Written by Caitlin Markle
Purpose (n): the reason for which something is done.
The rise of ESG in corporate America put every business at an internal crossroads. No longer was corporate sustainability and responsibility a check-the-box mentality. It’s expected, and more so, it’s changing the way businesses are showing up in the marketplace.
Before the days of ESG, organizations operated under a singular vision and mission. A company’s vision statement describes where the company wants to be, and its mission statement outlines how the company will achieve that future state.
But, more recently, companies are going one step further by defining their why with a purpose statement. A company’s purpose is the reason they do what they do. Sometimes it’s to improve the lives of customers. Or, sometimes, it’s to make the world better for everyone.
Either way, purpose is the driving force for how companies operate going forward, causing many leaders to ask themselves:
- Who are we?
- Who do we want to be?
- What is our purpose?
- How do we make a difference?
- Where do we go from here?
Building a purpose-driven organization doesn’t have to be done in the dark. Here are three tips for ingraining purpose throughout your business so it can become the unapologetic gamechanger it needs to be to thrive responsibly in the next economy.
1. Start With Your “Why” (and Strategy)
It’s not enough to adopt a corporate purpose statement.Define your purpose and practice what you preach by integrating a purpose-driven strategy throughout the organization. That means bringing your purpose to life from the boardroom to the production floor.
- Since 1985, the company has pledged 1% of its sales to environmental preservation
- 64% of fabrics are made with recycled materials
- Will be carbon neutral across the entire business by 2025
- Its now-famous marketing campaign “Don’t Buy This Jacket” encourages customers to think before they buy
The Patagonia purpose isn’t to simply make outdoor wear. It’s to equip those who love the outdoors with gear that ensures the health of the world they love to explore. Feel the difference?
“At Patagonia, we appreciate that all life on earth is under threat of extinction. We’re using the resources we have—our business, our investments, our voice, and our imaginations—to do something about it.” – Patagonia
2. Create Purpose-Inspired Products
Any true purpose-driven organization has the products to back the buck. Why? Because without products and services that bring your purpose to life, a values-based strategy is only words on paper.
For instance, in early 2014, CVS Caremark embarked on its purpose-driven strategy to evolve from a pharmacy to a healthcare company. The company rebranded to CVS Health, and CEO Larry Merlo drew a line in the sand by deciding to cut cigarette sales, which cost the company $2 billion at the time but reshaped the company’s entire future.
Today, the company continues to drive its purpose-driven mission by leading the charge in vaccinating millions of people against COVID-19. It’s also launched a dedicated venture fund focused on addressing one of the industry’s biggest issues: ensuring health care is accessible, affordable, and simple. No matter if it’s removing products, introducing new ones, or carving out the next pathway, CVS Health consistently puts purpose at the heart of its business.
3. Put Purpose At The Center Of Your Culture
Finally, but arguably most importantly, creating, managing, and growing a purpose-driven business can only come from within. Your employees are the embodiment of your purpose and values – and you of theirs. In fact, 93% of employees believe companies should lead with purpose, and 70% won’t work for a company without a solid purpose.
Fostering a purpose-driven culture does take work, but it can also be easier to keep employees motivated, engaged, and inspired when they align with your company’s values. Just ask businesses like Starbucks, IKEA, and USAA, among countless others.
“Purpose is when the values are driven by certain behaviors that create the kind of culture that is human-centric. And those behaviors create the feeling we want, not only when we have accomplished the big goals and achieved the outcomes we wanted, but in the process of doing so.” - Forbes
Interested in learning how your company can transition to a purpose-driven strategy? At Global Imprint, we are ready to help your business prepare for the next economy with a solid ESG plan. Reach out to us today to get started!