A short guide to communicating with purpose

As a small business copywriter I hear the phrase ‘purpose-driven’ a lot and I suspect you have too.  But what does it really mean to be a purpose-driven organisation, and why are so many people – employees and consumers, expecting more than just a transactional relationship with the businesses they are involved with?

Your reason why

A clear purpose sets out why you do what you do, and it shapes the way that you do it. In a genuinely purpose-driven organisation, both leaders and employees will be able to articulate this purpose and understand how it relates to them and the wider team.   

A meaningful approach

Knowing what you stand for as a business has always been important, but now more than ever, consumers are looking for ways to contribute to the greater good. Quite simply, they expect more from the organisations they engage with.

Businesses with a clear and unifying purpose are better able to provide a consistently high level of service as well as implement strategies that support growth as well as contributing to wider society in a meaningful way.

No matter how big or small, businesses with a clear purpose see far greater employee engagement and customer loyalty than that of their competitors. After all, the most memorable brands, those that see the most success, are those who are driven by more than just money or the products and services they provide. 

By creating a narrative around your purpose, you will be able to bring your team together (forget about silos), provide a cornerstone for your marketing activity, and a framework for strategic decision making.  

It might seem like a lot of effort, but in the long run, it really is worthwhile.

Keep it simple

Every organisation is different, but as far as it is possible to generalise, your purpose needs to be specific, as well as aspirational. You’ll want both employees and clients to buy into it, so there needs to be clarity about what it means for them in terms of impact and behaviours. It’s also advisable to keep it concise so that there’s little room for doubt.  

Why am I talking about this?

Well, because your purpose should weave like an invisible thread throughout your communications. Both those that are externally facing and those designed with an internal audience in mind. But this is only possible if you have a clearly defined purpose and can articulate it succinctly and confidently.

We’re all looking for ways to differentiate ourselves from our competitors and create meaningful (i.e. emotional) engagement with our target audience – having a clear purpose is a great way to do this.

Just a one-off?

Nope. Sure, you might need to set up a project to kickstart discussions, but purpose isn’t something that you can complete, cross off your to-do list and assign to a dusty corner of your office.  

Putting time and critical thinking into getting it right at the outset is an approach most purpose-driven organisations would advocate. Still, they will also tell you that it needs to be an ongoing part of your business. In practice, this means integrating purpose into both ways of working and your culture – for the lifetime of your business.  

It’s more than likely that you’ll need to tweak and refine it as time passes and your organisation evolves, but that’s ok, because in doing so it will continue to be relevant and reflect who you are and what you do as a business.   

If you’d like to talk about how to articulate your purpose or integrate it into your business communications – get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.

alice@alicesolaiman.com / 07738 940727

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