10 lives changed > 1B media impressions

...and other things you need to know to win a brand purpose award.

We get it, marketing with purpose is trending. And now, not only trending, but actually changing the world.

The problem is every brand thinks they’re award-worthy because they’re doing good, but few win. Having been on all sides, connecting brands and purpose, in the jury room and even running a non-profit, below are a few tips on what it takes to break through the creative clutter and seize the gold.

1. Turn up your bullshit detector to 10
Brands can no longer get away with silly, shallow ideas. They must break through and be making an actual difference. Use the WWEGS (What Would Emma Gonzalez Say) test. to see if you’re wading into dangerous territory.

2. Build a case study that doesn’t mention "impressions"
Impact award judges cringe when they hear the word "impressions" as it illustrates a shallow connection and commitment to the idea. Ten lives changed beats one billion impressions.

3. Downplay the brand, up play the impact
We can see your brand, it’s obvious the brand is the enabler. Put 95 percent-plus of the focus on the idea the brand is moving forward and five percent on the relationship between the brand and the idea.

4. Do something that hasn’t been done before, but be careful of putting the emphasis on the innovation
Yes innovation matters, but impact is what you’re winning for. Don’t say "innovate" unless you’re actually creating new intellectual property. Use the impact to tell a deeper story about the innovation.

5. Tell a story in chapters -- point to legitimate, quantifiable and lasting impact
Judges want to see chapters of a book that, over time, advance an idea that benefits society. Judges don’t see impact in a PR stunt that has no lasting change… We see a marketing-driven, earned media hit.

6. Show us the future
Real impact is built via groundswells and movements that ratchet up over time. Help us see the context behind the idea. Help us also see the potential and lasting impact of this idea going forward, we’ll think more of the idea if we can clearly "see" future value.

7. We look beyond the case study
Being in the creative industry, we know that case studies can just be another form of creative storytelling. When judging for impact, we will go deeper. The brand must be able to support the idea and potential impact it’s making.

Don’t build impact ideas on sand. Companies that push brand messages forward are proactively putting themselves under the microscope. The better the idea, the more the jury (and the public) will look to find the holes in it and the brand that is supporting it.


Unfortunately there’s still no cheat sheet to saving the world, but at least armed with these tips, your brand and creative agency may draw extra attention and resources for your life-changing campaign.

Jim Moriarty is the director of brand citizenship at 72andSunny.

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