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Can you have Purpose and Profit? Yes. And you should

Nov 3, 2021

Some would have you believe that you cannot have your cake and eat it too. This is not the case with profit and purpose.

Corporate purpose and profit tend to go hand in hand

A truly purpose-led organisation is more likely to grow into new markets, engage with customers, and achieve support from its stakeholders. It is also proven that purpose-driven companies grow faster, deliver greater profit and have more aligned and happier staff. A profitable organisation with a purpose-driven business model can also add more value for its customers, stakeholders, and community, employ more staff and build a stronger future.

Four key considerations for ensuring that your business purpose delivers profit and growth are as follows:

Link purpose to your business strategy

The most successful purpose-led transformations are achieved when purpose is an intrinsic part of the whole organisation. From the business practices and products to services, behaviours and experiences you deliver. It should sit at the very top of the organisation with direct ownership by the C-Suite and board. And it should be measured and reported on as part of your regular strategy review process. It can help a great deal to work with the right brand purpose agency to put these frameworks in place.

Profits are in no way inconsistent with purpose – in fact, profits and purpose are inextricably linked. Profits are essential if a company is to effectively serve all its stakeholders over time – not only shareholders, but also employees, customers, and communities. Similarly, when a company truly understands and expresses its purpose, it functions with the focus and strategic discipline that drives long-term profitability.”
BlackRock 2020

Be clear about the role of purpose within your organisation

Your corporate purpose should have a clear role within the organisation. At global holding company Nippon Paint Holdings, the purpose “Enriching our living world through the power of science + imagination” has a clearly defined role – to drive global growth, partnerships and MSV, and to continue to deliver products and services that solve societal problems. One clear mandate was that the purpose-led transformation would continue to drive (and increase) MSV. As such, one of the key business principles is “Prosper Together (MSV) by fulfilling our obligations and commitments to all stakeholders (consumers, customers, communities, suppliers, governments) with absolute integrity and fairness.”

“You can’t create lasting value if you ignore the needs of your customers, suppliers, and employees. Investing for long-term growth should – and often does – result in stronger economies, higher living standards, and more opportunities for individuals.”

McKinsey & Co: Putting Value on Corporate Purpose 2020

Have a strong leadership team that owns purpose

Purpose also drives visionary leadership which leads to greater growth and profit. The DuluxGroup leadership team has been committed to the organisation’s purpose “Imagine a better place” and values from the day it separated from Orica to become DuluxGroup. The commitment helped the team remain focused and drive 15 years of consistent and significant growth – with DuluxGroup purchasing many companies, expanding globally, and making extraordinary returns, then more recently joining global holding company Nippon Paint Holdings.

“Over the past five years, there has been an explosion of interest in purpose-driven leadership. Academics argue persuasively that an executive’s most important role is to be a steward of the organisation’s purpose. Business experts make the case that purpose is a key to exceptional performance, while psychologists describe it as the pathway to greater wellbeing.”

HBR: From Purpose to Impact

Execute your purpose with commitment and integrity – put it into practice

Corporate purpose will only lead to results when you put it into practice. Frankly, you are wasting your money if you are just developing a statement, producing creative and putting it on screens. Your staff, stakeholders, customers, and community will see straight through you. If you want transformation, growth, and a truly purpose-led organisation you need to put purpose into practice. It requires you to live and breathe the purpose across what you do, how you behave, your values, your business planning, manufacturing, ESG, and your customer and staff experiences.

Goodman Group is one of the first organisations that Brand Council worked with to develop its corporate purpose strategy in 2006. From day one, Goodman has run its purpose program with genuine commitment, and has gone on to achieve record-breaking results, becoming one of Australia’s truly global success stories. Goodman is a genuinely purpose and values-led organisation, and the leadership team have owned and committed to the purpose and implemented it with absolute integrity since the day it was developed. The company’s constant growth and profit are tantamount to the team’s extraordinary business skills and commitment to purpose, values, and ethics.

Brand Council has been developing corporate purpose, brand strategy and putting purpose into practice for more than 16 years. Our brand strategy specialists would love to share their insights to help you achieve your purpose-led transformation. Explore our areas of expertise, or contact us today to find clarity via brand purpose consultancy.