Why are you here?

Written by

Charli Edwards


How ‘purpose drops’ can aid the utilities sector and promote purpose  

In the ever-evolving world of brand marketing, the concept of purpose has become more than just a buzzword; it’s a crucial element in building a brand’s identity.  A 2022 study by the marketing agency Ogilvy found that 85% of consumers are more likely to buy from purpose-driven brands. Companies are no longer content with making abstract commitments to improve the world – they are now seeking ways to make those commitments feel tangible and real. Enter purpose-led innovation “drops.”

Bold Visions vs. Tangible Change

Today, many brands and businesses are making bold promises to create a better world. While these visions are essential for setting the direction, they often feel distant and abstract to consumers. What’s needed is a way to bring purpose to life – something that people can see, hold, feel, and engage with. Purpose drops are a solution to this challenge. These limited-time, localised releases of purpose-led products or services enthuse fans and serve as a powerful statement of a brand’s commitment to its cause.

Taking Action in an Age of Skepticism

With nearly half of the consumers viewing purpose-driven activity with scepticism, it’s more important than ever for brands to take tangible action. Purpose drops have the advantage of quick delivery and the ability to tell a compelling story long after release. Instead of waiting for multi-year programs to yield results, brands are creating something audiences can directly engage with. These drops are not just products but stories, statements of intent, and buzz generators.

Scaling Impact
While purpose drops are small-scale by nature, they can significantly impact a brand and its chosen cause. Success can lead to more extensive pilot programs or increased resources for larger projects. These drops not only serve as tactics but can inform broader strategies.

Real-World Examples of Purpose Drops

  • EDF Energy: In 2022, EDF Energy partnered with the non-profit organisation Carbon Trust to launch a limited-edition collection of energy-efficient LED light bulbs. The collection was sold at a discounted price to EDF Energy customers, and a portion of the proceeds went to support Carbon Trust’s work to reduce carbon emissions.

  • OVO Energy: In 2021, OVO Energy launched its “OVO Forest” initiative, which plants trees in the UK to help offset carbon emissions. OVO Energy customers could earn trees by using renewable energy and reducing their energy consumption. With over 2 million trees planted since the initiative launched in 2021. OVO Energy customers have also been very engaged with the initiative, with over 1 million customers earning trees by using renewable energy and reducing their energy consumption.
  • SSE Energy: In 2020, SSE Energy partnered with the non-profit organisation WWF to launch a “Green Switch” campaign, encouraging customers to switch to renewable energy tariffs. SSE Energy also donates a portion of the proceeds from each Green Switch to support WWF’s work to protect the environment. In 2022, SSE Energy saw a 20% increase in customers switching to renewable energy tariffs, and the company is on track to achieve its target of having 100% renewable energy generation by 2030.

  • Thames Water: In 2022, they launched a limited-edition collection of reusable water bottles made from recycled plastic. The bottles were sold at a discounted price to Thames Water customers, and a portion of the proceeds went to support the charity WaterAid.

As utility companies face increasing pressure to reduce their environmental impact and support their communities, we expect to see more purpose drops from this sector.

Do you have any business having an opinion?

Brands must identify whether they should even engage with an issue. Aligning the action with the brand’s identity is crucial. Don’t hang your hat on a cause or purpose your brand cannot deliver on, no matter how ‘on trend’ or relevant it is.

Asking specific questions can help establish credibility:

  1. Extending Offer: Can you develop your products or services to meet the needs of an underserved group?
  • Behaviour Improvement: Could your intervention improve behaviour within your industry?
  • Expertise Utilisation: Is there an issue where your business’s expertise could make a difference?

The Evolution of Purpose-Driven Companies

The movement towards purpose-driven companies has evolved over the last decade. It is now driven by widespread transparency enabled by social media and a passionate younger generation committed to creating a better world. This represents a new era of purpose-committed companies, emphasising the need for authenticity and meaningful impact. But as companies embrace purpose, they must avoid these three common pitfalls:

  1. Don’t Follow the Crowd: Purpose should align with a brand’s identity and values. It can focus on sustainability only if it resonates with the brand. Aflac’s commitment to childhood cancer is a testament to aligning with the brand’s values.
  • Don’t Underestimate Accountability: Transparency and data-driven accountability are essential in Purpose 2.0. Purposeful companies quantify and measure progress, sharing this data publicly to hold themselves accountable.
  • Purpose is More Than a ‘Nice’ Initiative: Purpose should become part of an organisation’s DNA. It’s about authentic and transparent leadership. Companies must find what’s genuinely important to them and amplify it to improve the world.

Purpose drops are a practical way to turn commitment into tangible impact. As more companies become vocal about their purpose, they must do so authentically, with transparency and accountability, and focus on what genuinely matters to them.

Fake it, and you won’t make it for long…

#purposedrops #brandpurpose #authenticity #brand


Please complete the form below to receive the latest news, events and information from Cavendish.


Make your voice
make a difference.