Upsurge in Purpose: More Brands Doing Well While Doing Good

Beyond “social good” companies, annual reputation ranking shows broader influence of purpose-driven brands post-COVID

The pandemic has had more impact on business and brands than any other singular event over the last century. As Sean Keathley, president and CEO of Adrenaline described it on the Believe in Banking Podcast: “This was like a strong economy being hit by a meteor. This was not subtle. And you’ve just had so many consumers impacted.” So massive is COVID’s influence, companies have transformed the way they deliver their business, putting purpose at the center of their organizations as never before and making a commitment to truly living their values out loud.

Now, an indexed list by advertising agency Strawberry Frog and reputation management firm RepTrak that normally spotlights companies already known for doing good – like REI, Ben & Jerry’s or Seventh Generation that have regularly cracked the top-20 – is demonstrating just how much has changed, with rising ranks of everyday brands showing up and showing out. “There’s just a broader purpose landscape today,” according to Chip Walker, head of strategy at StrawberryFrog, as outlined in AdAge. “There are more ways people are giving brands credit for being purposeful, not just limited to a few smaller social good brands.”

With four prime indicators, the Purpose Power Index rankings recognize brands based on: “The extent to which they have a higher purpose beyond profits, benefit the lives of people and communities, improve society as a whole and change the world for the better.” Post-COVID trends include industry giants – those with $10 billion + in revenue – getting more acknowledgment for delivering what society needs at an unprecedented moment, from pharmaceuticals developing vaccines to companies delivering PPE and safety products. 

What we’re witnessing post-pandemic is the relationship between a company’s reputation and their purpose becoming true driver of consumer choice. “The pandemic has shifted consumer priorities toward brands with strong values, with 60% needing to believe in what a brand stands for before buying,” as we outlined in ways for Banking to Live the Power of Purpose. But purpose must be both lived and believed. “It can’t just be a statement that resides on the wall of the boardroom,” according to Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, from RepTrak. “You’ve really got to find a way to identify with the movement and activate in a tangible, authentic way.”

To see the full list of brands – from SpaceX and Zoom to USAA and Etsy – visit the Purpose Power Index. How is your financial institution embracing a purpose-driven approach? We want to hear from you. Share your story by tagging Believe in Banking on our social channels or contact us at

Photo Credit: 3M Headquarters, August, 2019