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THE PERILS OF PURPOSE

When a brand uses purpose for both positioning AND to communicate social good, it often forgets about distinction and differentiation. Very few can pull it off.


Patagonia did, IMHO. "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis”.

It spoke to the original business idea and the motivation - to create the best climbing gear that was also more sustainable and kinder to rocks. In 2019 they changed it to, “Patagonia is in business to save our home planet.” It certainly reflects the now, but is it preaching to the converted or new customer acquisition?


I’ve been told many times that “62% of consumers want companies to stand up for the issues they are passionate about" but have yet to find someone who can convert

the stat to a purchase funnel. Yet brands are being fed a constant diet of purpose delivers dollars.


Every brand should take responsibility for its people, the environment, for paying taxes etc. But, sadly, Patagonia is rare. It started by doing good. And it started by selling really good gear.


Positioning influences who you buy from. Purpose makes you feel better about it.

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