brands are often the ones that struggle to make decisions based on underlying principles. But that’s not because they’re lacking a mission; their purpose needs to be unearthed.

Candy Kittens’ initial approach to branding is not uncommon. We still remember the response from one of our clients, Kaye Laithwaite, co-founder of British sparkling wine Harrow & Hope: “We thought we just needed labels. I didn’t realise we were getting a brand.”

Instead of trying to emulate the glamour of French fizz, Without recommended focusing on something the big champagne houses couldn’t: a celebration of modesty over bombast. The mess, the mud and the staggering risk of making top-quality wine in the UK using traditional viticulture and winemaking, to the unique characteristics of Marlow and spirit of adventure. Harrow & Hope have achieved global recognition, with 21 industry awards to date.

When we first began working with Savoir, it was our visit to their workshop that changed everything. In a world stressed out by speed and waste, here was a place of focus and calm, where skilled artisans using traditional techniques and natural materials take 120 hours to make a bespoke bed that lasts a lifetime. Savoir makes fewer than 1,000 luxury beds a year because they’re focused on making the best, not the most. So as life speeds up, Savoir slows down.

Purpose acts as North Star when brands expand into different markets, diversify into new product categories or reach new audiences. Without it, many businesses make decisions by blindly following trends. A tiny organic skincare range, within a big non-organic beauty brand (because you should do some organic stuff). Carbon-neutral coffee served in carbon-heavy cafés.

Candy Kittens, Social Impact CoffeeThe KitcheneersHarrow & HopeSavoir. They’re success stories because they’re leaders, not followers. Because they’re on a mission to shape a better future.

Without create brands that make a difference. If you’d like to discuss a project or better connect with today’s consumers, get in touch on 02070999080 or [email protected]

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