Brands that dare go beyond profit are winning

4 min readJan 28, 2020


At Heydays, we believe that companies who genuinely build their businesses upon environmentally and socially sustainable values will have the most successful brands of tomorrow. In other words, we think for-profit companies can and should be built on more than just financial values. And we’re beginning to see the results in those who do.

When creating the new brand communication for Whereby (formerly, we looked deep into their internal culture. Embedded in both their internal values and their product, we built their brand to emphasize the advantages of flexible work: To give people the freedom to live and work where they flourish.

There’s a radical change taking place in the market right now. In part triggered by the climate crisis, we’re currently witnessing a break-through in both environmentally and socially conscious brands. The companies behind these brands are motivated to take a stand and raise their voice in current and often problematic topics related to their field of business.

Turning beliefs into branding

Companies founded on these kinds of values and principles are indeed better suited to create more engaging content and build deeper relations with their customers. In addition, we’d argue that they are better equipped to meet new needs, they have more thriving company cultures, and they help fuel the public dialogue.

Studies imply that a staggering 86% of consumers expect companies to take a stand for social causes.

And we’re backed by research. Consumers choose brands that align with their own values and principles. Studies imply that a staggering 86% of consumers expect companies to take a stand for social causes. And they’re supporting that stand with their purchases. Meanwhile, people wouldn’t care if 77% of brands disappeared, which makes us believe something is wrong in how companies are approaching their audience. The potential for brands matching this need is huge!

We’re hiring people for their minds, but our mind is occupied. When rebranding Whereby, we gave attention to the consequences of today’s rigid and stressful work culture. Because it impacts the way we create things, and how we see our lives.

Woke-washing won’t cut it

Unfortunately, we see woke-washing everywhere. Countless companies market themselves as more conscious than what they can live up to. More gay, more organic, more feminist, more balanced, more transparent, more diverse, more whatever fits this week’s news cycle. They’re undermining the industry from the inside, hijacking causes and selfishly blurring the public conversation. It threatens sustainable values as believable brand assets.

Luckily, consumers are mostly quick to call bullshit on companies pushing baseless messaging. Especially younger generations experience distrust in brands. The majority (56%) think that companies, in general, are less committed to a social cause than they claim.

Finding your roots — and proving them

So let’s say your company has one or more values that extend beyond the financial. How do you turn them into a tool?

  1. Embed it into your culture
    From an outsider’s perspective, your company’s visual identity can look friendly, modern, playful, bold, you name it. But it’s your internal company culture that forms your heart and soul. That’s where the values, visions, ambitions, and ideas lie. In the end, a brand is only as strong as the humans it represents.
  2. Make it a feature of your product
    If you’re manufacturing car tires, don’t base your marketing on feminism. Your ultimate proof of purpose should be baked into your products. When Whereby takes a stand against unhealthy working conditions, it’s logical. Their beliefs align with the nature of their product (a video conferencing solution that lets you work from wherever suits you best).
  3. Turn it into action
    People are bombarded by advertisements and messaging from companies everywhere they go. Most of us have grown to ignore it or distrust it. Furthermore, people have absolutely no interest in taking the time to “get” your brand. To prove commitment and break through the fuzz, deeds are better than words. The key is not to make promises, but keeping them. Over and over again.
  4. Stand behind it
    If you stick your nose out, you’ll probably get some unplanned attention. You might even have to spend precious time dealing with troublesome individuals, while it also might not, in the beginning, convert as many customers as you’d have hoped. But if you care enough about it, you’re ready to take that risk. It’ll probably be worthwhile in the end.
  5. Make sure it fits an audience
    You’re most likely a for-profit company, so let’s admit it. Enough of your audience must share your beliefs. The messages your brand is putting out must align with the values of a good portion of your customers. But if they do, your customers will reward you with loyalty and promotion.

At Heydays, we love authentic, good-hearted brands as much as consumers. Companies that are committed to increasing wellbeing and genuinely want to add something good to society are by far the most rewarding clients we work with. That’s why we started Goods, a new venture focused on environmental sustainability in consumer goods and packaging. And we keep developing Heydays to be the leading design and brand specialist for do-good-for-profit brands.

Recently we worked with the great people at Whereby. Upcoming: An article about how we helped redefine their brand and how they want to inspire people to get out of the stressful, efficiency-focused life we all tend to live.


Stein Haugen
Design Director at Heydays




We launch and grow meaningful companies by helping them with strategic advice, brand development and digital product design.