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.