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Brand Nirvana: Step One – Human Purpose


The concept of giving a brand a sense of purpose is now commonplace. People are increasingly looking to brands to have a deeper meaning beyond positioning or selling, as confirmed by our research, which found that an average of 73% of people care about the impact of brands above and beyond their products. By blending profits with purpose, it’s possible to give people another reason to buy – aligning to what they believe in or giving something back to society to create goodwill.


However, it’s easy for a brand to have a purpose that is worthy and self-serving – too much about client ego and too much of a leap of credibility for what the brand genuinely is or does.


The new opportunity for brands is to deliver a greater sense of purpose within the heart of the experience itself.


This is the key distinction between brand purpose – which is rapidly becoming a hygiene factor in marketing circles – and human purpose, where the brand seeks to involve, share and encourage people to share in their purpose. A human purpose is about the heightened experience a person can have with the brand, not the heightened experience the brand wishes to play for its own gain.


A distinct human purpose provides a more significant role for a brand to play in people’s lives, where it can solve bigger, more profound problems. It is the foundation upon which every other aspect of the experience is formed and allows the brand to be seen as genuinely helpful and necessary.


While awareness of this important step is increasing, our research found that only 19% of people feel their favourite brands care about them as humans, not simply as customers.


Our research highlighted some strong performers in human purpose – brands that people feel go beyond merely providing a service and give them closer access to something they really believe in.


The Co-operative Group was often referred to, with its community-led status and investment decisions cited as a clear symbol of the brand’s integrity. Importantly, this strength of conviction and purpose has been able to shield the brand when things have gone wrong.


Vox Pop


“Their ethical policy is second to none. They don’t invest any of their money in arms or in anything unethical, and that means a lot to me. I’d rather my money went to something good. I have stuck with the Co-operative Bank despite recent difficulties that they’ve had and I will continue to do so.”


Vox Pop


“I like the idea that it’s a co-operative and the members, including myself, get some sort of slight loyalty bonus. Also, they do give money to the local community and they tend to be in locations where other shops aren’t, so they serve a need for those people who can’t really get to a large supermarket. They’ve got my loyalty.”


We hope you found this blog post helpful. In terms of what’s happening next, we’re busy working on two things: a Karmic Index which will allow us to understand the HX performance of brands in relation to their competitors and their category average; and a series of workshops that can help brands improve their experience around each one of the 8 steps. If either of these two things interest you, or you’d like to chat some more about any aspect of this report, please do get in contact.


Extract taken from Brand Nirvana: Closing the Human Experience Gap. Download your copy


Sid McGrath, CSO, Karmarama


Karmarama is the UK’s most progressive creative agency, part of Accenture Interactive, working across advertising, PR, data-driven communications, mobile platforms and products, digital and innovation. The agency is known for its ability to blend creativity, digital and data, to help brands better engage with consumers. Or as Karmarama calls it – Connected Creativity. It is one of the most effective agencies in the UK and has won the DMA Grand Prix for the last two successive years, in 2017 for its work for the Army. It was again the highest ranked creative agency in the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies to Work For in 2019.