Does Your Company Have a Soul?

Nowadays, consumers prefer purpose-driven brands. Use these key points to create one.

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By Joey Hodges

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In today's society, customers remember purpose-driven brands. Purpose-driven brands are associated with positive consumer feedback, happier workforces, higher market shares and increased customer satisfaction. Having a clear purpose for your organization gives it a soul. It tells customers what problems you're here to solve, why your organization exists and what it wants to be.

Businesses that have a purpose will do more for the communities in which they work, create deeper connections with consumers, retain and attract top talent, and increase impact and results.

Purpose-driven brands attract customers

A recent analysis conducted by public relations firm Porter Novelli evaluated how different brand names were viewed in the eyes of consumers. The study found a clear association between purpose-driven brands and words like "transparent" or "trustworthy," which matter when consumers have to make purchasing decisions. The study also revealed more than 71 percent of people would prefer to buy from a purpose-driven company over the alternative, if quality and cost were equal.

In the same survey, 86 percent of respondents said they would trust a company more if it was led by purpose. This type of business also inspires advocacy, with over 75 percent saying they would recommend others to buy from the company, and another 62 percent saying they would use social media to share information about purpose-led companies.

Related: 3 Ways Customer Relationships Will Change Forever In Light Of COVID-19

Consumers prioritize strong brand trust in this day and age

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer of 2021, the perception of who to trust has significantly changed since the start of COVID-19. Some of the key takeaways brands can apply to their purpose-driven brand include:

  • Leading on key issues: Brands must be able to lead on important issues, from upskilling to sustainability and even racism. Customers expect action, not just talk.
  • Provide trustworthy content: Customers want businesses to provide reliable, unbiased and truthful information. Businesses must feel comfortable sharing facts with the public, but should do so while empathizing.
  • Find a common purpose: A brand can't act alone to make huge societal change. Instead, they need to pair with other businesses or government organizations to truly make their talk a reality.

As this new wave of behavior starts to impact buying decisions, it's essential to step back and figure out where you and your company fit in this equation. However, this doesn't mean hosting a quick meeting with your team to determine how to market yourselves as purpose-driven. Consumers can easily see through a fake purpose, whether it be from your company culture or the way you source your products.

Creating a purpose-driven business requires action. It requires you to put in the work to start a business that meets these values. This is not an easy process. It involves a lot of decision-making or culture changes from the top.

Related: How to Earn Your Clients' Trust (and Keep It)

How to walk the walk

If you're serious about making a shift in the way your brand does business, it's time to follow through. Starting a purpose-driven business doesn't mean you need to be a nonprofit, social enterprise or charity. Instead, it means you're doing more with your business than just churning a profit.

Having a purpose allows companies to use their platform to solve problems they care about. Plus, purpose attracts the type of talent you want for your workforce. According to a 2018 LinkedIn survey, more than 71 percent of professionals would be willing to receive less salary to work for a company with a mission they believed in.

If you want to start a purpose-driven business or lead your culture to become more purpose-driven, there are a few basics you need to set up the foundation and framework. Jump into action by following these tips:

  • Ask yourself hard questions

Creating a purpose-driven business takes self-reflection and the ability to ask yourself hard questions. Ask yourself if your business model is ethical. Go through each part of your business's supply chain to ensure there is a good reason — besides profit — you're using a vendor or material.

If you need to make a significant decision in your business, get in the habit of asking if it aligns with your overall purpose. Don't do what everyone else is doing. Do what you believe is right, even if it's not the easy route.

  • Find the bigger goal

What is the "why" behind your business? How will your business impact the world? How will others benefit from your creation? Your bigger goal can be on a global or community scale. Having a "why" helps create policies and a company culture that aligns with those values.

  • Inspire your team

It's essential to have the right team in place when trying to create a purpose-driven company. If your employees aren't invested in your company's mission, it'll be hard to see your purpose or intentions followed through. Ensure your employees have the right tools and equipment to meet their goals and do their jobs successfully. Keep them motivated, emotionally and mentally safe, and make them a part of your company. Share updates, company information, and wins you're making in your business, especially towards a bigger purpose.

Related: 3 Reasons Why a Strong Purpose Is a Good Business Idea

Joey Hodges

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Founder & CEO of Demonstrate

Joey Hodges is the founder and CEO of Demonstrate, an independently owned, award-winning, full-service marketing and communications agency. With over 15 years of multifaceted brand marketing and integrated communications experience, Hodges is a seasoned communications professional.

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