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Purpose by the Numbers

Written by: Matt Stansberry

Leading a business from a focus of purpose not only gives direction and inspiration to employees, but many companies also see bottom-line growth from customers looking for and responding to purpose-led companies.

I have yet to meet a business leader or company that I admire that hasn’t wanted to make a big impact, make a difference or leave a legacy. These leaders and businesses don’t shy away from risk, but they are willing to commit to a purpose and dedicate themselves to taking action.

And similar to the idea of “big risk, big reward,” so goes our commitment to building businesses around purpose–the bigger the commitment, the
bigger the potential impact. The more we invest inour people, customers, communities and causes, the more we discover our true meaning and our organization’s true purpose. Ultimately, purpose is about helping others.

Big Commitment

What does a big commitment look like? Here’s the great thing: You get to decide.

Consider this: 86 percent of companies that over-perform on revenue growth link everything they do to purpose, an Insights 2020 study sponsored by the Advertising Research Foundation found. And, in a global survey by Accenture Strategy, results show that 62 percent of customers want companies to use their platforms to speak out on current events and issues such as sustainability, internal diversity, inclusion efforts and more.

Seventh Generation is raising the bar for its 2025 goals and taking steps to be a zero-waste company. By 2025, 100 percent of materials and ingredients will be bio-based, packaging will be reusable and reused, recyclable and recycled, or biodegradable, the water cycle will not be contaminated during a product’s life cycle and much more.

Consumers are acutely aware of where they are putting their time, money and resources. Three-quarters of Generation Z and 80 percent of Millennials say it’s important for brands to take a stand, according to research from Sprout Social.

Big Impact
What does a big impact look like? In Jim Stengel’s book Grow, research partner Millward-Brown Optimor found that the “Stengel 50” of purpose- driven companies experienced 10 years of pace-setting growth and grew three times faster than the competition. Here are some examples of what big impact looks like for companies willing to commit to change:

Since 2004, Dove has completely changed how they communicate with their customers. They’re advocating for girls’ self-esteem and redefining what beauty is in the 21st century. By communicating with their purpose first, Dove’s sales have exploded, jumping from $2.5 billion to $4 billion after the shift.

Consumers are four-to-six times more likely to purchase, protect and champion purpose-driven companies, according to a recent study from the Zeno Group, an international communications firm.

In 2001, Patagonia launched a “Don’t Buy This Jacket” Black Friday campaign. The message behind the campaign was to encourage people to consider the effect on the environment and to only purchase what they need. Despite their efforts, sales increased by approximately 30 percent in the nine months following the ad. The company received about $10 million in sales revenue from Black Friday campaigns, supporting the idea that consumers want to buy from a conscious brand. They also donated all their revenues to environmental protection groups.

Research by Nielsen found that 48 percent of U.S. consumers would change their consumption habits to lessen their impact on the environment.

Want to make a big impact this year? Start with a big commitment to purpose.

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