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Brand purpose is not a recent phenomenon

25 February 2022 2 min read

Our Managing Director of Southeast Asia, Mr Dominic Mason, was recently invited to speak at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, addressing students in a managerial seminar on corporate communications, part of NTU’s Master of Media and Communication. He shared his thoughts on brand purpose and the role of shared value in branding.

Mr Ferdinand “Ferry” de Bakker, adjunct lecturer at NTU’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, came across the work Sedgwick Richardson has done for visionary leaders across Asia on brand purpose and how it aligned with his course at NTU on Corporate Communications. We were delighted to accept his invitation to speak about the topic to his students.

Instead of opting for a run-of-the-mill theoretical approach, I took a step backwards in time and found some startling parallels with today to speak about.

At the seminar, the students asked a range of questions on how companies can leverage purpose through their brands and enhance their culture.

The origins of brand purpose can be traced back to half a century ago through leading practitioners and pioneers of branding at that time.

In fact, brand purpose, sustainability, diversity, shared value, and employer branding were issues prevalent in organisations back in the 1970s, if not using those terms.

Organisations wrestled with their identities. They discovered that what was happening within them, and the brand purpose they were serving, influenced their external identities greatly.

There are purposeful brands – and then, there are purpose-driven brands. Substance over signalling.

As a result, there is a huge demand for clarity and substantiated brand purpose. This can be accomplished through developing sustainability strategy, innovation, experiences, environments, products and services, as well as culture.

Today, organisations can look forward to a new cohort of corporate communications experts equipped with a clear understanding of brand purpose which will be instrumental in defining their brand identities.

Dominic Mason
Managing Director, Southeast Asia
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