At the Cannes Lions International Festival a couple of weeks ago, The Economist released the results of its latest survey. It explores the attitudes of global business executives towards ‘operating with Social Purpose’.
The findings were enlightening – but perhaps not surprising
* 70% of respondents agree that, ‘operating with Social Purpose’ is important for their companies
* 78% said companies talk about Social Purpose more than they invest in long-term initiatives to support it
* There is a disconnect between thinking and doing – and a fear around actually doing it
This is despite almost half (48%) of respondents believing that companies that operate with Social Purpose have a financially competitive advantage over their peers.
So, what’s stopping business leaders from implementing Social Purpose into their companies’ governance, culture and behaviour, and from communicating it well?
I think it needs some – or all – of the following:
*A solid business case for Social Purpose. A well thought out strategy which demonstrates how becoming more purposeful is good for your business as well as society
*A unique and authentic Social Purpose, summarised in a clear mission statement, outlining the social impact your organisation makes. Your purpose – crucially – should be aligned and integrated with your core business
*A supportive leadership (or the ability to bring leadership on board!) which recognises the importance of Social Purpose – for society, business growth and employee engagement – and plays a role in driving it forward so it goes beyond headlines
*Trackable success metrics that define objectives and targets around what ‘success’ looks like for your purposeful business
*A risk mitigation process, including checks and balances around your Social Purpose messaging, alignment with partners on social issues and assessment of reputation impact
*Employees and stakeholders becoming advocates and champions of your Social Purpose
*A communications toolkit to help you share your Social Purpose aims and objectives both internally and externally
*A communications plan for Social Purpose content to map out your comms strategy annually and tell your stories
*A purpose focused marketing and PR roadmap, outlining ways Social Purpose can help drive more meaningful relationships with clients, customers and new prospects
*Creative content and campaigns which use your Social Purpose to speak to your audience. Helping you differentiate, engage, start conversations, establish yourselves as thought leaders, attract best talent – and make an impact for good.
Embedding a truly authentic Social Purpose doesn’t happen overnight. Unilever has been ahead of the purposeful game for years. Yet it’s still developing its ultimate goal, with chief executive Alan Jope recently announcing plans to “dispose” of any Unilever brands that lack purposeful messaging.
If, like the majority of respondents to The Economist’s survey, you believe that ‘operating with purpose’ is important, aspirations need to turn into actions. Whatever stage you are at in your Social Purpose journey, and whatever your organisation stands for, there will be a purposeful pathway for you.
To find out how Verity London can help you uncover, share and communicate your social purpose, let’s chat. firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 8445 8324 / www.veritylondon.co.uk
Call us on +44 (0)20 8445 8324