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Books: Articulate Your Purpose

By Michael Schor, CMA
February 1, 2020
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Author Jeff Fromm makes a strong case that the formulation and expression of a brand’s purpose is critical to achieving sustained success with socially conscious consumers in The Purpose Advantage: How to Unlock New Ways of Doing Business.

 

Building on the mission and vision discussions common to the study of business strategy, Fromm argues that brands must develop a purpose statement, articulating how the company is working to make the world a better place, as an integral strategic element.

 

Drawing on the experiences of brands including Yoplait, Seventh Generation, Bombas, and Dove, Fromm offers many examples and comparisons to illustrate the concept of purpose. He believes that a brand’s purpose can be an effective counterbalance to the forces that have made brand loyalty harder to achieve. Brands are called upon to be leaders in addressing environmental and social issues; those that respond effectively will earn competitive advantages.

 

Fromm doesn’t offer undiscriminating kudos for every socially sensitive effort. He’s keen for readers to see that dangers—such as the unexpected challenges TOMS Shoes faced with their buy-one-give-one campaign—arise from the lack of a holistic approach to defining and communicating a brand’s purpose. An expert on marketing to members of Generation Z and Millennials, Fromm is well positioned to be a “purpose champion.” He offers his readers a look into the discerning modern consumer’s relationship with brands. For that alone, this book is worth reading.

 

The infographical page layout of The Purpose Advantage adds to the enjoyment of reading it. While I wish it were a little longer and provided more background on brand management, such as providing brand awareness history and an analysis of brand equity, this book is packed with valuable insights. It would be a great read in preparation for a board retreat or brand strategy meeting.

 

I’d also consider it a worthy addition to the reading list for a graduate-level or advanced undergraduate-level college marketing class. Its mix of workshop exercises will stimulate your thinking on how to follow through on your “ongoing commitment to delivering on your purpose.” It’s a fun read, too!

 

Michael Schor, CMA, is an associate professor of instruction who teaches finance at Ohio University’s Eastern and Zanesville campuses and eCampus. He is a member of IMA’s Greater Philadelphia Chapter. You can reach him at schor@ohio.edu.
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