Brand Leadership – How To Uncover Your True Purpose

Purpose seems to be everywhere you turn at the moment; not a day seems to pass when you don’t hear about it. Purpose is in just about every business newspaper and magazine you read — from the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times to Forbes, Fast Company, even Harpers Bizarre. But if you’re a conscientious small business, looking to make a lasting difference, how do you go about identifying your reason-for-being? What can you learn from big business success?

Firstwater
Oct 29, 2020 · 5 min read

In an age of blurred lines, changing times and scattered ecosystems, Purpose is more prevalent than ever — providing workers and employers with a much-needed anchor to engage, understand and manage expectations. Regardless of adverse market conditions and HR complexities, ongoing studies reaffirm that employees who feel connected to a business’s higher purpose are more likely to stay with that company, certainly for the foreseeable future. Not the least part ways as a lifelong champion and advocate.

Helping employees help employers help employees find meaning in their work is not about changing the nature of work, but more about influencing how people feel about the work they do and the contribution they make.

Despite this pandemic, many businesses have continued to outperform market expectations. They’ve done so by embracing Purpose and genuinely addressing the needs of wider stakeholders, not just customers and shareholders — not only evoking a strong sense of resolve felt but also shared understanding of purpose, meaning and compassion.

Purpose is a balancing act between focusing on the right areas, to leading a company to lasting success; this means, to create real value, Purpose must drive the business forward. And for this to happen, clear goals, understood across the organisation, are essential. That said, Purpose should always provide a universal truth to help clarify what the organisation is all about, and why it’s beneficial for customers, employees and investors alike.

By determining the purpose of work, people can better understand what a company is striving to achieve and why — drawing attention to areas of social celebration, relevance and improvement to better rally, measure and monitor impact.

From Rosabeth Kanter to Jim Collins, there are several schools of thought with regards to defining, articulating and utilising Purpose, but the underlying principle remains the same: Beyond the economics, what is the overarching reason as to why your company exists? The answer to this question helps steer how you and your company should behave and the impact it should have on those it directly and indirectly serves. Because a purpose-led business (in unison with brand) pursues goals that go beyond merely creating owner and shareholder value and profits and extends to broader areas of social benefit.

Many large organisations establish a Purpose Committee, made up of representatives across the business, to help define, implement, manage and monitor environmental and social impact. However, from what we’ve seen, the most successful integrations have not only engaged employees but sought input from far wider stakeholder groups — people outside the business, who may not directly engage with the business but who are still impacted by its activity.

Defining your Purpose isn’t expected to be easy. It can take time, energy and resources — which, right now, are all too precious. So, what insight can we gain from the successes of others, businesses who have successfully identified and articulated their purpose, and who are continuing to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability?

1. Shift mindsets from customer-centricity to multi-stakeholder engagement

Understanding what’s important to people and using this insight to help define what is unique about what you do as a business, how you strive for it and why people should invest is vital.

Through every touch-point, Purpose helps define every constituent of your company identity and experience — reaffirming what the company does and doesn’t do. With a purpose-driven brand defined, conscious leaders can connect the dots — maximising established brand equity to champion company change. Clarifying how the company is organised, decisions are made, and how employees, customers and communities are engaged.

The alignment of performance goals with company values gives employees the confidence that daily work is contributing to the realisation of the greater good. So when appropriately aligned, values help contextualise and operationalise meaning — providing everyone with a better understanding of company goals and the role they play to realising them.

2. When budgets are tight and time is limited, don’t rush, Sprint*

Irrespective of technology, product features or benefits, in heavily trust dependent industries, choice comes down to the confidence people have in receiving the right levels of reliable and unconditional support, whether they buy from you or not.

And while most marketers, planners and agencies do a great job understanding where a company should go, devising potentially effective strategies to project them getting there, where they fail is follow-through — knowing what it takes to create shared value.

Purpose is the nexus between business and brand — where only awareness, thoughtfulness and consideration need apply, and where business becomes a force for good. But no matter what it’s called, every business must have a guiding light to inspire, measure and monitor its success.

Specifically designed to help entrepreneurs, startups and SMEs, we recently developed a rapid prototyping approach to help uncover, articulate and demonstrate their Purpose.

Sprint is a highly adaptable solution designed to accommodate differing business lifecycles, budgets and timescales — paving the way for conscientious business owners to achieve sustainable brand status. An honest and profitable representation of your commitment to delivering value for all stakeholders.

So, whether you’re struggling with the notion, articulation, implementation and activation, Sprint helps business bridge the gap between reality and perception. If you would like to find out more, please click the link below.

Originally published at https://firstwater.ae on October 29, 2020.

Firstwater

Because the world needs brands with Purpose

Firstwater

We’re a global network of conscientious change-makers — brand optimists, architects and designers — driven by Purpose and measured by impact.

Firstwater

Written by

The Arab region’s first purpose-led brand strategy and sustainability impacts consultancy

Firstwater

We’re a global network of conscientious change-makers — brand optimists, architects and designers — driven by Purpose and measured by impact.