Corporate leaders from Salesforce to Walmart are promoting purpose-driven initiatives to build a reputation as a responsible business. The wave of purposeful branding stems from consumer demand for companies to create both quality products and a positive social impact. While purpose is an essential component of cultivating consumer goodwill, it is also becoming increasingly competitive. This means that brands must find unique ways of showcasing their purpose to distinguish themselves from the competition. This is especially true when numerous companies are addressing the same issue — recycling, for example — and weaving their efforts into their advertising. It’s very easy for an individual brand and its initiative to get lost in a rising sea of sameness. One way to overcome this is to champion your brand purpose by joining and leading cultural conversations. These conversations are driven both by planned messaging by the company, but also by moments of opportunity when brands take a stand about issues impacting society at large.
Airbnb is an standout example of a company that aligns its advertising with pressing social issues. Not only does the company take a stand on cultural issues, but it also engages in cultural conversations relevant to its mission. Airbnb built its brand on the strength of creating a world in which people “belong anywhere.” It’s only natural, then, for the brand to wade into the national debate around a travel ban focused on several Muslim countries because it conflicts with the brand’s mission.