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FUSE in Focus: Purpose Culture, the heart and soul of brands and millennials

Ah, the power of purpose; I was thrilled when I saw the theme of this year’s FUSE Conference. Way to go, IIR for bundling up the overarching theme of today’s creative industries into one all-inclusive package we can all enjoy. It certainly makes my task of blogging throughout the conference especially positive.

As a purpose-driven “millennial” myself, I can speak from a place of diligently seeking higher purpose not only in my work and client relationships at Capsule, but also throughout my personal life, and day-to-day consumables. The name of the game is herding these areas together into one cross-functional value system that’s constantly moving in harmonious tandem. This interconnected value system is the DNA of today’s generation, and in turn, the DNA of many of the brands, companies and organizations that make up our marketplace.

(I would like to point out that I dislike using the “M” word, as I strongly believe everyone should move on from talking about millennials – we certainly have).

Nevertheless, I wanted to make the point that I'm thankful to be part of a generation that has helped shift the world of brands into a do-good society. As my Capsulite superiors have artfully engrained, brands are containers of trust; they were created to substitute the human-to-human transaction with a figurehead we can confidently feel provides us with the same product. In order to obtain that trust, brands have evolved into sophisticated models of cultural relevance. From the Mad Men era of controlled advertising, to Hollywood-inspired branded content and celebrity endorsements, brands evolve to meet us within our culture.

So what’s the current culture of today? Well, aside from our embarrassing obsession with the Kardashians, I’d say most of our generation’s motivation comes from championing the good things in life. Enter, the purpose culture.

Whether it’s reporting a company’s sustainability practices, showcasing a product’s health claims, or redesigning your office space to support employees’ mental and physical wellness, today’s consumers are constantly asking the question, “How are you contributing to the greater good of our society?” If your brand can’t satisfy that question (and satisfy honestly…we sniff out the liars) we’ll most likely move on to the next product or company in line. This purpose-forward communication platform is pulsing through every industry, from lifestyle consumer brands to internal operations and HR of large corporations.

I’m not implying generations before us did not strive to seek higher purpose; their discipline and no-nonsense standards for right and wrong will always have much to teach us. Our generation just gave everyone permission to inject this quest for good into the 9 to 5, and begin challenging the norm that would have previously solicited the response, “because that’s just the way it’s always been.”

A good friend of mine – one who often brings my glass-half-full attitude back to reality – reminded me that purpose for the sake of purpose is merely sentiment. Therefore it’s my hope for this purpose-driven economy that we continuously define and find validity in our missions in order to create real and appropriate impact.

I’m excited to observe and learn how others are extending this into their lines of creative work at this year’s FUSE Conference. I’m hoping for some quality purpose-building time, challenging design discussions, and possibly morning yoga sessions. Deal?

See you soon, Miami.

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