Reading book
May 06, 2014 • By

5 brands with purpose

What do you stand for? How are you leaving your mark on your community or on the world? Are you living the change you want to see?

Typically, you may not ask yourself these questions walking the aisles of the grocery store.

But, as consumers get smarter about the products they bring home to their families, their purchase decisions are going beyond just what tastes good or what comes at the best price.

Today, they want – and have come to expect – more from brands. Consumers want brands that align with our values, take a stance on social issues and overall stand for something that impacts the greater good.

A recent survey by social responsibility marketing agency Good.Must.Grow. found that 30 percent of consumers plan to increase the amount of goods and/or services they buy from socially responsible companies in the coming year.


Consumers noted that purchasing purpose-driven brands allow them to give back to their local community more consistently or simply support positive change.

In his book “The Story of Purpose,” Joey Reiman says companies who prioritize purpose can have a larger impact on the well-being of consumers and society:

“…business can create a positive presence in the world. By being the hero in the larger story of life, business can revitalize the sectors of health, education and equality … The best companies and brands are built on purpose…”

General Mills Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Mark Addicks shares his perspective on how brand philanthropy has evolved at General Mills and what consumers expect from brands today, in this video,

General Mills traces its cause marketing roots back to Betty Crocker’s relationship with homemakers in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Betty’s radio show offered not only practical baking help to radio listeners, but sought to boost the morale of homemakers through difficult eras of American history.

As Mark explains, our brands have naturally woven causes relevant to consumers into their DNA. Today, General Mills operates some of the largest and most successful brand philanthropy programs in the U.S. – Here are five:



Cheerios’ Cheer on Reading program (formerly known as Spoonfuls of Stories) has distributed 77 million children’s books since 2002 inside specially marked boxes of Cheerios cereal.

Most recently, the program spurred the donation of more than 25,000 books to Little Free Library, an organization that champions free book exchanges in neighborhoods around the world.

nature valley

Nature Valley

The Nature Valley Preserve the Parks initiative partners the brand with the National Parks Conservation Association to help restore national parks. With donations to-date totaling $1.8 million and counting, the program has helped to support preservation projects at eight national parks across the country.

cascadian farm

Cascadian Farm

Bees and other native pollinators play an essential role in agriculture. Unfortunately, up to 60 percent of honeybees disappear every year due to colony collapse disorder. The goal of Cascadian Farm’s Building Bee Habitats program is to increase and sustain the population of bees to a level that will enable continued, consistent pollination across many diverse food crops.

green giant

Green Giant

One of the biggest threats to the health and happiness of children today is bullying. When a child is bullied by a peer it can turn his or her life into a daily gauntlet of fear and anxiety. To encourage kids to stand up to bullying Green Giant launched the Raise a Giant program last year, in partnership with PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center and We Day Minnesota.



For the last 15 years, Yoplait has contributed more than $50 million for the breast cancer cause through programs like Save Lids to Save Lives, Pink Together and Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure  Series.

pledge your part

In October 2013, Yoplait introduced Pledge Your Part, a new online initiative designed to encourage and empower everyone to make a pledge to help fight breast cancer, whether through saving lids, participating in a breast cancer awareness event, or in any way they choose.