There were a lot of subjects covered at Web Summit 2019 in Lisbon, but a recurrent theme throughout the three days was the importance of business purpose. Whether it’s the purpose of companies in our society or the mission they carry internally, purpose is identified by many marketeers and business leaders as the factor that will differentiate your business from other companies as well as help you lead your workforce in the right direction.
Listen to what your customers care about
We live in a feedback economy
Zander Lurie, CEO at SurveyMonkey, started his talk with the fact that most people don’t think business leaders care about what their customers think. There is increasing distrust in big companies which tends to expand to companies in general. Customers know when they are being sold to and they now crave for authenticity and transparency.
This trend is exacerbated by the fact that you can now expose everything companies do through feedback platforms. Whether you’re leaving a review on TripAdvisor, Google, Trustpilot or exposing bad management behaviour on Glassdoor, it is extremely easy to give your opinion about anything and everything. Allowing you to have this opinion distributed and accessible on the internet.
Don’t be mistaken, these reviews are read by people to help them make a decision about your business. Indeed, 50% of people will buy from or boycott a company because of their mission or ethics. So potential consumers will be very sensitive to the way your company tackles environment challenges, employee wellbeing, social issues and more.
Listening is very important in business
Feedback has never been more important with Generation Z growing up and having growing purchasing power. These people are extremely diverse, educated, tech savvy and care deeply about the planet and society they live in. They have tremendous amount of choice which means that they will consider your value as a company within their purchasing decision.
Part of these people might be – or become - your targeted customers and even if they’re not, it doesn’t mean that other generations don’t care. Therefore, you need to address the things your customers care about. You need to listen to them and their feedback, understand their worries and problems and show that you genuinely care about them. It’s no longer all about profit but about the way you contribute to the society you operate in.
Your role as a business is no longer just to make profit
Of course, companies have to aim to be profitable to survive. However, it is no longer enough to focus on profits exclusively, you have to create a long-lasting relationship with your customers based on trust if you want to compete in this market. You need to give them a reason to buy from you. Simon Sinek says it’s all about the ‘why’. Why do you do what you do? Why do sell your products, why do you provide your services.
Companies are no longer delivering for their stakeholders in the business sense but need to deliver for stakeholders in the larger sense: SOCIETY. They need to be accountable to employees, investors, customers and society as a whole.
This ‘why’, is not only important for the people you sell to, but also for the people who work for you. They need to be able to identify with the company mission, have a sense of meaning in what they do. Having a clear company mission and purpose is the key to inspiring leadership for your workforce.
Focus on people, not customers
Your company might describe itself as customer centric and it’s that’s great. However, Barbara Martin Coppola, Chief Digital Officer at IKEA thinks it’s no longer enough and you need to be people centric. Your organisation needs to go beyond customers and impact people’s lives.
From people, to their home, to the society and finally the planet, your business needs to take into account each of these levels to build a truly, impactful purpose. Obviously, this model works very well for IKEA, which impacts the daily lives of many people, starting with their home. Every company might not be able to have an impact at all these levels, but it doesn’t mean you can’t find your own purpose and innovative ways of impacting society and the planet positively. “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something”.
Don’t just copy others though. Burger King CMO Fernando Machado says you need to find your own purpose and align it with what your brand stands for, else people don’t buy it. For example, Burger King’s slogan is “have it your way” so they focus their efforts on diversity programmes because they align with their core mission. So find your own purpose, listen to your customers and think about how you can take your mission further to impact society positively.
So, what’s your purpose?
Purpose is now critical to differentiate yourself in a saturated market and to create lasting relationships with customers. Today, trust is hard to gain and easy to lose. Your business needs to be transparent and authentic and carry a purposeful mission that impacts society positively to stay alive.
If you have defined your purpose and mission but are not sure how to convey it to customers, get in touch with our team of experts. We’d love to discuss the best ways to reach your potential customers and deliver your mission to them.