2020 Predictions for Purpose-Driven Brands

Each year, our friends at the Purpose Collaborative share their 2020 purpose predictions. Stay tuned for the full list, but in the meantime, below is a sneak-peak of Global Impact Relations Network’s Executive Director, Melissa Orozco’s insights.

What are 2-3 pieces of advice you will give your clients looking to deepen their purpose initiatives in 2020?

  • Collaborate with industry competitors. Progressive companies and CEOs that are committed to using their voice and brand influence to solve global issues, will continue to collaborate with industry competitors to drive systemic change through collective action.
  • Don’t wait on advocating for an important issue until other brands are leading the way – pave the way!

How is this advice different from previous years?

If there’s ever been a time to use our voice and communications to inspire and move people to action, it’s now. The good news is: there is a groundswell of businesses using their expertise, resources, and influence, to positively impact social and environmental change. Realizing we can’t rely solely on government, nonprofits, and NGOs to solve all of the issues impacting society and the environment, corporations are stepping up to play a critical role in building a more prosperous and regenerative economy. Global brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Tesla and Patagonia, are among the thousands of companies placing “social” at the forefront of their enterprise – putting purpose alongside, or even ahead of profit. Brands are collaborating with competitors more than ever for collective action to address global issues and improve industry standards. It’s no longer about philanthropy; it’s about creating systemic and meaningful change.

We are at a point in history where the purpose of business is being redefined. Communications practices are evolving, alongside corporate purpose. Businesses and brands are seeking knowledgeable communications partners that can provide them with the kind of leadership they need in order to both look good and do good. And with the impact economy is ever-evolving, communicators are continually seeking guidance and best practices on how to leverage stories and strategies, to serve as a catalyst for positive change. The desire to scale the practice of Impact Relations is evident on both ends of the client-consultant spectrum.

What are the biggest challenges you see for purpose in the coming year?

Cause-washing and purpose-washing. Through the Global Impact Relations Network, our mission is to end cause-washing and purpose-washing through advancing the communications industry by providing a framework for impactful communications strategies; by setting and administering communications standards and principles; and by sharing best practices. We are bringing brands, corporations, and communicators together, in recognition of the great work that is already being done, to educate our network on what more is possible. Together, we will advance our industry by making transparent, authentic communications the norm.

What do you predict as the biggest purpose-related trend of 2020?

Collective action among large corporations to drive systemic change.