Andy Askren: Purpose-Driven Brands Are Setting New Standards For Measurement

Andy Askren is the creative director and partner of Portland-based Grady Britton, a Certified B Corporation and full-service branding, marketing and PR agency that is doing business as a force of good with clients who have a Will To Be Great. 

Can The ESG Movement Create An Accepted Metric?

In today’s social, political and economic climate (not to mention the climate climate), consumers are wary.

They are more discerning than ever about what their dollars are supporting – and who. People are increasingly choosing to work for and do business with brands who are constant in their brand values, stand for them day in, day out, and are steadfast in their transparency, empathy, and corporate character.

Still, according to the IPSOS 2022 Reputation Council, many brands and organizations are struggling with a lack of standardization when it comes to increasingly important (and visible) environment, social and corporate governance (ESG) markers guiding their companies’ behaviors. For many companies, digging into their missions and leading with impact is new territory.
For others, such as Certified B Corporations, this is not a gray area at all. These mission-driven companies are creating a movement and becoming the rule — not the exception. They are affecting real business change and are highly successful by capitalism standards, yet doing work that has both human and environmental impacts with less standardized metrics to them.
The question is: can those standards become less “subjective” – more intuitive and equally valued as traditionally accepted sales and marketing principles are? Can this growing movement create an accepted metric or margin? Will established companies adopt them? Will new companies simply start with them as their norm?
I think that many are well on their way. We see a growing number of examples of brands turning theory into action – taking on climate crisis, alleviating poverty and advancing racial justice by disrupting legacies of racism and oppression. Now more than ever, brand leaders are invited to press into and reflect on their company missions — their “Why”, how they partner, how they make decisions and how they measure success and create impact. Driving business with a purpose-driven mindset is fast becoming more tangible, meaningful and real to consumers at the everyday human level – especially now when times feel uncertain.
This is work that cannot be faked, but it can certainly be felt. Let’s call it “work with lasting worth.”