The Fifth P

“We don’t want to brag,” said the brand that strives to make their community better behind the scenes. “Our foundation donates millions of dollars, our employees donate their time, we have a neutral carbon footprint, but we don’t want to appear that we’re only doing those things to sell more product.”

We get it. Anonymous charitable acts are great for the private individual. The person who doesn’t want social credit for the $100 they donate to charity every month. But leaders, those in the public eye, must make their deeds known to create a path that others will follow. 

Bill Gates. Warren Buffet. Elon Musk. Sir Richard Branson.

And the same can now be said for brands.

Patagonia. Nike. Toms. Ben & Jerry’s.

Why? The vast majority of Americans believe it’s no longer acceptable for companies to just make money. And that’s important because if consumers and brands could find a way to be a little more responsible, more sustainable, more equitable, this thing we call capitalism just might work.

We have to face the facts: brands with a high sense of purpose grow faster than those with a low sense of purpose. It’s time for that purpose to find a place in a brand’s narrative somewhere other than at the bottom of the ‘about us’ page.

“But the 4 P’s!” you say. We hear you. And however dated the model, it will always have relevance. For those of you not in the know about mid-90s business models, the 4 P’s are: 

Product.

Price.

Place.

Promotion.

Many a marketer can spout off that list on cue. Some have tried to add to it with little success. But none have stuck.

We contend that the 5th P is now Purpose. And the 5th P is here to stay. It doesn’t need to take the lion’s share of the marketing mix. But it needs to be considered. Because purpose and profit are no longer mutually exclusive.

It’s time for a humble brag. For purpose-led brands to lead the way into a new era of conscientious capitalism. And we’re using our expertise to make sure that purpose-driven brands win the day.

12018 Cone/Porter Novelli Purpose Study

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