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New Conceptions of Purpose

New Conceptions of Purpose

The BrandZ™ Brand Purpose Index measures perceptions that a brand “helps make people’s lives better.” This is distinct from brands’ performance on the BrandZ™ Corporate Responsibility Index, which is determined by perceptions of brands’ combined social, ethical, and environmental responsibility measures.

Both attributes are important in India’s competitive brand landscape (and its political landscape as well; for the past few years, the government has mandated that companies set aside a certain percentage of their profits for CSR initiatives).  

We wondered how Brand Purpose and Corporate Responsibility might intersect in the BrandZ™ India Top 75 data – and were especially interested in whether their confluence might affect or predict brand value.

This comparison led us to create four categories for brands, which corresponded to the four quadrants that emerge when plotting Brand Purpose against Corporate Responsibility:

  • Low-Scoring, for brands with low scores on both the Brand Purpose and Corporate Responsibility Index.
  • Good Corporate Citizens, for brands with high Corporate Responsibility Index scores but low Brand Purpose. Without strong purpose, brands are merely good corporate citizens.
  • Little Helpers, for brands with high Brand Purpose but lower scores on the Corporate Responsibility Index. Newer brands, or those with less public-facing CSR platforms / programs, can still be “little helpers” in making individuals’ lives easier or better in some way.
  • Big Ideals, for brands that score well on both the Brand Purpose and Corporate Responsibility Indexes.

The results showed that Big Ideals brands have the highest average value, at almost $4 billion. They also have the highest Meaningful Difference scores, at 154 (with 100 being the worldwide average). Given this, they have the strongest chance of future growth.

Little Helpers brands are also valuable, and have above-average Meaningful Difference scores. They showed the strongest year-on-year growth between 2018 and 2019.

Low Scoring brands are less valuable, show little growth, and only possess average Meaningful Difference. With this weaker brand equity, they have less chance of future growth. (There were too few Good Corporate Citizens to fully analyze that category’s performance).

The conclusion? Strong brand purpose can take the form of larger-scale corporate responsibility initiatives that aim to improve society, or simply a focus on making people’s lives better day to day. But ideally, a strong brand purpose should encompass both.