Why does your business exist? Do you have a meaningful purpose that people can connect to? Find out why having a purposeful business is important, and get examples of companies that are creating a positive impact.
Having a meaningful purpose ensures that your company is about more than just serving up profits to shareholders. It means people can genuinely connect with your organization because they believe in what you’re striving for in the world.
According to the Principles for Purposeful Business by the British Academy, a corporate purpose “identifies how the company assists people, organizations, societies and nations to address the challenges they face, while at the same time avoiding or minimizing problems companies might cause and making them more resilient in the process.”
The Benefits of Purpose-Driven Companies
Research shows clear benefits to having a purpose-driven organization.
Deloitte reported that companies that lead with purpose show higher market share gains, achieve higher customer and employee satisfaction, and grow three times faster than their competitors.
The Strength of Purpose study – which surveyed 8,000 companies in 8 markets – asked people to rate 75 different brands, based on the strength of their purpose.
The results of the study showed that when brands had a strong purpose, consumers were:
- Four times more likely to trust the brand
- Four times more likely to buy from the brand
- Four and a half times more likely to recommend the brand to other people
Additionally, 83% of people said companies should only earn a profit if they also have a positive impact in the world. Purpose is particularly important to younger consumers (those in Gen Z and millennials).
Compelling Examples of Purposeful Businesses
The Body Shop’s goal is to help 40,000 economically vulnerable people around the world access work, as part of the company’s fight for a fairer, more beautiful world. They also want to ensure that 100% of natural ingredients are sustainably sourced and traceable, as well as build 75 million square meters of wildlife corridors to help endangered species thrive.
The Cheeky Panda, a toilet paper manufacturer, was created to provide an alternative to the standard tree-based toilet tissue we normally use. Cheeky Panda’s product is made from sustainable bamboo, which grows incredibly fast without the need for fertilizer. Founder Chris Forbes also notes that their toilet paper doesn’t contain bleach or chlorine.
The Dove Self-Esteem Project helps teachers, parents, and mentors deliver self-esteem education to 20 million younger people. Dove’s “real beauty” ad campaigns (featuring models of different body shapes and sizes) have struck an important with women and girls all over the world.
Outdoor apparel brand Timberland works hard to connect employees’ everyday work to a shared purpose to “inspire and equip the world to step outside, work together, and make it better.” They have also partnered with Planet Water Foundation to install clean water towers in worker communities that lacked access to clean drinking water.
Savers is a thrift store chain with locations in the U.S., Australia, Canada, and Australia. The organization purchases its products from non-profit organizations that have received the items as donations then sells the items at affordable rates at its brick-and-mortar stores. Savers recycles any items that don't sell and also partners with a number of non-profits to create jobs, assist people with disabilities, and support at-risk children.
Fintech company Auden takes on one of the world’s most toxic financial services: payday loans. Auden is a socially responsible finance company offering more affordable personal loans and financial services to people who have been underserved, excluded, or overcharged by mainstream financial services providers.