Whether you’re an owner-operated small business, or a global mega-brand, your Purpose is the ‘why’ behind what you do – beyond just making a profit. It’s your guiding principle, the compelling reason that motivates your work.  

There is no doubt that connecting with your organisation’s purpose can have a seismic effect on brand equity, awareness and reputation.

Just take a look at what these three reports say:

Cone/Porter Novelli Purpose Study (2018) shows that companies that lead with purpose are more likely to build stronger relationships with customers. The study found that nearly 79% of Americans are more loyal to purpose-driven companies and 73% are willing to defend such a company.  

Kantar Consulting’s Global Monitor (2018) found that brands with a high sense of purpose have seen their brand valuation increase by 175% over the past 12 years, compared to the median growth rate of 86%.  

Zeno Strength of Purpose Study (2020) found that consumers are four times more likely to purchase from a company with a strong purpose, four times more likely to trust the company, and six times more likely to protect the company in the event of a misstep or public criticism. Additionally, it found that employees of these companies are four times more likely to stay in the organisation.  

When purpose becomes more than just a marketing strategy

Unearthing and articulating your business’s purpose is so much more than a feel-good marketing strategy. Nor is your purpose something you can conjure up overnight or on a whim. It’s not a clever marketing slogan or a catchy tagline. It’s an authentic and profound belief, a philosophy that permeates every aspect of your organisation, from your culture and operations to your products and services.

Unearthing your purpose is about digging deep into your organisation’s ethos, values, and beliefs. It’s a process of exploration and discovery that reveals the heart and soul of your brand – the essence of why you exist beyond merely turning a profit.

This purpose is not about what you do or how you do it, but why you do it. It’s the guiding light that fuels your passion, inspires your team, and creates a meaningful connection with your customers. 

Your purpose is your reason for being, the cause you champion and the difference you aim to make in the world. It’s the secret sauce that connects your organisation’s work – and your team’s work – to a greater good, one which is larger than, and connects, everyone. 

Consider a service organisation dedicated to improving the sustainability of businesses. Their core purpose might be to enable a greener future for the next generation. While they provide services like consulting and auditing, their ‘why’ goes beyond these. Their motivation is not merely to sell services but to make a positive impact on the world, to drive change, to inspire businesses to adopt sustainable practices.

Your purpose can lift up your stakeholders, your clients and your team

Embracing your purpose means living it every day. It’s not just something your organisation talks about; it’s something you demonstrate through your actions, decisions, and behaviours. It’s a part of your DNA, embedded in your culture, influencing your strategies, and guiding your growth.

Your purpose also serves as an internal compass, guiding your team and influencing your culture. It fosters unity, motivates your employees, and creates a sense of shared identity. It helps attract and retain talent that resonates with your values, contributing to a more engaged and passionate team.

Purpose can seriously up your branding game

The majority of brands find that taking a purpose-driven approach resonates deeply with their audience. 

Today’s consumers are not just buying a product or service; they’re buying into what you stand for. They’re seeking brands that align with their values, that have a higher purpose, and that contribute to the greater good. We know for a fact that customers are more likely to support businesses that stand for something beyond their bottom line.

Moreover, leading with your purpose helps differentiate your brand in a crowded market. It’s not your services alone that set you apart, but the ‘why’ behind those services. It provides a unique identity, a compelling narrative that sets you apart from competitors.

A purpose-driven approach can guide strategic thinking and smart decision making

Unearthing your purpose is not a one-off activity; it’s an ongoing journey of self-discovery and introspection. It involves continually asking the ‘why’ behind your decisions and actions, staying true to your values, and ensuring your purpose resonates with your audience’s needs and aspirations. It’s about being authentic, remaining committed, and relentlessly pursuing your ‘why’ in every aspect of your business.

Done well, your purpose can provide a beacon that illuminates your path and guides your company’s journey. 

It becomes the heartbeat of your organisation, the energy that powers your progress, and the spirit that touches the hearts and minds of your customers. 

It’s the compelling reason that motivates your work, the profound belief that inspires your actions, and the enduring legacy that shapes your brand.  

Three questions which leaders and business owners can ask to get themselves closer to their organisation’s purpose

Why does our organisation exist beyond profit?

At its core, every organisation seeks to make a profit. But the organisations that stand the test of time usually have a purpose that transcends profit. As a leader, ask yourself, “What change are we trying to bring about in the world? What values and beliefs drive our operations and strategies?”

What would be lost if our organisation ceased to exist?

This question can often illuminate the unique value your organisation brings to the world. If your organisation disappeared tomorrow, what gap would it leave? In what ways does our work impact our customers, employees, communities, and the wider world?

How does our purpose align with our stakeholders’ aspirations?

Your organisation’s purpose must resonate with the people it serves. Asking, “How does our purpose align with the aspirations and values of our employees, customers, and other stakeholders?” can provide insight into whether your purpose is likely to inspire and motivate those you interact with.

These questions can provide profound insights and help leaders and business owners to align their organisation around a shared and compelling purpose.