Purpose-driven companies have, at their core, a sense of purpose ingrained in their mission that is much deeper than simply making money and a sustainable business. They have a concept of higher purpose guiding the DNA, culture, and working environment to drive performance in all aspects of its businesses. Purpose-driven is more than a marketing strategy or business philosophy. It’s a strategy for attracting and retaining top talent, building trust, and increasing organic traffic and conversions.
As consumers have power in numbers, they have created massive opportunities for purpose-driven companies to win and win big. Companies like Patagonia, The Honest Company, Sweetgreen, and Warby Parker have risen to the challenge by using their collective influence to create social impact. While these leaders are used as examples of success, other purpose-driven companies haven’t had as much luck. A significant number of them struggle to be profitable in their efforts to use their resources for good.
Your organization’s purpose is essentially the ‘why’ of your business. It’s often not perfunctory or superficial and will resonate with your customers, partners, and team members. In other words, it’s the core reason you exist so it has to be meaningful to the entire company. Brands that want to be purpose-driven must examine their business practices at a deeper level in order to understand who they impact and how. It’s no longer enough to claim that you have a positive social impact. Consumers are not simply being connected through cheaper prices, better quality, or incredible service alone.
Businesses must rethink their strategies from the perspective of multiple stakeholders – consumers, employees, communities, and so on. In order to do so, we have compiled a few questions that you must consider when determining if your company is purpose-driven.
- Can we handle customer data in a more responsible, transparent way?
Let's face it: when it comes to how your business handles the data of your customers, transparency levels can be pretty low. It seems like breaches are being reported left and right, sometimes with consequential personal information getting out into the open and sometimes not so much. It seems like whenever a breach happens, companies are navigating through a sea of user backlash and resistance. So what is it that we can do to remedy these situations as individuals?
Companies must understand the regulatory and accountability challenges involved in collecting and storing customer data. If not, serious risks of a data breach, financial penalties, and costly class-action lawsuits will quickly jeopardize their digital marketing efforts. Customer data is probably the most valuable asset a company owns. It’s regarded as one of the most critical assets for businesses in the digital age. It’s crucial to maintain and secure customer data but this comes with social responsibility, too.
- Would our customers truly say we are committed to their privacy and security?
We all know that the concept of privacy and security is trending now. Users are now extremely concerned about their data. They want to understand what’s going on and make informed decisions. The challenge is not to come up with content but to make your customers understand how you are different from others. What we should aim for is to inspire trust in privacy and security aspects. This entails that we need to explain them both in terms of our business and services at every step of the way, from acquisition through retention.
Trust is one of the most important aspects of your online business. Trust is the glue that keeps your visitors happy with your service, which increases customer satisfaction and loyalty—and ultimately, sales. Building trust in your online business is one of the essential ways to create a solid relationship with your audience and potential customers. The more you communicate that you are a reliable business, the easier it will be for you to attract clients and retain them for the long term.
- Are we actually committed to diversity, inclusion and environmentally friendly business practices?
Even when we say that we are committed to diversity, inclusion, and environmentally friendly business practices, this does not mean that we actually are. We need to look closely at what we say and how it aligns with our actions. Here is the problem: we still have not mastered the art of seeing ourselves from the point of view of others. Yet this is key to championing diversity and inclusion. We must ask ourselves: "What do you see that I cannot?"
As leaders, we set the tone for our organizations. We must take an active role in shaping conversations and expectations to be inclusive and welcoming to all. Whether it is by changing the language we use or modeling a behavior, we can demonstrate our commitment and support of diverse populations. The leader sets the vision; it is up to the rest of us to do our part in making it a reality.
- Are we actively open, honest and transparent with our stakeholders with all matters that impact them?
The challenge as we deal with the different people inside an organization – usually consisting of senior executives, middle management, and staff from junior to the top level – would be to navigate their differing interests and opinions and yet stay focused on our delivery agenda. You deal with a lot of moving pieces, all of which move mostly independently from each other. Oftentimes various stakeholders will act in ways that would benefit themselves at the expense of the project and they are sometimes more concerned about fighting one another instead of creating additional value for the organization.
There is a lot at stake when an organization embarks on an agile transformation. It goes beyond functional groups and project teams. The biggest stakeholders that need to be addressed are usually the various functions on the operations side of your business, who are deeply ingrained in their "traditional" ways of doing things. You must be open and honest with all stakeholders, implementing effective communication for a smooth process.