Mars, Inc is much more than a candy bar.

Recently, purpose marketing has taken off; from Nike’s emotionally and politically charged ads to Gillette tackling toxic masculinity. Now, Mars, Inc is taking a stand, speaking out for the first time in over 100 years to focus on issues like climate change, pet homelessness and worker conditions.

With Mars bars, M&M’s, Twix, and Snickers in their pocket, one often assumes Mars, Inc is solely about that chocolate bar life. But, what’s not immediately clear is the company’s commitment to its moral ethos. For example, they refuse to market to kids in an effort to fight obesity and have taken out artificial colouring in their confectionary. They also make a ton of pet food, everything from Whiskas to Pedigree and is one of the largest operators of veterinary hospitals in North America.

While their modus operandi has often been dedicated to moral business practices, recently they’ve gone through a rebrand. Their new mission statement, “Tomorrow Starts Today” works to cement themselves as a pro-human, animal, and environmental rights-friendly brand.

Mars, Incorporated was started by Franklin Clarence Mars in 1911. Mars was taught by his mother to dip chocolate bars, and eventually, hired his son, Forrest Mars. Forrest branched off, starting his own candy bar business.

The company is still family-owned, but with $35 billion in annual revenue, they’ve come a long way from dipping their own chocolate bars. Private ownership also gives the company the freedom to experiment with initiatives like sustainability and positive impacts on communities.

Some of their current initiatives include GoMo™ Dal Crunchies, a yellow pea-based snack that combats malnutrition in India, and Banfield’s industry-leading Veterinary Student Debt Relief Program where Mars, Inc. helps veterinarian students and recent graduates pay off debt. They also have a sustainability plan, efforts to uplift and empower women, and many other plans to make the world a better place.

Mars’ rebrand and messaging came after years of silence from the company and the Mars family. Notorious for their low-profile and secrecy surrounding the business, this shift in communication could be seen as necessary in the global shift towards open-communication that came about from social media marketing. Now, much advertising and interaction between brands and their audience happen online. People are expecting more than a simple press-statement from brands, especially those with as much influence on the world as Mars, Inc.

Stephen Badger, great-grandson to founder Frank Mars and son of heiress Jacqueline Mars, now serves as chairman of the board for Mars Inc. He also has a new mission for the company: To let the public in on Mars, Inc. Badger wants to tell their story — before someone else does.

“We made a very conscious decision after quite a lot of discussion and disagreement over many years to fundamentally shift what had been a tradition for essentially 100 years, to pivot and engage the external world,” Badger said. “We’ve also recognized that there are some issues that are so significant, they warrant our participation in terms of putting ourselves into the dialogue.”

From a marketing standpoint, we can learn a lot from Mars. They’ve clearly defined their mission statement and built campaigns that embody it while bettering the world. They’ve aligned their brand as “Family-owned, future-facing, and action-driven.”

They’ve also recognized the necessity of being accessible to the public. People want to interact and engage with a brand online. It’s how you build trust and loyalty that dives deeper than just purchasing a product.

Rebranding in our current socio-climate, with purpose-driven marketing at an all-time high, is a clever and moral move.