Your purpose is why you do what you do. It‘s the zenith, the epicenter of your entire business. It lays the foundation for what your company stands on, and if it‘s robust enough, will serve you for years to come. In a time of crisis, where so much is unknown and up-in-the-air, what can you rely on?
Across the air-waves and plugged into our scheduled video chat meeting, CEO and Founder of RDB Mario Alonzo-Debout and Global Marketing Expert Karen O‘Brien sit down to discuss how purpose could be the key to overcoming hardship in times of crisis.
Look at your brand purpose in times of crisis
In a time of calamity, it‘s easy to have tunnel vision about your business. There‘s a lot that has to be managed and maintained to stay afloat. In these times more than ever it‘s important to remember how people carry your purpose ーbut what is your purpose?
As Mario openly points out, purpose is one of those new buzzwords that‘s thrown around a lot. It‘s good to reduce purpose down to its simplest form; your purpose is why you started. This is going to be so important in the coming weeks, as COVID-19 becomes a reckoning for businesses not in alignment with their purpose. Karen points out, “brands who have an authentic purpose and are able to walk their talk are really going to come out stronger at the other end of this.”
It‘s good to reduce purpose down to its simplest form; your purpose is why you started.
The importance of brand purpose to future proof your business
This is the brave new world of social entrepreneurship ー catapulted into the limelight through ambitious young millennials. Traditionally, shareholders and a thirst for profit has driven businesses. This unsustainable model has become a hot-button topic as millennials around the globe sniff out which businesses are ruining the planet, and which ones are actively supporting the planet and its people.
This isn‘t just a social transformation, but a socio-economic transformation. Consumer behaviour has shifted away from traditional measures of success and prestige, to a more sustainable one. Consumers today are looking at ‘living your best life‘ through improved quality of daily life, more time for loved ones, and a lighter carbon footprint.
This new mentality carries through to the workforce, as millennials continue to make up a sizeable chunk. If companies want to increase growth and talent rates, they‘ll need to shift their awareness to purpose through a business transformation. As Mario puts it, “Shareholder value doesn’t make your employees get out of bed every day.”
So if millennials themselves are steering the market in a new direction, and even seeking out companies to work for that have a purpose rather than just a grind, then what does this mean in a time of crisis?
Since purpose is where we‘re more likely to put our dollar, purpose becomes more crucial to companies in a time of strained resources. So, how can we tell if a company is purpose-washing?
Communicating your brand purpose
Look at the social impact, the consumer response and the employee behavior, Karen O‘Brien suggests. Consumers vote with their wallet and know a fake brand when they see one. In these times of unease, purposeful businesses will have to stand strong. “They need to walk their talk and take care of their employees and customers to come out on top.”
Shareholder value doesn’t make your employees get out of bed every morning.
These aren‘t just guidelines for already-purposeful businesses, but for the whole globe. The United Nations has now implemented the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for all companies to follow to create a more sustainable world.
This means profit is driven from equal employment opportunities for all people, reduction of impact on the planet and its resources, plus supporting local and small businesses and communities. In the coming years, governments will place more pressure on businesses to be inline with these new mandates. If you‘re not purposeful yet, you will have to be.
Putting people first
During a time of crisis, these ideals can seem lofty and unattainable, however, being purposeful with your employees and customers is exactly what will support your community and the economy.
“People-first thoughts are important in all processes,” Karen O‘Brien cooly states. The companies that consider people in all their decisions during this time are the ones that are going to pay employees whether they‘re working remotely or unable to work during this time. They‘re also the ones investing in remote technologies so business can carry on as usual. People first also includes putting customers and society first.
This focus on adding value to the local and global community brings a huge boost to the economy, which is imperative now as we move towards reducing the economic impact and social disruption of the virus. The most important thing for brands right now is to “be transparent and accountable for all the decisions you make right now.”
Embracing brand purpose in a crisis
So how can businesses embrace their purpose on a practical level to serve them? Mario urges that it‘s about focusing internally with your team to ensure that your employees are on board, “It all comes down to leadership.” The more your team is rallied behind the company‘s purpose, the more they‘re able to serve both the business and the consumer.
Karen adds, “Purpose is the job of every employee. They have to hold themselves in alignment with the brand purpose.” Although the crisis places a lot of pressure on the ecosystem of businesses, it can provide a great chance for growth.
What decisions will businesses really make when the chips are down? When things get critical, how will the decisions really be made?
As we prepare as global citizens for the weeks of the virus, it‘s important to remember how much the world has changed. “The communications industry is so much different than it was even 10 years ago,” Karen remarks.
It then becomes imperative to use this point of the crisis to improve your business, using purpose as the key. That‘s the reality; purpose really is the key that unlocks your brand‘s potential. From a stronger business model, to a more inclusive and dedicated workforce, the opportunities are endless when we come together under a unified purpose.
Let RDB be your expert partner in leading your business through a crisis with a purpose-driven approach!
Contact us to schedule your first consultation and future proof your business with purpose-focused branding, authentic crisis communication and compelling content & storytelling to drive leads and sales.