Dominic Mason
Dominic Mason
Managing Director, Southeast Asia
Articles 7 min read
09 May 2023

Purpose Driven Branding

In our interconnected world, people are increasingly aware of global environmental and societal issues. Accessibility of information, driven by technological advancement and the availability of social media platforms, has sparked a shift in public consciousness, shaping preferences and influencing associations.

Keeping all these in mind, businesses and, ultimately, the brands they represent must be sensitive to what their internal (i.e. employees) and external (i.e. consumers, investors, government, etc.) stakeholders value and relate to. That way, they can properly and genuinely address these and remain relevant. Yet, there’s a precarious balance to maintain; a false step can signal performative activism rather than genuine commitment, leading to a loss of trust and relevance.

The question then arises: How can brands genuinely resonate with their stakeholders and be associated with what matters to them?

Changing the World One Consumer at a Time

Brands must be driven by a purpose to effect change and become relevant. Their very existence is tied to a cause. Purpose works from the inside out. It drives change from within and resonates with the consumers. In an era of transparency, a brand’s authenticity can be easily discerned. It is easy for consumers to detect whether or not a brand is true to its promise–to its purpose.

In the Philippines, consumers seek brands that go beyond providing quality products and superior customer service. Filipino consumers patronise brands that push forward a commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Brands become more appealing to consumers when they are associated with addressing societal and environmental issues.

For instance, the recent global health pandemic has roused worries among people connected with health issues and livelihood concerns following the loss of income sources and job opportunities. Brands that authentically address concerns over health and job security have gained relevance as Filipinos see them as brands that share the same sentiments, worries, and values. 

Filipino talents, just like employees in other parts of the world, seek more than just a paycheck. They value businesses that provide career advancement opportunities and growth, competitive compensation and benefits, a positive work environment and culture, promote diversity and inclusion, and dedication to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. 

Beyond compensation, they seek a sense of purpose and fulfilment that comes from genuinely contributing to society. Employees need to have that sense of ownership and purpose in delivering the work they do every day, and it’s the companies’ role to provide a deeper meaning to the work their employees deliver.

Genuine Purpose Drives Positive Transformation

In the long run, employees would want to be associated with brands that share the same purpose and stand for relevant causes. When the purpose of why a brand exists is clear, internal stakeholders also clearly understand what they contribute to it, providing them with a fulfilment that goes beyond receiving basic benefits and fostering a deep commitment to the brand.

Businesses have the opportunity to play a vital role in enriching society and protecting the environment by adopting various corporate social responsibility practices. These businesses can implement sustainable practices such as reducing negative environmental impacts, waste reduction, and efficient energy consumption. In addition, businesses can support community initiatives. 

Philippine businesses, for example, can opt to support and give back to the local community initiatives where they operate in terms of educational sponsorships or donating and volunteering in events that promote health and social welfare without even the need to go global. These actions resonate deeply with the local community, creating a sense of personal connection and shared purpose. 

Efforts to Support Sustainability

Businesses can ensure that they practice sustainable and ethical sourcing in their supply chains and operations by sourcing from suppliers and vendors that meet certain ethical standards, such as those that do not engage in environmentally-damaging practices or those that treat workers fairly with livable wages. Support for environmental conservation can take many forms:

1. Partnering or supporting brands and initiatives that work to protect the environment, 

2. Sponsoring research and development programs for new technologies and strategies that promote environmental sustainability, and

3. Using the business or brand’s influence to push forth environmentally friendly practices.

In the Philippines, Ayala Corporation (AC) is one of the brands that have been at the forefront of promoting societal and environmentally sustainable practices. True to their promise of significantly contributing to nation-building and building businesses for the greater good, this year’s Integrated Report (IR) transparently showcases its commitment to addressing the needs of its stakeholders.

To support this, SR was commissioned by AC to help design this year’s IR that focuses on enabling a better future by ensuring that Ayala’s business strategies are evolving progressively to capture the nation’s aspirations as it thrives for a better and sustainable future.

Purpose-Driven Brands Win Hearts

Purpose-led brands extend beyond profits. What these brands believe in eventually translates into what they do and transcends the industries they belong to. Ultimately, brands must be authentic and transparent with the purpose and cause they associate themselves with. 

At Sedgwick Richardson (SR), we believe in the power of genuine purpose. Brands that communicate their purpose become the most successful and relevant. They can effectively tackle pressing issues that matter to most people, and their customers become attached to the brand as it shares their values and beliefs. 

SR guides brands to unveil their true essence, showcasing what they truly stand for by allowing the brand to be brought to life and holistically experienced by its stakeholders through multiple touchpoints meaningfully and memorably. By cultivating belief in a better future, we help brands not only survive but thrive, transforming challenges into opportunities for growth.

Together we build brands that drive positive change, resonate with stakeholders, and contribute to a sustainable, prosperous world.

Let’s talk.

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