Social Identity & the Path to Purpose

A recent report by Google1 found that consumers purchase products that engage them based on their passions 42% more often than they do those that simply urge them to buy the product being advertised. Why? Today’s consumers “shop with the same purpose that they consume [digital] content” and as a result, a customer’s path to purchase has quite literally become his/her path to purpose.

What’s the takeaway? Brands who can best relate their message to customers’ passions and interests will be more successful and “reap the rewards.” To do so, Altimeter says it starts with a focus on “Social Identity.”

In Leveraging Social Identity: Know and Engage Customers Better to Build More Valuable Relationships2, “Social Identity” is defined as the information about an individual available in social media, including profile data and ongoing social activity. At its core, Altimeter analyst Andrew Jones says Social Identity is “fundamentally about knowing customers better in order to engage them more effectively.”

The research report details how brands can leverage social data to drive meaningful business results through the customer decision process (the Google-defined “path to purpose”) and outlines how the data can be used throughout the Customer Lifecycle – the path from consumers’ Awareness to brand Advocacy.

  • Identify influencers and study their social network, so you can engage with them via WOM.
  • Identify potential buyers and find out when they are looking at or dissatisfied with a competitor.
  • Segment your customer base by tagging them (as “spent $500” or “is a loyalty member”, for example) and then research new audiences similar to existing customer segments.
  • Track your platform’s performance based on consumer social actions, “likes,” comments and shares.
  • Tailor your social media content according to your customers’ interests.
  • Share the collected insights with your sales and customer service agents to enhance their performance.

In short, Altimeter’s report finds that companies who understand their consumers’ social identity and market to their passions and sense of purpose – instead of simply showcasing a product – will be in a much stronger market position than ones that rely on less sophisticated approaches.

At CommandPost, we’ve invested a lot of time in developing our new Branded Channels application to help brands uncover their consumers’ social identities, segment social audiences based on level of engagement and content they engage with and drive more value from their social audience.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you uncover and successfully engage your customers on their “path to purpose”, give us a shout at


  1. When the Path to Purchase Becomes the Path to Purpose:
  2. Leveraging Social Identity: Know and Engage Customers Better to Build More Valuable Relationships: