Brand Quarterly Issue 19

Page 33

Millennials And The New Push For Purpose In B2B Branding Rachel Klein

The idea of “purpose” as both a customer and employee motivator is much talked about in the B2C space, but often overlooked or even dismissed in B2B branding and marketing. However, a changing of the guard in B2B now makes purpose an absolute imperative (and a competitive advantage). As a B2B study commissioned by Google revealed, in 2015 millennials for the first time made up nearly half of B2B purchase influencers and/or decision-makers, a percentage that is growing rapidly. With that growth comes an increasing demand for more than just a good deal from business partners or a good paycheck from employers. More than any generation before, millennials in the marketplace also require the clear sense of mission, vision and bigger-picture values that align with their own, and that is summed up in that one often misunderstood word: purpose.

are focused on revenue and shareholder value - wince. But in a B2B environment, purpose isn’t altruism - it’s pragmatism. This is because a paycheck or rational value propositions are not enough to move the growing millennial population. They are gravitating toward brands that provide meaning and purpose that extends beyond shareholder value - whether it’s focused on bettering society, revolutionizing an industry, or simply creating a great place to work. And as research shows, companies that demonstrate a strong commitment to purpose enjoy better financial returns than those that don’t. That assertion of superior financial performance may seem unlikely - unless you have seen it firsthand, over and over again, as I have. To demonstrate the importance of purpose, I’ll explain how: 1. Purpose drives preference for B2B buyers

What Does Purpose Really Mean In B2B? In the B2C realm, purpose has too often been confused with corporate social responsibility, the ‘do-gooder-ism’ of which can make hard-nosed B2B CEOs - who

A paycheck or rational value propositions are not enough to move the growing millennial population

2. Purpose motivates performance in B2B employees 3. Purpose has repeatedly proven itself to be a driver of B2B advantage (as the case history below will show)

Brand Quarterly


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