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Measuring Success in Brand Purpose


While more and more companies are embracing brand purpose, a reliable way of gauging the effect of such initiatives often remains elusive. Consider, however, the observations of three guests of the ANA Center for Brand Purpose's Beyond Profit podcast. Below, they explain their philosophies of and approaches to measuring the impact of brand purpose on their organizations.

Used hard numbers in your assessments. "We're working on a hypothesis that says when you have a mature purposeful brand and there's some different characteristics of maturity for purpose, you should be able to prove greater revenue and valuation. You should be able to demonstrate and improve — using external ratings, rankings, and indices, looking at stock performance, looking at revenue performance, looking at innovation awards, looking at employee engagement scores — we should be able to correlate strong operationalized purpose with external wins."
Sandy Skees, EVP of purpose and impact global lead at Porter Novelli and author of Purposeful Brands: How Purpose and Sustainability Drive Brand Value and Positive Change

Gauge your employees' responses to your purpose. "So, there's a few things that we measure as it relates to the inclusive culture. One is employee satisfaction, and that is through a net promoter-style scoring method. We call it an ENPS, which is Employee Net Promoter Score. We do that quarterly, and it's just a rating of one to 10. It's a single question for the NPS portion that basically asks, how likely are you to recommend PMG to a friend, family member, or colleague as an employer? And that score, between one and 10, gives us a basic standard of how we're doing. Then, following that one question, we have open-ended questions, which ask them about their wellness. It asks them about their mental health. It asks them about their feeling of belonging within a team. ... As a leadership team we actually spend time responding to those comments. ... The second thing that we really look at is engagement, which is a bit of a softer metric, but it's looking at how many people attend our speaker series that we do every month. Or how many participate in our employee resource groups on an average basis? How many take advantage of our events and experiences — frankly, how many people join the all-hands meeting every month and have video on."
Parks Blackwell, vice president of marketing and client development at PMG

Measure widely. "Are we tracking against our belief? Are the motivations and the beliefs that informed what we do, are they still true? ... Are our staff still tracking against this, our customers, our consumers? Are they deducing this from how we communicate? And how does that health track over time from a purpose point of view. Are we still credible? Are we still ultimately delivering against our purpose? And then, from a product platform and an impact point of view, it's the standard metrics — it's from a product marketing point of view. Is it driving sales? Is it driving innovation? Do we have a point of difference versus the competition? All that standard stuff [for evaluating your] platform is really about engagement and building a sense of community around it. So, if you can see that by operating that platform, you are generating more feedback, you're getting more positive reviews, your net promoter score is going up — all that kind of good stuff, which suggests that you have a healthy relationship with your consumers or your clients and you see that upward trend — then you know that that's working. And then from an impact point of view, it's just making sure that you're tracking the things that enable you to show that you're actually having an impact that doesn't necessarily always need to be longitudinal. One of the biggest challenges is when we say, 'Well, how do I measure my impact when my impact won't take hold for 15 years?' Well, you can measure the small things at an organizational level: the volunteer hours that your staff are doing or the amount of money that you are donating to a nonprofit or the amount of thought leadership that you are pushing out there to inspire a community."
Phil White, co-founder of Grounded World

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.


Morgan Strawn

Morgan Strawn is a director of editorial and content development at the ANA, which he joined in 2018. You can email him at