ANA Releases Brand Purpose Playbook

Insights Provide Guidance for Defining the Unique Purpose of a Brand

NEW YORK (July 11, 2019) — A commitment to the concept of brand purpose can spark growth for marketers and can also improve a company’s customer relations, corporate image, market share, and talent acquisition and retention efforts.

However, if purpose isn’t defined carefully or fully embraced by the entire organization, it will not succeed, and since purpose is different for each brand, the process of adopting it is different for each company culture.

Those are some of the key lessons provided in Discovering Brand Purpose: A Playbook for Uncovering the “Why” Of Your Business, from the ANA’s Center for Brand Purpose.

The ANA (Association of National Advertisers) defines purpose as “a brand’s reason to exist beyond profit.” “Purpose can drive differentiation within the most commoditized categories and provide relevance to even highly skeptical consumers,” the playbook states. “It can sustain price premiums, increase market share, and garner greater share of voice in a fragmented media landscape. Purpose also galvanizes a workforce and helps to recruit talent, especially millennials.”

The playbook’s in-depth learnings were contributed by marketing leaders from six global companies with a network of employees and stakeholders who have fully embraced the transformative aspects of purpose. They include biotechnology company CSL Behring; food, snack, and beverage marketer PepsiCo; health care company Pfizer Consumer Healthcare; the ROCKWOOL Group, a global leader in the manufacture of stone wool building materials; software corporation SAP; and global energy and petrochemical giant Shell.

Topic covered in the 56-page playbook include:

  • Defining Purpose for Today’s Organizations
  • Differentiating Brand Purpose from a Corporate Mission
  • How an Organization Determines Its Role in Society
  • Ensuring Purpose Is Authentic and Connects with Customers’ Passions and Expectations
  • The Challenges to Overcome in Defining Purpose
  • The Benefits of Being Purposeful
  • How Purpose and Doing Good Can Lead to Brand Growth.

“A 2018 ANA survey of member CMOs found that while 78 percent said their company has a clearly defined purpose, 82 percent indicated they could use help in defining and activating their purpose,” said ANA CEO Bob Liodice. “It’s clear that brand purpose has become the North Star for marketers, and this playbook is coming at the perfect time to help them realize their goals and drive brand and business growth.”

The ANA Center for Brand Purpose, launched in 2018, is designed to fuel business growth by helping marketers create purpose-driven, strategic programs and solutions for their products and services. In addition to the new playbook, which is the first in a planned series, the Center’s offerings include case studies, feature articles, a podcast series, videos, events, and professional development programs.

The playbook is available to both ANA members and the greater marketing community and can be downloaded from the ANA website at


The ANA (Association of National Advertisers)'s mission is to drive growth for marketing professionals, for brands and businesses, and for the industry. Growth is foundational for all participants in the ecosystem. The ANA seeks to align those interests by leveraging the 12-point ANA Masters Circle agenda, which has been endorsed and embraced by the ANA Board of Directors and the Global CMO Growth Council. The ANA's membership consists of more than 1,600 domestic and international companies, including more than 1,000 client-side marketers and nonprofit fundraisers and 600 marketing solutions providers (data science and technology companies, ad agencies, publishers, media companies, suppliers, and vendors). Collectively, ANA member companies represent 20,000 brands, engage 50,000 industry professionals, and invest more than $400 billion in marketing and advertising annually.

John Wolfe
Director of Communications
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