It’s not surprising that purpose-driven companies are in a far better position to deal with a crisis, such as the economic fallout from the global pandemic. Building a culture of purpose doesn’t happen overnight: it’s already engrained into people, supply chains and community.
Driving purpose over profits will inspire innovation and creativity, encourage transparency unapologetically, create a sense of being, and perhaps most importantly, pressure corporate leaders to do the right thing.
A recent survey by PwC found that companies that clearly define and communicate how they create value have a more motivated and passionate workforce. 63% of employees say they’re motivated, versus 31% at other companies; 65% say they’re passionate about their work, versus 32% at other companies.
At the other end of the spectrum, being purpose driven matters to consumers too. 64% of global consumers find brands that actively communicate their purpose more attractive. 62% want companies to take a stand on issues they are passionate about, and 52% say they are more attracted to buy from certain brands over others if these brands stand for something bigger than just the products and services it sells, which aligns with their personal values (Accenture 2018).
But a gap exists between what brands say and what action is taken. Today leaders must ask themselves: what is our purpose, and how are we going to balance profits and use our resources to solve society’s biggest problems?
As Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you found out why.”
According to a Kantar poll in 2018, 76% of marketing heads were of the belief that their own organization had a defined sense of purpose, but only 1 in 10 could produce a corporate purpose statement and plan to back up these beliefs.
Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever was recently asked, “Does the crisis pressure you to change your ways at all?” He responded, “Our company is guided by three deeply held beliefs: that brands with purpose grow, companies with purpose last, and people with purpose thrive. And we think that refrain is going to be even more relevant in a post-coronavirus world than in a pre-coronavirus world.”
To be prepared for the next crisis, leaders will need to rethink their entire business strategy and adapt it to what their workforce, community and consumers want: purpose with a positive impact.