The Power of Purposeful Partnerships to Build Your Brand

Simon Mainwaring
4 min readMar 16, 2018


The Power of Purposeful Partnerships to Build Your Brand

Partnerships are an essential component of running a successful business. As the new wave of socially conscious consumers demand that companies give back to society, purposeful partnerships are increasingly important. Purposeful collaborations help define your brand and create a powerful narrative that can distinguish your business from the competition.

Social impact can serve as an alternative to traditional advertising. Rather than telling people why they should buy from your company, you can build consumer goodwill, loyalty and purchases by positioning your brand as a leader partnering with organizations driving change towards a better world.

The Engage for Good Halo Awards highlights some of most outstanding cause marketing initiatives between companies and nonprofits every the year. This post features some of the top candidates and dives into how their partnerships are making an impact and a buzz.

Here’s how to promote your brand through purposeful partnerships

Leverage core business for social good:

A powerful way to showcase your brands capabilities while giving back is to use your core business for social good. This is also an excellent way to scale the impact of your employee engagement campaigns. While volunteering at a beach clean up or soup kitchen is a nice gesture, your employee volunteer initiatives will have a more profound impact if they offer your company’s valuable skills that can help nonprofits and other impact partners.

A company effectively leveraging its core business for social good is Salesforce. Since its foundation, Salesforce has dedicated “1% of Salesforce’s equity, 1% of Salesforce’s product and 1% of Salesforce employees’ time” to purposeful initiatives. Through its philanthropic arm,, the company provides its cutting edge customer relationship management (CRM) platform to nonprofits and universities for free or at a discounted rate. This effectively equips organizations that otherwise might not have access to the tools they need to most effectively connect with constituents in today’s digital world.

The key here is that offering your services to good causes is an effective way of creating meaningful employee experiences, defining your brand as a social change maker and building a better world.

Create responsible supply chains:

A paramount component of building a purposeful brand is to incorporate your environmentally and socially just ethos into the literal fabric of your business. To walk the talk of purposeful business you must integrate sustainability and social responsibility into the way you operate your factories, source raw materials, and run your business.

A brand doing an exceptional job of building responsible supply chains is Timberland. The shoes and apparel brand is working with the Smallholders Farmers Alliance in Haiti to source sustainably raised cotton for its merchandise. What’s more, the brand collaborates with the social enterprise Thread to incorporate fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles into its products.

By weaving purpose into your supply chain you effectively create a leg to stand on when it comes to purposeful messaging, which shows authenticity and trustworthiness.

Hashtag for humanity:

An excellent way to scale the reach of both your marketing initiatives and social impact is to invite consumers to partner with you to make a difference on social media. By donating a specified amount to charity for every person that posts with your branded hashtag, can include consumers in your impact and you brand. What’s more, studies show that user generated content is perceived as more memorable and reliable than brand or agency created content. Additionally, with recent changes to Facebook’s algorithm, UGC gets higher priority than company posts.

An example of a contributory social media campaign is Chevrolet’s #IDriveFor initiative. The automobile maker partnered with the American Cancer Society to raise funds and awareness about breast cancer. For each social media post with the hashtag #IDriveFor, during the campaign period, Chevrolet donated $5 to the American Cancer Society. To drive engagement, Chevy collaborated with influencers and organizers to compete for the team with the most hashtags. Chevrolet reached its engagement goal and subsequently donated $400,000 to fight breast cancer.

Ultimately, by investing in contributory user generated content campaigns you not only increase brand awareness, but also connect with consumers in a meaningful way that builds goodwill and brand reputation as a force for good.

Tell purposeful stories:

A great way to promote your brand and do good is to share stories about critical causes your purposeful partnerships are supporting. While measuring and scaling impact is paramount to leading with purpose, storytelling is an essential component of creating a positive return on invest from social good campaigns. By partnering with an organization that has boots on the ground, you can better understand the most pressing issues impacting at risk communities and create more authentic communications. To take it further, connect consumers with the causes they love by making it easy for them to take actions like making donations or signing a petition.

A company that effectively connects partnerships, storytelling and purpose-driven action is Discovery. The media company teamed up with the World Wildlife Foundation for the Project C.A.T., which aims to protect critical tiger habitats and other conservation efforts. Through video production, a social media campaign and donations Discovery is able to position itself as a key ally fighting to preserve one of the world’s most magnificent and endangered animals.

Brands that truly lead with purpose scale their impact with their bottom line, effectively marrying profit and purpose. Purposeful partnerships, coupled with meaningful storytelling, are powerful ways to develop advertising campaigns that go beyond product promotions and instead inspire emotional connections with consumers. By strengthening ties with consumers by bringing them closer to the issues they care most about, you can effective build your business and drive positive social change.



Simon Mainwaring

Founder/CEO brand consultancy, We First, bestselling author of We First and Lead With We, host of podcast, Lead With We.