Must read posts about purpose part 2 (5 essential insights)

In a previous post, we looked at five great pieces of thought leadership on purpose and its role in today’s business world. That post sparked another survey of the insight being shared around one of the biggest movements in business. Here are five more must read sources.

1. Purpose is not a tradeoff

A Fast Company post illustrates how businesses are struggling with an old paradigm. It points to the need for a new way of looking at the complimentary nature of profit and purpose. Here is a piece from that post:

Successful profit from purpose companies are almost always strategic deployments based on first principles, concluding that enough customers reliably prefer quality product at a fair price if it also reflects their personal values. Yet the traditional response by venture capitalists–and one I still often hear today–is they don’t want their profit de-maximized by a second bottom line. Conversely, impact entrepreneurs are often concerned that their impact will be de-maximized by servicing financial returns first. But the best for-large-profit-from-purposes find that the purpose is what generates the sustaining financial returns, and it is that profit which throws off lasting impact. For these businesses, the profit and purpose are interlocked and the way to maximize profits is consistently providing the purpose.

2. People will pay for purpose

This post comes out of the UK , highlighting research that show that people are willing to put their money where their beliefs are. Here’s a bit from that post:

‘Overall, there is an increasing awareness of and focus on what a brand stands for — to the point where many people are willing to buy more and pay more for a company they feel makes a positive impact. What brand can afford to ignore that? Working to make a positive impact on society isn’t a ‘nice to have’, it should be part of a brand’s DNA and a pillar of any communications and interactions with consumers. It can make your brand stand apart from the competition.’

3. Purpose as the driving force

Here is an insightful piece authored on mediapost.com that helps us understand the foundational role of purpose. Here is an excerpt:

Let’s begin at the beginning. An organization’s purpose is its reason for being in business, the calling a company answers from the marketplace and the problems it seeks to address. Defining a succinct purpose creates a sense of coherence for employees and explains what your company stands for beyond making money. Purpose should be the driving force behind key strategic and investment decisions.

4. Purpose is a talent strategy

Purpose can help you recruit and, most critically, retain the best and the brightest. This post gives the low down. Here is a sample:

Brands that prioritise purpose are three times more likely to retain their employees. It’s quite simple — if you have fun and do good things, the money will follow.

5. Purpose scales

Purpose often gets characterized as coming to life as large, sweeping efforts (save the planet!) This post helps us understand that it can be just as powerful in small ways. Check out the insight:

Stephan Loerke, managing director of the WFA, said, “There is consensus that brand purpose is increasingly relevant, but people and marketers don’t seem to agree on what it means. Marketers see it as the bigger picture, but people see it as what you do in daily life.”

However, marketers are starting to make the transition, shifting away from big-picture concerns like improving the environment and other global issues, and towards efforts that have a more immediate impact on individual’s lives. The survey found that programs supporting communities, and ethical business practices, are now seen as the two best ways to support brand purpose by 55% and 47% of respondents respectively.


Dan is the creator of the Big Audacious Meaning. He is a founder at Will & Grail — a brand innovation company, helping organizations find their unique, undeniable and unshakable sense of purpose and create innovative experiences that bring it to life. He regularly shares his insight here on Linkedin and at dansalva.com.