It’s been nearly two years since our Post-purpose Brands macrotrend unpacked industries’ bad habit of purpose-washing. But even as we approach 2022, the redefinition of purpose was much discussed among founders, industry analysts and a new breed of creative activists attending Web Summit.
Nachson Mimran defines himself as just this. He’s the CEO of To.org, a new civic organisation that pairs eco-activism with venture capitalism. Mimran believes strongly in the importance of corporate vulnerability to create genuine change. Likening this concept to Alcoholics Anonymous, he argues that: ‘50% of the road to recovery comes from saying: I have a problem’. As well as admitting to eco-imperfection, Mimran takes a unique approach to activism in that he spotlights the importance of profit as part of the sustainability journey. As such, his mission is to ‘have fun, make money, do more good’.
Also rocking the brand purpose boat, Alan Sylvain, founder of strategy consultancy SYLVAIN, expressed his disdain for purpose as a goal. Instead, he believes it should be an integral part of a start-up’s starter pack. What’s more, Sylvain is floating the idea of obsession as a more socially ethical alternative to purpose. ‘Obsession can lead us to greatness,’ he told attendees, perhaps sparking a new buzzword that we will no doubt see in brand manifestos in the coming years – hopefully with actions to back it up.
Where Facebook may be faltering, new platforms are thriving in securing the next generation of internet users, with trust, community and normality acting as key pillars in what makes a successful platform today.
Those who didn’t know about FaZe Clan were schooled by the eSports organisation’s chief operating officer Jaci Hays, who highlighted just how significant young people’s passion for gaming has been for the entertainment industry. She noted that the gaming sector has overtaken music, tv and surfing the internet as Generation Z’s sole focus of attention, meaning it’s a powerful market we can no longer demote to a hobby. The organisation has collaborated with everyone from pop artist Takashi Murakami to DC Comics, which saw members of the FaZe Clan depicted as modern superheroes. ‘They value their in-game presence as much as their physical – if not more,’ explained Hays.
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