Sponsored content: Purpose is the north star guiding how companies should act to benefit people and planet, but, says Edelman, true purpose must deliver on its promises
We have entered the era of trust. For more than two decades, Edelman has demonstrated that trust is an increasingly essential currency for business and brands. Employees who trust their employer to do what is right will be twice as loyal and are twice as likely to advocate for their employer. From a consumer perspective, trust (53%) is second only to price (64%) when it comes to making purchase decisions when evaluating a new brand – and seven in 10 say trust in brands is more important today than it was in the past.
As the world grapples with urgent, complex challenges – from climate change to inequality to systemic racism – people are saying loud and clear that to build trust business must act to advance society’s interests. Eight in 10 people globally expect companies to act on the most pressing issues facing society. Nearly 90% believe customers, employees and communities are more important than shareholders to a company’s long-term success – mapping to the rise of stakeholder capitalism. And 75% of people believe CEOs must lead on change as opposed to waiting for the government to impose it.
In this context, purpose – an organisation’s reason for being beyond profit alone – is an essential business strategy. An authentic purpose acts as a north star guiding when, where, how and why a business should act to benefit people and planet. It informs how you serve and engage with key stakeholders. It ensures initiatives create both commercial and societal impact, an essential difference from philanthropy or CSR.
A disconnect between message and action actually corrodes trust
The tension is this: true purpose must deliver more than promises. A disconnect between message and action actually corrodes trust. Purpose can’t live solely in a communications function, on a PowerPoint slide or in an employee handbook. It must be acted upon at every level of an organisation. It should change how you act, how you innovate, how you engage. It must shape your principles, defining what you stand for and what you’ll take a stand against.
At Edelman we believe in the transformative power of authentic purpose to build trust and create lasting commercial and societal value. We help clients define, operationalise and activate purpose through a combination of deep strategic advisory, internal transformation planning, external alliance and action development, and culture-led creativity and engagement platforms that resonate across audiences. We draw upon decades of experience working with world-leading purpose-driven organisations and serve as thought and action partners at every step of the journey.
2020 has presented business with a raft of challenges, but it has also posed an invitation: there has never been a better time to embrace purpose. If you’re looking for a partner, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org