communicating purpose: why we didn’t get it then, & why we must get it now!
the transformed landscape
We all knew that we would emerge from lockdowns to transformed marketplaces. Most now realize that in the global call to ‘Build Back Better’ people aren’t referring just to profit. They want more – more social action whether that be on diversity, inclusivity, employee welfare, mental health, affordable medicare for all, the environment or saving their local high streets. They want to do business, to buy from and work for, people who reflect their values. Indeed 12 years after Simon Sinek’s advice, the 2021 Deloitte ‘Global Marketing Trends’ study tells us that Millennials and Gen Zs will only support those who share their values and ignore the rest. Other studies show that 68% of consumers are more willing to share content on their social networks from purpose-driven companies than product/service for profit focused organizations.
But say you have found your purpose and know your values – how do you communicate them to the marketplace and your workforce and infuse that purpose into your organization?
purpose as a persuader
Put your ‘WHY’ at the beginning and center of all your communications – verbal, written, visual and digital – and transparently follow-through with action. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can ‘purpose-wash’ consumers and employees whose trust is now only earned through authenticity.
Purposeful communication goes well beyond traditional corporate social responsibility which was used by most to prove ‘good corporate citizen’ credential without really measuring the impact of their actions. Purposeful communication is demonstrating that you have listened to your chosen audiences’ concerns, you share them, and will constructively help. The emotional response engendered earns trust and loyalty, providing you are authentic all the way.
purpose in Action
Action Global’s Dubai-based client, the multi-faceted Easa Saleh Al Gurg (EASA) Group decided its purpose is to better people’s health and welfare – a move aligned to its business as the Group represents a number of major brands whose products are designed to better our lives. EASA decided to begin by valuing the mental health of its workforce and so launched its Enaya Employee Assistance Program (EEAP) – which can provide its 3,000 plus staff, and their families, with confidential psychological and emotional support from credible experts. EASA has positioned itself as a great and caring group to work for, as a company that makes a difference to the way people live, and as a market leader – its launch came months ahead of the WHO guidelines for Mental Health at Work.
Abdulla Al Gurg, ESAG’s Group CEO spelt out the benefit: “The approach has paid huge dividends in terms of staff retention, loyalty, and shared innovation.”
Another example amongst Action’s client base is in Russia with our client Santeen who launched a Glaucoma disease awareness campaign. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, people were delaying their eye care and not taking the necessary steps to reduce risk. Santen are leaders in eye health and wanted to raise awareness of the problem and encourage people to take steps to ensure their disease was actively managed. Santen commissioned a pan-EU (incl. Russia) survey to understand what patients know about the risk of unmanaged disease and what they should be doing to prevent eyesight issues. An integrated communications campaign engaged with the target audiences in a meaningful way, to create a sense of urgency and positively affect behaviour change with regards to glaucoma management.
In essence purposeful communication shows customers that together you can make an impact. It drives people to feel part of change for something they value. It’s WHY you’ll win audiences over and keep them on side.