How an Organization’s Sense of Purpose Can Set It Apart

August 31, 2018

How an Organization’s Sense of Purpose Can Set It Apart

How an Organization’s Sense of Purpose Can Set It Apart

One of the major trends we are seeing in marketing today is the idea of the purpose-driven economy. Consumers are looking for products and services with which they can identify. In a Fast Company article, the author discusses the concept of "purpose motivation" and ranks an index of 150 companies. For example, the author's research shows that 30 percent of study participants can identify Kind Snack's purpose (beyond just making a profit) and 28 percent find it motivating enough to publicly support. In this case, Kind receives a purpose motivation of 93 percent. This index works in reverse as well. While 60 percent of study participants can identify a purpose beyond profit in Volkswagen, only 11 percent say it aligns with their own values and only 2 percent find it motivating enough to publicly support the company in achieving its purpose.

As seen in the examples provided throughout the Fast Company article, the successful fusion of profit and purpose can set an organization apart. When your organization has a strong sense of purpose and shared values, it will thrive. Here are some steps to take to set your organization apart.

Define the Organization's Purpose
An organization's definition of purpose can be expressed by its mission statement, which asks:

  • Why does our organization exist?
  • What is our purpose?

A well-defined mission statement communicates the organization's purpose and direction to employees, customers, and stakeholders. The mission statement also helps to shape the organization's overall strategy.

Live the Organization's Purpose
Different from the mission statement, the organization's values statement includes the core principles that guide its day-to-day culture. The values statement asks:

  • What values are unique to our organization?
  • What values should guide the operations of our organization?
  • What conduct should our employees uphold?

After considering this set of questions and defining a unique values statement, the organization needs to codify these values in a formal Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics is a blueprint that lays out how the organization's values are put into practice and defines procedures to ensure that the values are upheld.

Share the Organization's Purpose
As mentioned in a previous article titled Social Media Marketing Trends, it is essential that organizations share their unique story and integrate social responsibility into their marketing strategy. Repeatedly, studies show that consumers, especially millennials, are looking to businesses to promote positive social platforms. Companies that successfully encourage social change are more likely to be rewarded by consumers' trust and loyalty.

By implementing the above steps to ensure a well-defined sense of purpose, an organization can set itself apart and tap into the idea of "purpose motivation." In a recent analysis, performed by the Harvard Business Review, one senior manager of a North American-based organization concludes that "organizations do better when everyone is rowing in the same direction. A well-integrated, shared purpose casts that direction. Without the shared purpose, organizations tend to run in circles, never making forward progress but always rehashing the same discussions."

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