Strong and thriving organisations: The power of a purpose statement
The complexity of the human ideation process is rather challenging to transpose into words. However, delimitating patterns in our thinking, ordering our ideas and capturing them in phrases helps us find meaning and reasoning in our daily lives. Products of the human mind – business ideas, plans and strategies need careful precision and sculpting to become individual and functional entities.
Putting your business’s DNA on paper
Nowadays, any well-established brand has set and defined the following aspects:
- Mission – what they do
- Vision – what their direction is
- Strategic goals and objectives – what they want to achieve in the short/long-term
- Norms and values – what they stand for
But what about the ‘why’? What about a company’s reason for being, beyond what it does, makes or sells? It is certainly a vital piece in the identity puzzle of a brand. It is not only about justifying your value transparently in the eyes of the consumers. It is also about giving your employees and partners a reason to believe in your brand, make them want to contribute to the whole; a purpose.
So, what is a purpose statement?
Let’s define first the notion of purpose. The purpose ‘is a central, organising principle that guides employee actions at all levels of the company and provides an authentic foundation for strategy, culture, investment decisions, and societal impact’ (BCG, 2018). Implicitly, the purpose statement is an official declaration of the company’s fundamental reason for existence. Google’s ‘Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible’ would be an example. It is essential to notice that it highlights an everlasting social good, independent of profit and never wholly possible.
To say that companies have historically missed the ‘purpose’ aspect would be deceitful and illogical. The purpose is the naturally occurring intersection of the two fundamental questions: ‘who are we?’ and ‘what societal need do we meet?’. Now, the importance attributed and the extent of its enforcement make today’s purpose different from the purpose of the past. Moreover, the birth of this trend is also owed to a shift in stakeholders’ attitudes.
Today’s stakeholders care. From customers to employees to suppliers, vendors and investors, the accent falls on the greater value: the commitment of your brand to ensure sustainable growth, fair returns and positively impact society.
Lately, we have witnessed a significant rise in people’s consumption consciousness and beyond-profit decision-making. Read here our last article! This has naturally strengthened the need for meaningful and inspiring market models: purpose-driven companies.
These are the companies that successfully embed the purpose element in both their internal and external climate. They create deeper connections with consumers, do more for the communities they work with, attract and retain talent.
Surface vs authentic purpose
Companies with generically defined purpose statements fail to convince stakeholders of the truth of their intentions. Rather than making purpose the expression of their DNA, these companies merely treat it as a tool for promotion. However, research has proven that this approach does not work anymore.
Purpose-oriented companies have higher productivity and growth rates, along with a more satisfied workforce who stay longer with them.
For example, Unilever’s purpose-driven brands are growing 50% faster than the rest of the brands in the company’s portfolio, and they are delivering 60% of the company’s total growth.
Organisations with a strong sense of purpose are more than twice as likely to have above-average shareholder returns. A BCG survey of 50 companies in three sectors— technology, media, and telecommunications; consumer products; and financial services—found that purpose correlates strongly with ten-year total shareholder return.
Entrepreneurs, take notes!
If you’re setting up your brand, then do so authentically! Build the purpose of your company righteously from the beginning and learn to implement it across all levels of your business. As an entrepreneur, you obviously have to understand and believe in your brand, but the challenge lies in inspiring and making others believe in it as well. The purpose will form the underlying pillars of homogeneity and compactness of your organisation.
Nourish the power of a good purpose
- Tell your story. Make it sound.
Authenticity starts with quality storytelling. See Airbnb and their highly famous: ‘Belong anywhere’ purpose statement. It moved the brand away from the business of houses and rooms to the business of home and experiencing a place like a local. The company even launched a campaign using ‘Belong Anywhere’ to raise more than $1 million for refugees through USA for UNHCR.
- Act and stay accountable.
Being an authentic, purpose-driven business starts with storytelling but overruns the words dimension. Take action, be responsible and communicate your steps honestly. This will effortlessly instil trust and loyalty in your customers. Max Burgers, a Swedish fast-food restaurant chain, launched in 2018 the world’s first climate-positive menu. The company took the initiative to tackle the climate crisis and reduce green gas emissions proving its commitment towards social responsibility and the courage to be original. This way, they earned an undeniable ‘trusted brand’ status.
Don’t forget that you need to impress humans ultimately. Leading with purpose means resonating with all stakeholders involved. Make your story touching, be relatable, listen and include.
- Once you plant it, let it grow!
All brands are born with a primary purpose. But nobody said that this ‘why’ is not subject to further evolvement and refinement. It is equally important to know that an authentic, deeply-rooted purpose is the result of a collective and inclusive process involving all stakeholders of your business. Activating and implanting true purpose in your company’s culture means taking your hands off. Once articulated, it must transcend the organisation, nurture bonds and a shared value system. From there, it will grow organically and reinforce your company’s DNA over all communication channels.
Our purpose at Kajola
Create solutions that have an impact.
We’re devoted to making the hospitality, food, and drinks scenes richer, more diverse and more rewarding for experience seekers everywhere. It all starts at our heart. We’re just people who are passionate about food, drink, and great guest experiences. Thus, we translated this passion in the form of ‘Kajola’: sharing our creativity and knowledge with the rest of the world. We made this our purpose.
Kajola is dedicated to creating solutions for international hospitality and food start-ups. We’re devoted to making the hospitality and food scenes richer, more diverse and more rewarding for food lovers and experience seekers everywhere.