The Power of Corporate Purpose: 4 Ways to Unlock Impact
What does corporate purpose truly mean in today’s landscape?
There are countless ways for companies to connect their brand to positive social impacts not only among the direct populations they serve, but also on a broader scale. From investing in underserved communities to reducing environmental impact, there are myriad ways to foster change. To add, the jargon surrounding corporate purpose can be confusing – corporate social responsibility (CSR) used to be in vogue but environmental, social, and governance (ESG) has been dominating headlines more recently – and the reality is that there’s no singular right way to make an impact.
A recent discussion at The Bliss Group touched on the value of and path toward unlocking corporate purpose for a meaningful social impact. Panelists from the finance and beauty industries joined us to talk about what this looks like today and where it’s heading in the future.
- Purpose, people, planet, and profit can work together.
Purpose and profit aren’t mutually exclusive. For example, take B Corporations. The B Corporation movement aims to transform business, the economy, and society while upholding the notion that business can be a force for good. And in the long term, pursuing purpose is a win-win-win for all involved because it stands to benefit businesses, their clients, and our world.
- Progress doesn’t happen overnight.
Starting a purpose-based initiative can feel daunting. As with any evolution, meaningful change rarely happens overnight. The way in which a company chooses to pursue purpose doesn’t have to feel out of left field, either. There are ways to align impact with the issues that are already central to customers and clients, as well as existing business goals. Companies looking to make an impact should assess what’s important to them, their employees, and their clients as they pave the way forward.
- Authenticity is key.
An authentic purpose-based initiative or approach to business that is true to employees and those they serve is more likely to galvanize internal support and resonate externally. It’s clear that the spotlight on purpose isn’t going anywhere soon. It won’t be long until impact initiatives are tablestakes. Those who are going about them earnestly will stand out from the pack.
- Storytelling helps keep the mission alive and encourages support.
Showcasing impact tells clients, prospects, and employees about your company values and how your company acts on them. Of note, storytelling around impact (and impact-based work itself) shouldn’t be one-and-done. Consistency – and proof of impact via suitable benchmarks and metrics – is key. Companies need to walk the walk when it comes to impact and show that they are in it for the long run. Continuing to share progress and report on milestones both internally and externally is important to companies’ reputation for being a source of good.
We’ve reached an inflection point where societal good is not just the responsibility of nonprofits. It’s an increasingly important part of the for-profit ecosystem, too. As companies embark on their purpose journey, they should remember to stay true to themselves, their workforce, and their purpose-based missions so they can maximize impact for those they serve and the world around them.
By Sarah Eisler
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels