A purpose — driven business. Sounds inspiring and desirable, but what does it really mean?
A business isn’t actually a business if it’s not financially sustainable, but that doesn’t mean that the relentless pursuit of the latest ‘x figure’ should be its only goal. There are other factors at play here too. Creativity, quality of work, customer relationships, just to mention a few.
We live in times where businesses should not be about achieving financial targets, but creating a nurturing environment for the employees, serving a greater cause, leaving a legacy, contributing to a better life.
Purpose — Driven Brands Create a Nurturing Environment
If in our cases the connections we have with other people reflect our relationship with ourselves, for business alike, a purpose driven brand starts from within.
Kathy Miller Perkins writes into an article on Forbes that the best way to make your purpose and principles authentic is to embed them into your culture. In terms of actions that will get you started, she recommends making your purpose and values your north star, eliminating practices that do not align clearly with your stated commitments and last but not least, pursuing a new and inspiring goal related to your purpose and principles.
Culture of Purpose
A higher purpose is not about economic exchanges. It reflects something more aspirational. It demands long-term vision and a flexible framework to support it. And it starts within.
Creating a Purpose-Driven Brand is not an easy task. Throw-out my career I worked with hundreds of teams trying to build relevant and sustainable brands. And what I’ve noticed, as a pattern, is that they were all surprised of how much time and clarity you need to invest, in order to reach a conclusion. The broader the decision-makers team, the harder it is to have a desirable outcome. Most of the times, articulating your purpose starts with eliminating and decluttering redundant ideas. And deep diving into your core, with authenticity and bravery.
Purpose Driven Brands Outperform the Competition
Maybe you heard it before, but purpose is the most important element when building a brand. A well-articulated and embedded Purpose will get you another two Ps you’d love: People and Profit. A report issued by Ernst and Young in May 2016 titled “Winning with Purpose” stated that “Purpose-led companies outperformed the S&P 500 by 10 times between 1996 and 2011.” And this is just to start!
So, this is it! The purpose of a company is not to make money. It is imperative to make money, of course, but it is not the purpose. The purpose is to enrich lives, to engage communities, to deliver happiness.
Fact: customers prefer brands with a clear purpose
Think about this: you go to a party and there you meet a few people. You’ll stick to those who are like you, who share your values and principles. You will want to befriend with someone with a clear state of mind and with passions.
Another fact: people engage with purpose
The same applies in choosing your options: from meals to clothes, from travel destination to the books you read. We want the goods, but we also want the story or the purpose behind.
Cultivate Purpose Within Your Own Organisation
Start with WHY, which is defining your purpose. But before being able to embed the purpose into your business structure, you must understand what your business is. What is and what isn’t your business about? Those two questions also require an honest answer.
A very good example of an effective purpose statement is Google’s mission to „organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Then you need to clarify the WHAT and HOW.
Be honest with yourself. Be authentic. Be real. All the elements that build your business will have an impact; from supply chain to performance management, from culture within to external engagement — every piece of the brand puzzle is linked to the real purpose.
Then, DISCOVER the purpose. And that, my dears, it’s a whole process.
That’s why we need fewer slogans and more action.
That’s why we need a focused and fierce vision to grow our organization or brand.
That’s why we need to create purpose-driven strategies, ideas, initiatives, and actions.
All you need to understand, regardless of the maturity of your organization, is that a brand is not just an external promise. A brand is reflected at all levels, especially within the organization.
If are keen on finding yours, check my Purpose Cultivating & Embedding Lab, where I will help you transform your business into a purpose-driven model and understand how to build a focused timeframe