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Purpose-focused Branding, PR & Marketing

How Tapping Into Brand Purpose Leads to Content that Matters

UPDATE: Testimonial from Jaclyn Hirschhaut, Executive Director, ICFA

“Your talk, ‘Content that Matters,’ was tremendously informational and very eloquently delivered. You did not merely capture the essence of our educational theme ‘Navigating the Future,’ you very generously enriched and enhanced it. And I was not at all surprised to see that our members ranked your presentation as excellent or very good. Among the comments offered by attendees on our evaluation form were these: ‘Great content, very inspiring;’ ‘Very solid message and actionable items;’ ‘Great emphasis on purpose.'”


This blog post is the companion post for Russell Sparkman’s session at the International Casual Furnishings Association’s Educational Conference in San Antonio, TX, February 5 – 7, 2019.

Richard Edelman’s Davos 2019 Talk about Trust

Insights About Employee Engagement and Trust

  • Employee Business Case #1: Employee Volunteering Creates Employee Engagement  Highlight: “…researchers found that employees who volunteer through their workplace report more positive attitudes towards their employer as well as colleagues. An interesting benefit to employers is the improved physical and emotional health of employees who volunteer. That means that if companies want to decrease their health costs, they should be looking to volunteering as an affordable and accessible solution.”
  • ‘My employer’ is Most Trusted Entity in Edelman ’19 Trust Barometre Highlight: “Nearly 70 percent of employees expect their employers to join them in advocating on social issues…Companies that make social change a priority, the survey says, will gain greater commitment from workers (83 percent), find their staffers will become advocates (78 percent) and will be more loyal (74 percent).”

8 Principles of Purpose-focused Storytelling

The following are our 8 Principles of Purpose-focused Storytelling. Refer to these during the workshop portion of the session when constructing your Strategic Editorial Statements.

Your mission and purpose are transactional. Purpose is the transcendental.
For example, what is the great spiritual reason for your business? This is closely related to answering the question “why?”.

Purpose can be about your core values, and about providing practical value.
When a company such as Nationwide Insurance produces an initiative such as MakeSafeHappen.com, their content is supporting the core value purpose of protecting children while providing practical value content in the form of safety tips.

You purpose is uniquely yours, not easily replicated, providing you with competitive advantage.
When a consumer brand such as REI closes stores on Black Friday and creates a campaign around called #GetOutside, they take ownership of the value of spending time outside with family and friends in a very unique way.

Purpose must be a shared value with employees and customers.
Promoting giving and volunteering is an example of shared values.

Your purpose is part of the conversation about your brand and your culture.
The most ardent fans of companies such as Ben and Jerry’s or Patagonia talk about those companies support of issues in addition to their products.

Purpose is about showing that you care.
Nike ambassadors program in which employees are trained to give sports coaching and mentoring to youth is an example of caring.

It’s not enough to be trustworthy. You have to be meaningful, too.
Dove’s Self-esteem initiative is a great example of a brand providing meaning to people’s lives, beyond selling cleansing products.

Purpose is about improving lives, while improving the bottom line.
Businesses are increasingly being called upon to play a role in addressing social concerns while in the pursuit of profitable business goals. These are not mutually exclusive pursuits.

Purpose-focued Content Posts from FusionSpark

FusionSpark Media’s Content that Matters blog has research, analysis and case studies about purpose-focused content marketing. The full blog can be reached here, or you can go directly to the stories cited in the webinar by following the links below.

TELUS Walks with SandwichesRead Post 

A Story about Improving Lives puts a Shine on AppleRead Post

How Patagonia Turned Good Deeds into Good Content and Why That’s a Good ThingRead Post

Massive Mob Overwhelms Cop (in a nice way!) –  Read Post

Starbuck’s Upstanders:  Purpose-focused Storytelling about Our Shared HumanityRead Post

Panamei Journey: Seafood Brand Hooks into Purpose-focused ContentRead Post

Purpose Sparks Lincoln Electrics B2B ContentRead Post

PRESENTER: RUSSELL SPARKMAN, CEO, FUSIONSPARK MEDIA, INC.

Russell Sparkman is an award-winning, purpose-focused communications pioneer whose client list includes Apple, Toyota, Epson, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, American Liver Foundation, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and many smaller nonprofits and small-to-medium businesses.

From promoting consumer brand products to promoting causes ranging from environmental protection to protecting women and girls against violence, Sparkman’s projects have always been purpose-focused. Recognition and awards for this work have come from the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, the Webbys, W3Awards, Davey Awards, and induction into the Computerworld Honors program (in partnership with the Smithsonian) for the use of information technology to address social issues.

Sparkman is a sought-after speaker on the topic of applying purpose to digital marketing strategies and is a Keynote Track Speaker at Content Marketing World, a gathering of over 3500 senior level marketers from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies.

In 2016, Sparkman successfully led the effort at FusionSpark Media to become a Certified B Corp.