The role of brand management has evolved over the past 20 years. What we see a lot of these days is an all-too narrow focus on digital and the flashy terminology that goes with it, to a point where it’s the only thing a company is defined by. 


Maybe we’re obsessed with technology, data and constant optimizations because we’re trying to fill a void but don’t know how to. 


We’ve gone from being brand stewards, playing the long game of building intangible equity, to myopic brand engineers of the   so-called “performance” side of business. We’re peddling numbers, not big ideas. 


Has the foundation for the questions we must pose really changed? Are the soft managerial qualities less important today? No. The how has changed, not the what. 

Marketing is still about creating deep, meaningful connections with customers, and owning that relationship. 


A recent Oxford University study noted a five-fold increase in the public conversation about Purpose between 1995 and 2016. In the U.S., “Brand Purpose” was the Marketing Word of the Year 2018. It’s an increasingly popular topic in the trades; there’s tons of business books, seminars, and a plethora of podcasts.

But, then, why is it that Purpose, despite all the attention of late, has yet to assume greater practical relevance in business? Why do people confuse it with a catchy tagline or a fluffy feel-good concept?          Is it too Gandhi for the bigwigs in the  boardroom?


2020 is about to change that.

The Covid-19 crisis, bringing business as usual to a screeching halt, has dramatically amplified a corporate crisis — a crisis of meaning.


Now more than ever, employees and customers alike are looking to the C-suite for answers and inspiration. Many — on judgment mostly Purpose laggards — are in full panic mode, unable to give guidance. Purpose-led brands, on the other hand, respond with reassuring determination.  


This pause is the perfect opportunity to refocus and reimagine a post-Covid-19 return through the lens of Purpose. An opportunity to create 20/20 clarity amid the 2020 crisis.