It’s Time to Make “Purpose” the Fifth P in Marketing

January 30, 2014

Phil-HaidPhil Haid is co-founder and CEO of Public, a cause agency and incubator

Two days ago, Bell launched the fourth edition of its annual “Let’s Talk” campaign to help reduce stigma around mental health, and by all accounts it was their biggest and most successful year ever. Newspaper, TV and mobile ads encouraged us to talk and text more, and in so doing Bell contributed more than $5 million to mental health services. Bell should be applauded for both the leadership they have shown and for the giant megaphone they have deployed to make people more aware of the issue.

But as another year of “Let’s Talk” comes to a close, I can’t help but feel they missed a golden opportunity to treat mental health less as a charitable ad campaign and more as a powerful and ongoing tool in their marketing arsenal.

What I’m talking about is a seismic shift in the marketing mindset from “doing charity” as a good corporate citizen (which most Canadian companies continue to do and believe is the right approach) to behaving like a social impact investor that identifies the change they want to see happen in communities and then aligns their business interests and marketing efforts to drive bottom-line results and social change.

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