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Cindi Jones is featured in the December 2019 Quirk’s “Ask the Expert”!

Cindi Jones is featured in the December 2019 Quirk’s “Ask the Expert”!

Our colleague, Cindi Jones is featured in the December 2019 Quirk’s “Ask the Expert” column.  In the column, Cindi responds to this question:

Today’s marketing world is ever-changing – how prepared are you for these new realities and consumer expectations?

Cindi talks about how marketers can address 5 new marketing realities:

  • “Small is big”
  • “It’s personal and it’s a segment of one”
  • “Sustainability is an expectation, really.”
  • “AI,AR,VR.  It’s all here. Now.”
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More Questions (and Answers) About Corporate Purpose

Since conducting a webinar on Corporate Purpose back in 4th quarter of 2019, we received many follow up questions.  Here are a few of the more common, along with our perspective from Carol Gstalder, Corporate Brand & Reputation Strategy.

Q: It seems like every time you pick up a newspaper or listen to CNBC someone is talking about Corporate Purpose.    If you had to weigh comments in favor of vs against the idea of Corporate Purpose, where would you say it’s falling right now?

A: As of today, momentum is leaning towards giving the Business Roundtable companies the benefit of doubt that their pledge to run their businesses in the interest of a broader set of stakeholders (employees, customers, suppliers, communities and shareholders) is truly genuine.   Establishing comprehensive KPI’s and measuring long term actions and outcomes will ultimately reveal the extent to which board and company behaviors align with this pledge.

Q: Should individual brands have their own purpose, or should companies reach for an overarching “house of brands” purpose?

A: It’s important to have an overarching and clear core purpose for the entire company.   However, the ways in which a company activates a core purpose and brings it to life can and should reflect each brand’s unique reason for being.   This recognition of the brands’ uniqueness will differentiate each of the brands in the corporate portfolio and help define how the company can make a difference to its stakeholders.

Q: This all sounds very interesting, but it sounds like it requires a whole realignment of a company.  Is there a way to do this in stages and how long would it take?

A: A pledge towards stakeholder value and purpose is only meaningful if it is followed up with true commitments and actions like:

  • Turning their values into action,
  • Authentically connecting with important stakeholder concerns,
  • Operationalizing across their business.

A lack of authenticity risks using purpose as a shallow badge with little to nothing behind it – creating business risk.

Key stages involve:

  1. Defining the corporate purpose,
  2. Building internal alignment,
  3. Activating purpose and long-term measurement and continuous improvement,
  • Identifying various ways to stage alignment and activation
  • Recognizing what for the business.

Q: In working with clients on this issue, what challenges, if any, have they mentioned around communicating it internally?

A: Identifying how purpose is personally relevant to employees across various functional areas, businesses and brands is a common challenge companies experience.

In defining purpose, is critical to understand employees’ values, what is driving their behaviors and the end states they are trying to achieve.

  • What do your internal stakeholders expect?
  • What is it unique about your company and what it does that truly motivates employees and connects to both their hearts and minds.
  • How do you take that central purpose and build buy-in and engagement, beginning to lead from your head and heart as you illuminate your reason for being across stakeholders?

This is an area of challenge for some companies as they work to uncover that internal relevance and human story that conveys their purpose and builds internal alignment.

Q: What methods can possibly be used for measurement?

A: Establishing KPI’s and measuring performance on specific stakeholder behaviors through primary custom research helps companies to assess their progress.  Typical questions you would want to measure for include:

  • Are employees more deeply engaged?
  • Are you attracting top talent to your company?
  • Do communities welcome your operations and give you license to operate?
  • Are you fulfilling promises to your customers and suppliers?

Companies are also increasingly adopting relevant universal goals, such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, to measure their own progress against broader societal goals.

View original webinar HERE