Students get a preview into purpose Reply

By Katie Peters1851 Staff 

Kevin Walther gave a compelling presentation on purpose marketing. Photo courtesy of Kevin Walther

Graduate students in the communication department participated in a discussion-based presentation on Wednesday, March 20 in Science and Technology Center room 232 led by Kevin Walther, an expert in the Boston area on purpose marketing, social impact and corporate responsibility.

The focus of Walther’s presentation was how companies can use cause marketing to help grow their businesses.

The Northeastern University alumwas able to connect with his audience and have a meaningful conversation. “I want to keep this conversation, because of our size, pretty informal,” he said. “I really wanted to make sure you get out everything that you want to get out of the conversation and really keep it very interactive.”

The audience, mainly graduate students from a course taught by Communication Professor Dr. Janice Barrett, brought interesting perspectives to the discussion. “We have a very interesting class from all around the world learning about these approaches we have in American business, which is really important,” Barrett said.

Walther currently works for Porter Novelli, a public relations firm based out of New York City, as the Account Supervisor. His job involves guiding corporations and non-governmental organizations through the realms of social impact, non-profit partnership, cause marketing, and employee engagement. During this discussion, Walther used real world examples with companies he has worked with, and demonstrated how the concepts play out in real-world scenarios.

Walther defined purpose as the mission of the business and why it exists to serve society. He highlighted the importance of keeping a mission consistent throughout every part of the brand.

Patagonia, for example, is a clothing brand that made it part of their mission to find solutions for environmental issues. Elements of this mission can be seen all throughout the company from their stores, to advertisements and to environmental programs.

“From a media perspective, purpose can be integrated [into a business], but if that’s going to be a key message you need to make sure the company is really standing behind it,” Walther said.

Towards the end, the audience asked questions around purpose behind companies, which Walther answered in detail.

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