ANA Introduces Playbook for Activating Brand Purpose

Interviews with Purpose-Driven Marketers Provide Key Insights

NEW YORK (March 22, 2021) — The ANA’s award-winning Center for Brand Purpose today introduced the second in a series of CMO-inspired playbooks designed to help marketers make brand purpose a priority and create purpose-led initiatives that stand the test of time.

Called Activating a Purpose Program, the five-chapter playbook is based on in-depth interviews with purpose-driven marketers and other industry leaders and provides valuable advice for iterating and acting on an authentic and well-aligned purpose strategies.

Advice and guidelines included in the playbook cover a range of topics, including how marketers can drive and participate in the purpose process, how they can make purpose a priority, and the role company culture plays in bringing a sense of purpose to an organization.

“Business growth is one of the most important reasons to embrace purpose, which the ANA defines as ‘a brand’s reason to exist beyond profit,’” ANA CEO Bob Liodice writes in a foreword to the playbook. “But for purpose to truly take root and drive sustained growth, it must permeate the entire business operation and galvanize the workforce. Only then can purpose become a driving force in decision-making and business strategy, resonate meaningfully with stakeholders, and lead to a measurable positive impact on society.”

Liodice stressed that the challenges of implementing a successful purpose-driven program is especially acute for marketers, who say they want to embrace purpose but are unsure how to proceed. He cited an ANA study that showed 86 percent of B2B companies embrace purpose as important to growth, but only 24 percent said purpose is embedded in their business to the point of influencing innovation, operations, and their engagement with society.

The playbook points out that a key reason purpose-driven initiatives are essential is because they resonate with consumers; the playbook cited a 2019 survey from Deloitte which found that more than 80 percent of consumers in the U.S., U.K., China, and Brazil would be willing to pay more if a brand raised its prices to be more environmentally and socially responsible or paid higher wages to its employees.

“In fact, Deloitte’s research underscores that when a company leads with purpose, it comes to understand that consumers are more than just customers,” the playbook notes. “They are active stakeholders who invest hard-earned money, time, and attention in a brand. They also see a brand’s purpose as aligning with their own values, whether they be on sustainability, social impact, or product quality and service.”

The ANA playbook focuses on how marketers can activate a purpose strategy by addressing issues and elements including:

  • C-suite involvement
  • Driving the process so it is funded and prioritized
  • Employee buy-in
  • The systems and policies necessary across all business functions
  • Building a framework to ensure purpose is a long-term strategy with specific goals

The first playbook, Discovering Brand Purpose: A Playbook for Uncovering the “Why” Of Your Business, was released in July 2019.

Activating a Purpose Program is available to both ANA members and the greater marketing community and can be downloaded from the ANA website at



The mission of the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) is to drive growth for marketing professionals, brands and businesses, the industry, and humanity. The ANA serves the marketing needs of 20,000 brands by leveraging the 12-point ANA Growth Agenda, which has been endorsed by the Global CMO Growth Council. The ANA’s membership consists of U.S. and international companies, including client-side marketers, nonprofits, fundraisers, and marketing solutions providers (data science and technology companies, ad agencies, publishers, media companies, suppliers, and vendors). The ANA creates Marketing Growth Champions by serving, educating, and advocating for more than 50,000 industry members that collectively invest more than $400 billion in marketing and advertising annually.

John Wolfe
Director of Communications
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