An increasing number of companies are making it the mission of their brand to solve a specific environmental, social, or governance (ESG) issue. These ESG-focused, or purpose-led, brands make that mission—whether solving an environmental issue such as pollution or a social issue such as forced labor—the focus of every part of their business, from supply chain to final product.
Purpose-led brands create a simple, compelling message to educate consumers about the issue at the heart of their mission, and they often use one clear data point to anchor the message. For example, Dove brands advocate a positive relationship with beauty and cite data about how typical beauty imagery harms the self-esteem of women and girls. Beyond Meat cites data about the emissions and land use costs of beef and argues for “a better way to feed our future.” Each of these brands illustrates how clarity of purpose can change consumer behavior while creating category growth. And as these brands find footholds in the mainstream market, their success has a cumulative effect on their industry and the wider world. As their scale grows, so does their impact.