If there’s one thing we’ve learnt during the crisis of COVID-19, it’s that now is the time to re-think how we do business.
The global pandemic has forced change at an unprecedented rate, challenging every facet of modern life; causing collective disruption and economic turmoil.
This has created a need for co-dependence of the commercial and charity sector— the two working together, based on mutual interest to solve real-world problems: a moment of ‘convergence.’
Now, as we emerge from lockdown, brands embracing change with a structured ‘values-based’ plan beyond mere survival and knee-jerk opportunism — placing humanity’s needs at its heart, will reign strong.
Ultimate purpose which considers the new landscape of convergence, is what is needed to future-proof business. It is not an after-thought to help brands and businesses respond to consumer trends, nor a tactical response to the crisis of today. It is an intelligent plan that is not only good for business, but also good for the world. It recognises that, for some initiatives, a coalition of interest and action has greater impact.
Brands that define their ultimate purpose and include it into their recovery plans will future-proof their business in the long-term.
Here’s our top tips on how to make a start:
- TAKE ACTION
This is a new era for action, not talking endless talk.
We’ve seen many brands already demonstrate a purpose to good effect. These organisations have found a way to contribute to the massive effort required to help those affected by Covid-19; employees, customers, public services, suppliers, partners, and the wider community.
But for those brands and businesses that have not taken any action, it’s not too late.
The absence of a clearly defined purpose needn’t be a barrier to demonstrating kindness.
Businesses can align with an important societal need that resonates with a core business function or aspect of brand personality and make a difference. Find partners to help you if going it a alone is too daunting a prospect.
- PLAN PROPERLY
Short-term purposeful actions do not replace the need to plan, longer-term.
Purpose should be well-considered in your marketing strategies and communication plans.
Consider these 4 steps:
DEFINE an authentic brand purpose
ALIGN your organisation behind it
BUILD it and prioritise key actions
ACTIVATE it authentically in a planned roll-out
Take time to define a clear and compelling purpose that is relevant to your business and stakeholders. Ensure it is actionable and credible.
Don’t rush into the first social or environmental issue you are asked to support. Don’t seek to support the most obvious issue of the moment, either. Go through a considered process, which doesn’t need to be drawn out or costly. Just make sure purpose is real and relevant.
- SCALE UP FOR GREATER IMPACT
Budgets are tight.
To increase the scale of positive impact you can team up with partners – particularly cause-related organisations, such as charities and NFP’s.
Consider the concerns of your consumers. The cause you align with should reflect the sector in which you operate.
- GET PEOPLE INVOLVED
The success of purpose depends on the support of others to achieve it. Stakeholder engagement is more critical for purpose roll-out than for CSR activities.
- MEASURE & LEARN
Define new, blended metrics for measuring success since they’re likely to be outdated in a converged landscape. Review them often.
Apply learnings in real-time.
Communicate purpose widely, both internally and externally in simple ways that make your ultimate purpose accessible.
Internal alignment is key. Externally too, consumers expect brands to take active responsibility for many of the problems facing the world today. Be clear about what you’re doing and the difference it’s making.
- THE CREATIVE OPPORTUNITY
COVID-19 affords us greater creative license to create bigger and bolder ideas – shifting focus from consumer to humanity’s needs.
This calls for more expansive and evolutionist creativity. Not single-minded propositions.
It’s likely that creative answers will be cracked by teams, not soloists. Let your ideas bring people together and explore new channels.
Businesses and brands that build a recovery plan around a clear, compelling and authentic purpose will not only recover quicker, but will also create resilience and sustainable value.
That can only be a good thing: for society, the environment, people’s livelihoods, as well as shareholder value.
At GOOD, we are conscious of the positive impact we can have. We have over 25 years’ experience understanding purpose and impact. Our knowledge of businesses, brands and charities can help you unlock the next steps to achieving purpose.
We’re offering brands free consultancy sessions and advice on how best to rebuild with purpose.
Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org