We know that businesses with a strong sense of purpose continually outperform those without one.
How? And why? The reasons are surprisingly straightforward.
A business with a stronger sense of purpose has a better connection to its staff.
Staff who feel they are 'doing good' at work undoubtedly perform better than those who are merely a cog in a machine.
Younger people demand employers who demonstrate how they are 'doing the right thing'. And successful organisations need staff who are engaged, motivated and smart.
There are many examples of businesses that use their purpose to inspire customers.
From a consumer standpoint, Toms, the shoemaker, distributes one pair of shoes to a child in the developing world for every pair sold. When a company demonstrates an authentic purpose, consumers feel a connection to the products and company.
They will often choose products with purpose, even if they’re not the cheapest.
Businesses will undoubtedly benefit from a stronger, enhanced reputation when their purpose is deeply ingrained in everything they do.
Employees tell the story, consumers choose your product over your competitors, investors feel more confident, and stakeholders positively engage.
Is your business is ready to articulate and deliver on a purpose?
Purpose is not a set of values, a mission or a vision. Purpose is absolutely not a marketing tool, to provide a glossy veneer – that would be purpose-wash.
Purpose explains an organisation's very existence. It must be lived, felt and experienced by staff, suppliers, customers and consumers.
So, what are the tools needed to succeed?
Strong senior support is vital. Without it, any attempt to embed purpose could fall at the first hurdle, or worse, be seen solely as an initiative, with no real meaning behind it.
While purpose draws on your vision, mission and values, it goes beyond, and explores why organisations exist. The creation of a core narrative around purpose helps to shape everything the organisation does, from new product development to hiring staff.
Galvanised employees are imperative. Regardless of how disparate they are, or how challenging it might be to engage them, this group will be key in helping to embed your purpose and act as your best advocates.
Having a flexible approach allows you test and respond, shape ideas with different audiences at different stages and continually adapt, and improve.
Defining your purpose and establishing a programme to deliver on it is a significant undertaking, and demands a long-term approach. But if your organisation has the will to 'do the right thing', the result will be a more successful business.
Because good business is good for business.
Victoria Page is director at Claremont Communications