Purpose represents a shift towards a new way of doing business. Purpose, by its nature, transcends making money. It’s about people coming together to do something they believe in and allowing profit to follow as a consequence, rather than as an end in itself.

“It’s been suggested by some that the sole purpose of an organisation is to create profit for its shareholders. Making money is no more the sole purpose of an organisation than eating and drinking is the sole purpose for living. An organisation has the opportunity and ability to be more than just a money-making entity. It has a duty in looking for its role in a sustainable future.”

Cass Swallow, Director of Integrated Communications & Innovation, Philips Lighting

However, for purpose to be truly enduring, it has to be commercially relevant and contribute to long-term value creation. Brands that take a long-term view are those that will be successful in the future.

“What we’re trying to do with all our work across Social Impact is actually putting thought behind how we improve access to learning, and empowering people with the skills needed for a better world. Particularly when it comes to literacy, as literacy is the foundation for learning. What we end up doing, as a dual benefit, is furthering our commercial ambitions because we’re creating a pipeline of prospective customers for the future.”

Emilie Colker, VP Global Marketing Campaigns, Pearson

When done brilliantly, purpose becomes the reason employees, customers and investors are attracted to the business. By creating wider value, businesses can not only secure a licence to operate, but build deeper and more meaningful connections with all of their stakeholders and develop a more resilient business model. Ultimately, improving their performance and delivering greater value to all stakeholders.

“For marketers it becomes less about this quarter’s revenue and more about how we are using stories to inspire and support the commercial aspects of the business from the top and middle of the funnel. What our sales team love about our purpose-driven approach as a whole, or our social impact as a whole, is that they get to have a different conversation with their customers…a bit more elevated, more broad and more emotional than before.”

Karen Starns, Former SVP Global Marketing, Pearson


How we can help

If you think you need some help convincing people in your company purpose is more than just a strapline, give us a ring. RY’s developed some tools that could be useful for you.

  • Leadership engagement sessions: RY will run a session planned to help leadership teams understand the value of purpose through tangible benefits, best practice and a bit of inspiration.
  • Roadmap to Purpose workshop: Making your purpose work takes time and demands action from every part of the business. RY can help you plan what to do, how and when.
  • Fit for Purpose assessment and benchmarking: RY will conduct an in-depth, yet quick, assessment to learn where you and your peers are on your purpose journey. And what you need to work on next.