Some words go in and out of fashion. Often.
Our latest is “purpose.” Basic, simple, and oh-so-germaine to the marketplace, the word is being applied by many experts today to brands, as in ‘purpose-driven brands.’ Or some such.
Actually, the Pepsi folks reinvigorated the word in its mid-2000s’ acronym PwP (performance with purpose, we believe). Many followed the leader.
Now, much of purpose’s usefulness in 2016 and beyond is to point consumers away from short-term thinking and toward the company’s higher goals and aims. There’s much ado about ensuring that employees and other stakeholders believe that the business is true to its societal goals, and that it really and truly produces good for itself and for society.
Why the resurrection of purpose? For any number of reasons:
- Millennials’ need for Planet-conscious work, something to stand for
- A very real talent void, a/k/a the hole between retiring Boomers and up-and-coming Ms and Gen Zs
- The cry for employee commitment that lasts longer than a job stint
- Creation of positive, productive business cultures that do all of the above … and more.
Of course, a focus on purpose also manages expectations around profits and performance, reassuring investors that a longer-term perspective is being adopted (and yes, we are cynics). It is refreshing, though, to hear of products that will share consumer views, help change behaviors, and deliver at least a miniscule part of the solution to world ills.
Much like in the 19th and 20th centuries, when corporations built America’s first railroads, introduced cars to the masses, treated diabetes, and made air travel affordable.