What’s the purpose behind Coca Cola? Depends on who you ask. Some will say to make soda, others will talk about profits. Take a look on their website though and it’s “Making life’s everyday moments more meaningful”. How about Kellogg’s? Not too much to cereal, right? Maybe you’d be surprised. Kellogg’s state that their all about “Creating better days and a place at the table for everyone…”. Actually, if you look at any major company, anywhere, you’ll find the same thing. They might not have an inherent purpose to them, but they’ll definitely find one. Why? Because having a business purpose matters.
According to research conducted by Razorfish and Vice Media, 82% of consumers make purchase decisions with purpose in mind. Increasingly, consumers are moving to products that have not just a function purpose but a social one as well. Adding to that, employees are no different. A workplace driven with purpose is crucial to creating both a strong work culture and high retention rates. According to a study conducted by Mckinsey, 70% of employees said that their sense of purpose is defined by their work. In the same study they found that employees who reported a higher sense of work-purpose also reported better work outcomes.
How do we define purpose?
Today, companies have a lot of bells and whistles when it comes to values and ethics. Along with purpose, companies will typically offer mission and/or vision statements. All three are important but it can be tricky to distinguish between them. Here’s some simple side-by-side definitions to look at from Aespire and Forbes. To think about it simply, it comes down to the difference between why, what, and how.
- Purpose: The reason that the company exists
- Vision: Where the company is going
- Mission: How you are going to make your company vision come to life
How to build a purpose
Despite all the benefits that come with having a purpose, many smaller or older companies are still ignoring it. Many companies may find themselves in the situation where they didn’t initially have one, but now consider it a necessity. The important thing is not to be put off. Just because you didn’t have one at the start, doesn’t mean you’re not in a position to develop one.
Decide your company’s purpose -The first step is to take a deep introspection into the current company. What is your product? How does it relate to your customers? Try to link it to the emotions that consumers might feel when using it. Also look inward at your company’s values, which can act as inspiration. Think about the value that employees might find or see in your company. If you don’t have a strong grasp on your brands identity or perception, an employee survey can assist. With a CiVS employee survey it’s easy to reach out to employees company wide and gage an understanding of the brand. The survey can question anything from their personal purpose to their favourite part of work. All these elements can work together to help define where your company’s purpose lies.
Communicate it to your audience -Next is to ensure that your customer is aware of your purpose. This doesn’t mean slapping a purpose slogan onto every bit of marketing material. It’s more about ensuring that your company is communicating the values and ideas around your purpose. It also includes listing your purpose on your website and making sure that representatives of the company are made aware of it. This includes every member of staff, with special attention paid to frontliners.