Figuring out the purpose of one’s life was once the purview of existential philosophers and deep thinkers alike, but the concept of “purpose” is moving beyond the individual to savvy companies across the globe.
Forward-looking organizations are adding their purpose – the end benefit they provide to people or society – to their company’s fundamental assets: mission, vision, values and brand positioning. For many organizations, purpose is now the foundation upon which everything else can and should be built, and the benefits are more than altruism.
Jim Stengel, previous global marketing officer for Proctor & Gamble, is among many business leaders eyeing purpose-driven enterprises. Stengel conducted a 10-year study on more than 50,000 brands and found those that focused on what he calls “brand ideals” outperform others. In fact, the top 50 highest performing companies (dubbed “Stengel 50”) grew three times faster than their competitors, and an investment in the Stengel 50 would have been 400 percent more profitable than an investment in the S&P 500.
In addition to financial success, purpose-driven organizations also score high marks for creating engagement, cultivating workplace satisfaction and even eliciting happiness.
So how does a company define its purpose? For some, particularly nonprofit organizations, it can appear clear cut; for others, it may take a bit of organizational soul searching, tapping into the fundamental human values that connect us all. The good news is that we have tools to get you thinking.
At NST, we’ve incorporated the identification of organizational purpose into Compass – our proprietary planning process that merges strategic planning and brand positioning. It’s a process aimed at creating engagement throughout organizations. Give us a shout to learn more about how we can help uncover your organization’s purpose.