The Purpose Pathfinder

Storytelling in a Polarised World

Purpose, when powerfully articulated, can create competitive advantage for brands. But as the world becomes more polarised, purpose becomes increasingly complex.

The beliefs and values of audiences are moving further apart. That means that if someone feels a brand shares their values, they’re more likely to become an advocate, buy its products and recommend it to friends and family. On the flipside, however, people who feel a brand is at odds with their values are less likely to buy from it and will believe the worst about it.

So brands face a growing challenge: how can they show they’re doing ‘good’ in the world, when it’s getting harder for people to agree what ‘good’ means?

To answer that question, Engine MHP + Mischief has worked with partners to create a unique new model: The Purpose Pathfinder. It outlines three purpose narrative routes available to brands in a polarised world:

  • Change: Fight injustice and take a stand on one side of an argument. Change narratives encourage polarisation.
  • Community: Taking care of people and the world around you, bringing everyone together. Community narratives encourage depolarisation.
  • Utility: Focus on personal flourishing and helping customers live their best lives. Utility narratives sidestep social issues and focus on the individual.

The Pathfinder gives brands a score against these three routes and compares it to the expectations that audiences have of the businesses they buy from. This means we can identify where the biggest gaps exist and create narratives and campaigns to fix them.

Click here to read more about the Purpose Pathfinder or get in touch to discuss how we can work together.

The Purpose Pathfinder

Rachel Bower

Head of Brand & Reputation