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Today’s leading brands understand their role in creating purposeful change. 

No longer are promises to shareholders the sole focus, but rather a commitment to customers, employees and society has an equal share. 

To add to this, the days of defining a brand through advertising alone are gone. The powerful convergence of marketing and technology in today’s marketplace means experience is now the playground for brand building. Combine these changes and you have a new customer experience. 

Ask any skilled marketer about CX and they will rightly direct you to various touchpoints where consumers engage with the brand. And yet, the consequences of a purchase, its footprint on society, are part of the experience too. 

Experiences are now more than simply the mechanism that guides an individual along the path to obtain a product or service. Experience is directly linked to the impact of the purchase throughout its life cycle – be it good or bad – and how it makes the consumer feel. Enter post-purchase dissonance. 

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A brand that gets it is Saltwater Brewery. The small Florida-based craft beer producer for ‘surfers, fishermen and people who love the sea’ developed edible six-pack rings, lessening plastic waste and danger to wildlife. They hope category leaders will follow suit, driving down the production cost of the wheat-based packaging.  

Modern consumers crave progress that creates new norms. The brands who think about their impact in this way nurture steadfast loyalty and genuine advocacy, because through association consumers feel good. 

We’re witnessing a parallel shift in influencer marketing. 

New-gen influencers are not out to sell. WGSN has hailed them as ‘genuinfluencers’ and rather than promote goods, they are spreading ideas and truth. Why? The saturation of the classic influencer and user burnout, feelings of social injustice, tech overload, inequalities and increased mental health awareness being a few reasons. As a result, knowledge and information have harnessed a new type of cultural capital.  

It’s the same cultural capital that insists brands consider their impact. There’s a fair amount of band-wagoning around the idea of ‘purpose’, and many argue when it comes to loggerheads with profit the latter typically wins.

But when brands think about impact as an integral part of customer experience, they make customer-centric decisions. Doing so makes the idea of brand impact, or purpose, tangible and something real. 

Rona Leslie