In this trip to the Rockstar CMO Swimming Pool, we are inspired by Peter Morgan, Metia’s VP of Demand and our recent trip on the tour bus with him. Should ‘brand purpose’ be the next big splash in our portal to marketing hell?


Once again we find ourselves leaning over the penthouse balcony, staring down at the Rockstar CMO Swimming Pool, our portal to hell for all the bullshit, snake oil, silly acronyms and bleedin’ obvious advice that has got our Rockstars riled up.

This month, we are inspired by Peter Morgan, Metia’s VP of Demand, who shared with us some of his firm’s research into B2B marketing back in the Features Creatures Issue and our Tales from the Tour Bus feature series.

Yes, this time we are picking on something that is based on actual research and not gut feel, which feels right for the theme of this issue as we are discussing the balance between marketing creativity and data. Here is what Peter shared with us:

“Brand purpose is a particular bugbear. The idea that brands which have a declared purpose beyond profit outperform those who don’t was empirically disproved several years ago. If your business is genuinely built upon a purpose besides profit then great, but trying to reverse engineer a connection won’t work. Some marketers seem ashamed of the business of selling, in which case they’ve chosen the wrong career.”

Oh yes, I especially like the last line, which is so true and probably why CMOs are being replaced by Chief Growth Officers and other more commercially driven roles, as some senior marketers seem to have lost the plot and forgotten they are the head of a business investment fund that was setup to build revenue and growth, not create fairy stories.

Content marketing is about curating the real product experience, our values and our definition of the market we sell in and turning it into a story to appeal to the consumer, or as one of the founding fathers of content marketing Robert Rose observes in this post

“Our stories – whether brand, personal, product, or customer – are the truths that reflect our experiences. But our narratives are the lenses that color those reflections and make them more beautiful.”

But, there is a balance. Brand purpose, when it is disconnected from the “truths that reflect our experiences” takes this too far, or as Gartner says in this article about messaging during the current coronavirus crises, is “virtue signalling”.

“When your brand conspicuously expresses its values without actually taking actions to live by those values.”

So, yes, the brand purpose fairy story goes in the pool and based on how bloated it is with hype right now, it’s going to make a helluva splash.

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