Find and Define Purpose
But how do you come up with a purpose for your brand or company? In principle, no general statements can be made here. What is certain, however, is that the goal of a successful company purpose should be to have a positive impact on society and the world and to create a future worth living together.
However, the path to such a corporate purpose is the result of the end result – an individual process that runs differently in every company. Nevertheless, there are some basic rules that you can use as a guide:
How to formulate a suitable purpose?
Four points to consider when formulating your purpose.
By far the most important thing about articulating a business purpose is authenticity. If the purpose of the company does not reflect what really drives the company at its core, no matter how well it is formulated, it will not be successful. Last but not least, many big scandals of very successful companies result from the fact that they have passed over promised positions.
Purpose should be formulated as simply as possible and be comprehensible for all stakeholders. If it is not clear at first glance what is meant by it, the interpretation can also be versatile and the purpose of the company may lose its value.
The purpose is part of the unique selling proposition of a company. It should therefore be individual and not easy to imitate. It is also important that the purpose of the company meets with broad approval. There is no point in setting a corporate purpose that is not a desirable goal in society.
Ideally, the company drives something that brings solutions to societal problems. This not only helps to ensure the future existence of the company, but also to protect the company’s environment – society, climate, ecosystem, etc. – and to make it worth living in.
To give you a better idea of how to achieve a corporate purpose, Aaron Hurst has formulated three main types of purpose:
Purpose is an important concept in the corporate world these days. This term refers to the meaning and purpose of a company. It is the motivation that is deeply rooted in the company and has lasting validity. But what is all this for? Find out here why a well-formulated purpose is so important for the future viability of your company.
Translation: What is the Purpose?
A rough translation of Anglicism already shows the basic idea of purpose in the company. The English word in German means something like:
Accordingly, the corporate purpose is the why and what for of a brand or company. It is the mission of the company and plays a key role in determining its future.
As late as the 1960s, it was perfectly legitimate that profit maximization and shareholder satisfaction were the only purpose of a company. Half a century later, however, it is no longer that simple. In order to keep all stakeholders on board these days and to position a brand or company strongly and permanently, it takes a lot more.
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Sense and Purpose in the Company: What is a Corporate Purpose for?
The purpose of the company is primarily about getting all stakeholders – investors, employees, customers, etc. – enthusiastic about the company in the long term. It forms the core of the brand. It is not only the reason and motivation for every step of the company, but as a direct consequence also the reason and motivation for becoming or remaining a stakeholder.
The purpose of the company is discussed again and again, especially in relation to work and personnel. Millennials and Gen Z are extremely important in this context. They now make up an essential part of (potential) employees. It is said that they are always looking for the meaning and purpose of their work and want to do good.
To quote Aaron Hurst, an expert on corporate purpose, “People don’t go to work just to get a paycheck; they want to feel what they are doing matters to the world and that they are growing in the job”.
This is exactly where the corporate purpose comes in. It gives your brand or company a meaning and a “raison d’être” and thereby tries to create meaningful work for your employees. It gives the company and its employees a common, unifying thought. Overall, it is always about what contribution a company makes to the general public and what makes it a valuable member of society.
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- What do we want to change?
- What is our ideology?
- How do we act “right”?
- How do we get better?
- What quality standard do we want to achieve?
- What is our influence?
- How do we responsibly deal with it?
However, that doesn’t mean you have to base your business’ purpose on one of these three basic types. In practice, there often occur mixed forms and unclear positioning, which are based on these types but cannot be assigned 1:1. However, they help you to define the purpose of your company based on specific key questions.
Purpose in Practice: 5 companies – 5 Statements
Most large companies owe their success, among other things, to a successful purpose. Here are a few examples of well-known companies and their missions. Let yourself be inspired:
- Nike: : “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. *If you have a body, you are an athlete.”
- Google: “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
- Facebook: “To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”
- Twitter: “To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.”
- Sony: “To be a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity.”
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