Does your business have to be purpose-driven?

It might be controversial but our purpose at Twenty One Twelve is to help our clients grow and make more profit. In the process, we intend to create a profitable business ourselves. 

Why’s that controversial?

Because people are increasingly concerned with the sustainability and provenance surrounding what they buy and who they buy it from. That’s supposedly more true for younger consumers,  which makes complete sense. As consumers ourselves, the team here at Twenty One Twelve is careful in their choices.


“Consumers between the ages of 17 – 38 are almost twice as likely to consider ESG issues when making purchasing decisions than consumers over 38 years old.” (PWC)


This trend isn’t just important within the B2C space, increasingly B2B brands need to prove their ESG credentials:


    1. According to a 2020 study by Gartner, 75% of organisations are planning to include ESG criteria in their procurement process by 2024, up from less than 25% in 2020. 
    2. A 2021 survey by EY found that 98% of institutional investors consider non-financial performance, including ESG factors, when evaluating investment opportunities in B2B companies. 
    3. A 2019 global survey conducted by ING revealed that 61% of businesses said they would lose competitive advantage if they didn’t adopt sustainable practices, including ESG-related initiatives.


But let’s not confuse being a purpose-driven brand, like Patagonia, with being a good brand which follows solid and ethical practices and principles. The two aren’t the same.

And the idea that every business needs to be purpose-driven doesn’t quite sit right with us. Simply jumping on a bandwagon to make yourselves look virtuous doesn’t make sense. It feels disingenuous. 

We’re big believers that if we’re profitable, it makes it easier for us to deliver wins for our clients, partners, suppliers, the Twenty One Twelve team and the charities we support.

For example, our team likes to get involved in a myriad of charity initiatives. From raising money by running half marathons to being a core part of the team behind Henley Lockdown Fest – a virtual festival during lockdown which raised over £25,000 for the NHS and the Henley-on-Thames based-charity, The Riverside Counselling Trust.

We also advise our clients in this regard. From a selfish point of view, it gives them the edge over their competitors – would you choose the brand that donates to charity or the one that pockets all the profits? It also makes our clients feel good about themselves but they don’t consider themselves purpose-driven.

Consumers don’t want purpose constantly shoved in their face. Too much virtue signalling, bandwagon jumping or high horsing, makes you look disingenuous. People mainly want to know the brand is well and sustainably operated and, if it gives back then that’s a bonus.

For Twenty One Twelve client FOMO mortgages, we added a philanthropic element to the brand to mirror the values of its founder and to endear it to consumers. If you remortgage through FOMO for example, a donation will be made to Ecologi to help offset your carbon footprint.

At this point, the ESG agenda and greenwashing are too well known to fool an informed audience. But, if you can be more authentic in your approach to your company’s purpose, a focus on ESG goals can still be a powerful tool. 

Of course, the success of this tactic depends on your audience, which is worth considering when you’re thinking about designing a purpose around your brand.

If you do go down this route, stick to it rigidly and be prepared – this point of difference will cost you money.


“A true brand purpose doesn’t boost profit, it sacrifices it” – Mark Ritson


And that’s the truth of the matter, if you’re not prepared to sacrifice profit by staying true to your purpose, it’s not a purpose at all.

Get in touch with us if you’re scoping out your brand strategy.

How to find a name for your fledgling business

A lot of people would suggest it’s not overly important. But I would argue you still need to consider:

  1. What first springs to mind when you hear it?
  2. How easy is it to say and remember?
  3. What does it actually mean?
  4. Can you build brand consistency around it?
  5. Is it unique within your space?

It’s also important to be aware of any negative connotations it may hold.

Like when Coors Beer translated it’s slogan ‘turn it loose’ into Spanish, where it’s a colloquial term for diarrhoea. 

Or when Mercedes-Benz entered the Chinese market under the brand name “Bensi,” which means “rush to die.”

Now you may not be planning global domination but a new brand’s name is worth considering.

Creating a new brand

Our own name, Twenty One Twelve, is long and hard to remember. 

But it’s got a good story behind it, so we like it.

It’s a name that still bemuses people, is it inspired by a Canadian rock band from the seventies or the world-famous Henley Royal Regatta? Find out in this blog…

Would we choose it again? Probably, because meaningful names are few and far between.

For example, when considering a brand name for one of our client’s new ventures recently we went through it all:

  • Latin terms
  • Greek Mythology
  • Foreign language terms
  • Fusing serendipitous words to create new meanings

We then had to check that:

  • The domains were available (yes .com is important)
  • It wasn’t too similar to a competitor’s name
  • There were no negative connotations or meanings we had missed
  • It sounded good and was a little bit clever too

But don’t settle.

A brand needs a voice. The worst thing it can be is vanilla. 

Your name can be leveraged across your entire brand messaging.

Take our client FOMO Mortgages for example. FOMO or fear of missing out, is a name that we play on constantly with the company’s messaging –


Don’t miss out on the best mortgage deal

Don’t regret not protecting your family


These are rudimentary examples but they go to show that there’s a lot in a name, choose wisely.

And if you need help – reach out to us by emailing

Why did we call our agency Twenty One Twelve, way back in 2016?

A lot of people I meet are intrigued by the company’s name, Twenty One Twelve. Some assume I’m a massive fan of 70’s Canadian rock band, Rush – who released an album by the same name in 1976. But most are a bit bemused by it, it’s long and quite difficult to remember – so why on earth would a marketing agency choose it? Shouldn’t we be called something ultra modern and cool?

Twenty One Twelve Marketing was born in Henley-on-Thames way back in 2016. I had just won a UK Blog Award with the web design wizards over at Ri Web and the copywriting briefs were piling up. It was time to make the move from freelancer to agency and this humble start-up needed a name.

One thing all marketers know is the power of storytelling. The problem was, I didn’t have an exciting rags to riches saga. I’d never gone from a market stall to multi-millionaire ala Lord Sugar or leapt from welfare to riches like most internet entrepreneurs claim to have done. Instead, I was from the sleepy town of Henley-on-Thames.

When we first started Twenty One Twelve we solely focused on digital marketing for luxury brands. We’re more diverse now – offering services to B2B and professional services companies. But when the focus was luxury, Henley was a very useful place to be based and the town’s world-renowned regatta provided the perfect inspiration for the birth of a brand.

If you’ve never been to Henley Regatta, it’s worth a visit. The creme de la creme of rowers compete and both banks of the Thames are filled with bars and restaurants, including the ultimate hospitality experience that is The Hidden Garden. 

Completing the regatta course is quite a feat, or so I’m told. It’s long and choppy. So much so that Olympians won’t come to Henley during an Olympic year, because it’s bad practice for racing on the man-made Olympic courses that are shorter and calmer. 

The course length?

2112 metres. And so the name was born, Twenty One Twelve. Thought up by our old Director, Ryan Irving, we felt it was a good representation of our newly minted brand. It takes dedication and determination to complete the course of Henley Regatta – The cox must be precise as they guide the boat across the choppy, winding course and rowers have to rise above the frenetic noise of the madding crowds to keep their tempo and cool.

And despite not having a single rower in the team, the virtues of the regatta course represented everything we wanted our agency to be – precision marketing designed to drive commercial results.

Now, in 2023, we’ve grown into our name and we feel we’re everything we set out to be.

Need marketing support or guidance? Feel free to email us on to set up a friendly, no-obligations call.