• Lindsay Grace Kinniburgh

5 ways to build purpose into your organisation

5 ways to build purpose into your organisation

As we pivot from crisis to recovery, an opportunity has emerged for leaders to focus on what a post-pandemic world will look like.

COVID-19 has had a profound impact on almost all aspects of our daily lives. New habits are emerging, from how we connect and communicate to how we shop, cook and even exercise.

Life has been transformed, but this isn’t just a time for readjustment and healing. We’ve entered into a new phase; one that’s challenging old beliefs and outdated business models. Individuals are waking up to the realisation that Earth is facing a critical time and positive change is needed more than ever.

Survivability is everyone’s responsibility. We can no longer look only to Governments and Institutions to direct us on how to care for people and the planet. Organisations now play a crucial role in reducing our collective consumption footprint by inviting consumers to make better choices.

“In this together” isn't just a strapline.

Previously, good business was generally synonymous with making a profit and satisfying shareholders. Today, however, success is associated with a new benchmark, typically referred to as Purpose.

Brand Purpose has been simmering in the background for years but it’s been a combination of COVID-19 and many other important factors including the reality of the climate crisis, Black Lives Matter movement and Gen Z buying power that has really propelled purpose to the fore.

People adjusting their personal values has led to a shift in traditional consumer behaviours. Consumers are no longer tolerant of companies that operate without a sense of value. There is a new expectation for brands, and it’s shaped by consumers calling for companies that are prepared to make a positive difference in the world.

A Brand Purpose Tracker study by MediaCom showed that 84% of respondents agreed that brands have a responsibility to minimise their environmental impact. Not only this, but people are increasingly looking for businesses to step up and to take action.

Edelman’s 2019 Trust Barometer research found that 79% of people felt that CEOs should take the lead on change rather than wait for governments to impose it. Their 2020 Barometer showed that 81% of consumers expect brands to do the right thing and 71% agreed that placing profit before people will lose their trust forever.

Building purpose into your organisation isn’t as simple as implementing a casual CSR strategy or donating to a local charity. Social business must be taken seriously, there are big challenges ahead. Purpose involves many important factors such as authenticity, building trust, connecting with consumers and, most importantly, backing up value statements with meaningful actions.

Moving into the purpose-driven space, and doing so with sincerity, can make your brand a powerful instrument that’s good for people and the planet.

Here are 5 ways to build purpose into your organisation:

  1. Find your why

  2. Motivate your people

  3. Show up bravely

  4. Develop a purpose-driven strategy

  5. Unleash your message

1. Find your Why

What impact do you want to have on the world around you? To become a purpose-driven brand, start with a deep understanding of where you are now and what difference you want to make. Do you dream of ending global poverty like Australian body care brand, Thankyou, or restoring the sight of people in need through sight-saving surgery like the for-profit company, TOMS?

As a founder or CEO, you may already know your brand purpose, or it may come from a collective goal driven by the people within your organisation.

Discovering your reason for being and what propels you out of bed in the morning is the first step in how to build brand purpose into your organisation.

2. Motivate your people

Take inspiration from the phrase, 'leave no woman/man behind'.

Your purpose should affect every person in the business, not just leaders. If the C-suite executives are connected to the brand's purpose and the rest of the workforce remains in the dark, there's a dangerous disconnection between your purpose and your people.

When embedded into the organisation's culture, purpose can drive motivation, higher employee engagement, loyalty and turn employees into the best brand ambassadors your company could ask for.

Working to achieve a purpose-driven goal is also much more exciting and successful when everybody in the organisation is focused on the same outcome.

Motivated people and a high-performing culture drive a high-performing company.

3. Show up bravely

Becoming purpose-led isn't for every business. It's for companies that genuinely care about their impact. They are inspired to improve communities, pioneer environmental change and create legacies associated with a positive contribution to the world.

With our planet facing so many large scale challenges, organisations today have the opportunity to reshape their environment and introduce sustainable practices and better ways to operate.

Building a purpose-driven brand means showing up and being unafraid to stand for something.

Nike's purpose is to "unite the world through sport to create a healthy planet, active communities and an equal playing field for all." Nike is an example of a company that shows up bravely, they stand on the right side of what matters.

4. Develop a purpose-driven strategy

Purposeful companies place purpose at the heart of the business strategy. If there is no clear connection between purpose and strategy, its value fades fast. Sitting at the core of the business strategy allows purpose to direct day-to-day decisions, leverage opportunities for impact and growth and keeps purpose at the top of everyone’s mind, every day.

Patagonia, Dove and Charity: water is just a handful of brands that link their success to a strong purpose-driven strategy.

5. Unleash your message

To take hold, your purpose should be clearly understood and communicated within your organisation. It should be repeated and reinforced through storytelling and meaningful marketing messages that differentiate your company from competitors.

Tentree is an earth-first lifestyle apparel brand that believes big change starts small.

To achieve its goal of planting 1 billion trees by 2030, the brand made the conscious decision to focus on purpose-driven marketing campaigns and corporate sponsorships. Through meaningful marketing messages and strategic partnerships, the brand supports an important environmental movement and brings together a large community that makes tree planting more accessible.

Their 'Double Tap to Plant' campaign resulted in over 15 million social media users (including organic endorsements from celebrities) actively helping to spread Tentree's mission to plant more trees.

To conclude:

Building purpose into your organisation is a journey. Expect challenges, but also know that the impact and rewards for the business, people and the planet will keep you and your team motivated. You're in business for a purpose, make it a good purpose!

Want to learn more about finding and integrating purpose into the heart of your business and marketing communications?

Take a look at our new brand purpose DNA workshop. The course helps businesses (large and small) create an ecosystem that connects a brand’s purpose to touchpoints, philosophies and people.

Thanks for dropping by our purpose-driven marketing blog. We appreciate your support and passion for brand purpose

Lindsay Grace Kinniburgh

Founder & CMO at Outsourced imagination


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