The Mission-Driven Brand Advantage

by Drew Beechler - Director of Marketing

At the beginning of November, we had the privilege of hosting Kristin Groos Richmond, the CEO and Co-Founder of Revolution Foods, and some members of her team here at High Alpha. Kristin was our guest speaker at our Speaker Series in the morning, where she dug into the mission behind Revolution Foods, her journey with the business, and leadership lessons she’s learned along the way.

The event itself was phenomenal, and I highly encourage anyone to watch the recording from the event (embedded at the end of this post). Something that Kristin began talking about during the event, though, really stuck with me.

She talked a great deal about the mission for Revolution Foods: “To transform the way America eats by providing access to healthy, affordable meals.” For some context, Revolution Foods is a for-profit, B Corporation—a company “that includes positive impact on society, workers, the community and the environment in addition to profit as its legally defined goals.”

As Kristin was talking about the success and growth they’ve seen, she mentioned the differentiation and brand advantage Revolution has from being a mission-driven organization. I wanted to dive deeper and unpack a little of what it means to have a mission-driven brand advantage and how that advantage plays out on a business.

What Is a Mission-Driven Brand Advantage?

A mission-driven brand advantage is simply the benefit and differentiation a brand has when it’s tied to larger, purposeful mission. You see this all the time with non-profits, but you can also see it with many for-profit businesses like Revolution Foods.

TOMS shoes are another great example. Their One for One.® model and mission are core to their identity as a company, even as a for-profit business. Studies show that the stock for “meaningful brands” have outperformed the stock market by 206% over the last 10 years. Why are mission-driven brands outperforming their peers? I think there are a number of competitive advantages you see when looking at these brands.

Benefits of a Mission-Driven Brand Advantage

You attract amazing talent.

People want to work for companies that are making a difference in the world. They want their work to be meaningful and impactful. When you’re a mission-driven brand, this gives you an extraordinary differentiator when recruiting the best team and leadership.

“There is a tremendous benefit from a talent standpoint to having a mission and a focus that really resonates with top talent.” — Kristin Groos Richmond

You’re also able to recruit team members who have an authentic passion for your mission, making them even more invested in your company and success.

You attract amazing partners.

Revolution Foods also has an amazing board of directors and investors, including Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and AOL Co-Founder Steve Case. Having a mission-driven brand advantage also works its way into attracting amazing partners — whether that’s your board of directors, investors, or corporate partners.

Kristin also mentioned that Arne Duncan said when he joined the board that he was specifically looking for ventures that had accomplished some scale with impact and that he thought could actually change systems. The best advisors, investors, and partners want to partner with companies who are truly making a difference.

Kristin even noted that she believes there’s currently an excess of capital out there for values-driven companies focused on systems change, and we just need more deal flow. We are even seeing more large foundations putting some money toward value-based investing.

You attract amazing customers.

I believe a third benefit revolves around the amazing customers you attract as a mission-driven brand. In fact, recent studies show that 79% of consumers prefer to purchase products from a brand that operates with a social purpose (Economist Purpose Study 2018).

Not only do consumers want to buy more from mission-driven brands, but they, just like your employees, are also more loyal—they’re deeply bought into your company and its success. 42% of people would even pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact (2014 Nielsen Do Well By Doing Good Report).

The fact of the matter is that there is a clear advantage to being a mission-driven brand, and whether you are pioneering a food revolution or building software, you can hopefully find your mission-driven brand advantage and find the deeper meaning and purpose to what you’re building.

Be sure to watch the full recording from our Speaker Series with Kristin below or recordings from all of our previous Speaker Series events here!