It’s Time to Rethink How Social Responsibility Plays Into Brand Missions

Lest good intentions be mistaken for ‘purpose washing’

There is a picture of the globe; a lighting blot is coming out of a cloud; a top the cloud is a man sitting and on his computer
Those who go into taking a cause-related stance but aren't convincing in their efforts could be accused of "purpose washing." Getty Images

A recent 300,000 person consumer poll found that people wouldn’t care if 74% of brands they use simply vanished and that 60% of the content produced by companies is poor, irrelevant or failing to deliver. A few weeks ago, billionaire Ray Dalio emphatically stated that capitalism is in crisis and no longer working. Even the World Economic Forum at Davos has been under attack. For Dutch historian Rutger Bregman, attending Davos felt like being at a firefighters’ conference where no one ever mentioned the word “water.”

@shreyamukherjee Shreya Mukherjee is svp, group planning director/social impact practice lead at Deutsch New York.