87% of consumers believe companies perform best if their purpose goes beyond profit. A strong service offering alone is no longer enough to keep a company sustainable and thriving; their purpose needs to be the driving force for the business. Businesses are struggling to survive in today’s challenging and demanding environment, let alone flourish. Those that do see great success all have one thing in common – they are purpose-led.
Leading with a purpose is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it is imperative for a business’ success. Purpose ignites people to ignite long-lasting positive change, driving growth and innovation.
Organisations that embody purpose see significant, measurable results in their employees, customers and shareholders.
However, a purpose needs to be authentic. It needs to flow seamlessly throughout the business to ensure all employees live the values day to day, and it is not just a marketing façade that customers will see through. The purpose should drive how your business behaves both internally and externally
Endaba looked at 3 purpose-led businesses to find out why they have been so successful:
“Making sustainable living commonplace”
Unilever describes its brand purpose as a commitment to “reduce its environmental footprint to future-proof its supply base, reduce costs and provide direct benefits to consumers to help improve their health and well-being”.
Unilever are willing to sacrifice more immediate profits to drive business in the long-term by staying true to their purpose. The company’s CEO, Paul Polman, has declared he will cut the company’s carbon footprint in half, and at the same time doubling revenue. Unilever’s leadership understood that although sourcing 100% of its raw materials using environmental, social, and ethical principles meant sacrificing some short-term profits, this would ultimately drive profits.
“To organize all of the data in the world and make it accessible for everyone in a useful way”
Google’s purpose is a moral rather than a business goal. It does not mention profit, market, shareholder, user, or customer, but it is a constant motivation, pushing Google to innovate and expand into the new and unknown. In addition, Google has a philanthropic purpose: “helping innovators around the world who are using technology to combat humanity’s biggest challenges”. They give in a way that aligns with their business; the company helps and scales the work of others who share their same purpose, and reinforces its own purpose with each act of generosity. Recently Google gave a $1 million grant to Unicef engineers who are working to fight Zika virus. This makes the Google purpose more authentic, genuine, and impactful.
“Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
Amazon’s purpose is simple, short and direct. It focuses on one thing; their customer. Their promise is their commitment to their customers globally and ensuring that they put them first. Their purpose is pervasive throughout their culture and even their innovation is driven by their customers. The way they care for their customers engenders a high level of trust, loyalty and retention. In a customer experience survey across seven major industries, Amazon came first and received 87% in customer satisfaction. Amazon believes “if you build a great experience, customers tell each other about that.”
A purpose “that is about being a ‘market leader,’ once accomplished, offers little inspiration. The broad scope of [your purpose] allows [you] to move forward by steering with a compass rather than a speedometer,” Laszlo Bock, SVP of People Operations, Google. The purpose should be the embodiment of your brand and your brand should be the embodiment of your purpose. A company must live and breathe its purpose, both internally and externally, and more so, a constant motivational goal to achieve.
When organisations begin and lead with their purpose, their customers and employees feel more invested, engaged and loyal to the brand, putting the business in a strong position to flourish and create sustainable growth.
Purpose-driven organisations understand that how you do business should be dictated by why you do business.