Digital and social media have democratised communication and given a voice to smaller businesses and individuals. They have disrupted traditional advertising models, from messaging to media strategy and remuneration.
It’s been an exciting process to watch unfold — almost anyone has the opportunity to publish their own messages and find and build their own communities — and we’ve seen some great companies built off the back of it. But is it just us, or are you also tired of constantly being inundated with messages from different companies, all selling the same product or service?
What if we didn’t need to be sold the same product from a different manufacturer based solely on the latest marketing trend or highly-targeted ad campaign?
There are companies who have taken a more considered approach to the way they do business and the impact they have on the environment and surrounding communities. They operate from a set of core values or a singular purpose which guides almost everything they do — from making decisions to communicating with their customers.
In Episode #10 of OneMoreQuestion, Ross sat down with Mike Stopforth to chat about purpose and values, how they’re driving more deliberate behaviour in organisations, and how we’re heading into a world where organisations are going to be forced to consider the effects of their actions or be disregarded by an informed public.
This is why we’re excited about the Impact Economy.
Our world is facing some enormous social and environmental challenges and people are starting to realise that governments aren’t the only ones responsible for the wellbeing of our home planet — they either move too slowly or are incapable of making tough, unpopular decisions that may affect their popularity. As a result, they are starting to ask tougher questions of businesses — questions that said businesses have not yet thought about or tried to avoid.
Businesses, unlike governments, are quick to move and easier to influence (if you’re prepared to vote with your hard-earned money).
“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”— Anna Lappé
Consumers are placing more importance on the role of businesses in society. As a result, businesses are being forced to consider their social and environmental impact, along with the direct impact they have in the lives of their customers.
We’re excited by the idea of consumers asking why they should support and brand or company and them to live their purpose and deliver impact.
We’ve seen this on a larger scale — brands like Patagonia have stated their purpose in no uncertain terms and are aligning their actions to ensure they consistently deliver on the message of being in business to save our home planet.
“Any time that we do something good for the environment, we make more money.”— Rose Marcario, CEO: Patagonia
With companies like these in the spotlight and their impact linked to the idea of saving the world, it’s easy to think that your purpose and impact have to be linked to initiatives to slow down climate change or improve the lives of people in impoverished communities, but we’re here to tell you that your purpose and impact can be considered on a much smaller scale and that your company will be better for it.
Your company’s purpose is the reason it’s in business. Your thoughts, messaging and actions should align with the ultimate intention of delivering on your stated purpose, and as Mike mentioned, your purpose doesn’t have to be a good thing, as long as it’s explicit and reconciled with the truth.
Doing this closes the gap between who you say you are and who you really are. It allows you to:
- Own where you are as an organisation
- State where you want to be and chart a course toward it
Purpose defines your impact and impact rewards your purpose.
By using your purpose to own where you are or set a course for where you want to be, you also define the impact that you want to create as an outcome. Impact is why customers continue to choose your company or brand — it’s the difference you make to their lives.
The rise of consumers who are making informed purchase decisions based on environmental and social impact is going to make it harder for brands to acquire new customers by simply jumping onto the next trend or using highly targeted marketing efforts — a rising tide of privacy regulations for consumers is only going to add a level of complexity.
Brands and companies can capitalise by doubling down on their existing customer base, ensuring that they deliver the impact they promise (and more) by delighting their customers and constantly working to improve brand experiences.
The rise of the impact economy is going to test companies that purport to be something they are not and companies who fail to consider their impact on the environment, as well as their communities and their stakeholders. It will also allow consumers to make more informed decisions when interacting with companies and deciding where to spend their money.
We see the impact economy as an opportunity for companies, regardless of size, to build strong brand narratives, find customers that buy into the brand’s reason for being, and build loyal customer bases. If you are able to state your purpose clearly and honestly, determine the impact you want to make, and align your values to enable your employees to become the best possible advocates for your company, the rise of the impact economy should excite you.