Leading with Purpose
Updated: Sep 12, 2022
Positively making an impact beyond what your offer is crucial for all organizations as customer expectations are at all time high. Per Transmission's, "The State of B2B Brand Building 2022", B2B marketing leaders state "a drive to improve their social purpose to become authentic, empathetic and transparent in their relationships with customers and employees." Yet, many organizations struggle to genuinely embrace and activate the impact for the greater good. How can you elevate a central pillar in an organization to deliver actionable change?
Brand purpose is the answer to why your company exists, why you do what you do. It’s the difference you strive to create and in return, it increases your brand relevance and distinctiveness. Purpose can be defined as social good like Tom’s buy-one-give-one shoe policy, cultural influence like Dove, or responsibly sourced materials like Patagonia.
When creating and activating brand purpose, it's increasingly important to be true to your core identity so customers do not sense inauthenticity. And transparent communication of your impact is critical to avoid "green-washing or purpose-washing" (e.g. misrepresenting your cause-based actions for commercial gain). A compelling and meaningful purpose immediately creates a deeper customer-brand relationship built on shared values. Per the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer, "58% of people will buy or advocate for a brand based on their beliefs and values."
OneSight, an independent non-profit sponsored by EssilorLuxottica, is committed to providing people across communities access to vision care and glasses because "when the world sees better, the world lives better."
Their solutions are multi-faceted focusing on the eco-system of providing vision care to communities in short-term and sustaining ways. And "like glasses, they are transparent" with financials and impact on who they serve.
Creating brand purpose has benefits internally as well. Knowing and delivering on purpose can be a core differentiator to drive connection not just among customers, but with employees. According to research conducted by Gartner, "65% of employees report they would like to work for organizations with a strong social and environmental conscience, which includes making statements about and taking action on the social and political issues they care about." As employee engagement is becoming alarmingly low, employers need to find a way to engage them, not only for their well-being but for the company's well-being as well for meeting goals. Including employees' perspectives and desires related to social issues and crafting a shared purpose statement increases connection and retention. This article by PR Daily offers great perspective from a recent college grad on the expectations younger employees have for their companies.
Cisco has consistently accolades for being a best place to work. Their purpose is "power an inclusive future for all" with "96% of employees at Cisco say it is a great place to work compared to 57% of employees at a typical U.S.-based company." (Source: https://www.greatplacetowork.com/certified-company/1000064)
Companies that do not live up to their purpose mission face backlash from employees or social media pressures. Per Just Capital's environmental, social and governance analysis, Amazon ranks 569th in investing in its employees and 547th of 954 companies in accountability to stakeholders including workers, customers, community and the environment.
Purpose is incredibly important for organizations in order to attract and retain talent and customers. Creating an identity rooted in your purpose puts your company in a position to grow your brand and bottom line.
The Brand Evaluator is a joint venture of independent brand builders – Michelle Thompson, BrandSpark Design and Christine Sech, Brave Oak Brand Building. We work with emerging businesses to clearly and meaningfully convey an organization’s value through brand building strategy, design and content that drives results.
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