In 2016, Claremont launched their inaugural Purpose in Practice report – a unique white paper capturing the views of more than 25 business leaders on purpose-driven business. In the same week, three other organisations also launched their own reports on ‘Purpose’. The movement has been gaining momentum ever since.
Even the UK Government has been vocal, releasing their Mission Led Business Review at the end of 2016. The report claims that government will fully support businesses that play a role in promoting the greater good; that broaden prosperity; and tackle inequality – because these are the businesses that will make a significant contribution to UK growth over the next 10 years.
Moving into 2017, I expect to see more brands embracing an approach to purpose-driven business. Taking time to re-visit and articulate their Purpose – WHY they exist. Not what they do, or how they operate, but why our world would be worse off without them.
Organisations that place purpose at their heart will go on to attract and retain better talent, benefitting from happier workforces. They will drive greater customer acquisition and market share, and they will ultimately out-perform brands that fail to see the opportunity in leading with Purpose.
The opportunity is there to be taken. From a comms point of view, the risk is that brands ‘bolt-on’ Purpose and piggyback on the upcoming trend. Brands that create purpose ‘platforms’ or one off initiatives should be branded as ‘purpose-wash’. We’ve seen this before through CSR and the rise of ‘greenwashing’. Organisations that are inauthentic and insincere – that misrepresent Purpose - should be called out.
The true opportunity is for comms professionals to help brands to establish their unique Purpose – unlocking the nub of WHY their brand is here – and go on to align that Purpose with their values to create competitive advantage – or purposeful advantage.
2017 will be an exciting year for our industry, as we help organisations to explore, define and live their Purpose and ultimately ensure it is experienced and felt by everyone.