Moving the Discussion from Why to How

July 10, 2020


In June, Zeno Group released a new Global study on brand purpose. The results of the study, which surveyed 8,000 people across eight countries, were clear: 

  • 94% of consumers globally say it’s important that companies have a strong purpose.
  • Consumers are 4X’s more likely to purchase from a brand if the brand has a strong purpose.
  • Consumers are 4.5X’s more likely to recommend a brand with a strong purpose to friends and family.

While a survey of this reach is valuable and helps solidify the business case for purpose, I can’t help but feel like it’s part of a loop. With two looming two national crises, we need to keep building forward, shifting the discussion from the value of brand purpose to acting on purpose. 

In 2009, Simon Sinek captivated us with his TED Talk introducing the Golden Circles: Why, How, What. If we apply this thinking to the purpose movement, there is clarity around What is purpose. As the Zeno study demonstrates, there is sound data about Why brand purpose matters. The next move then is How

According to a recent study from consulting giant McKinsey, 82% of employees surveyed reported that it is important for a company to have a defined purpose statement. Yet, only 42% believed their organization’s purpose statement drives impact. The Zeno study echoed results on behalf of consumers: 94% of consumers believe companies should have a strong purpose, yet only 34% believe most companies actually do.

About a year ago, I did an informal survey of small business leaders. The most startling result of the poll was the discrepancy between those who felt they knew their purpose and how well they adhered to it. About 75% of the people who responded felt they knew their purpose. Yet, only 55% said they adhered to it. 

This margin changed how I think about purpose and was the catalyst for Alignd. It helped me see that the challenge for business leaders isn’t just getting clear about their purpose. It’s also figuring out how to align their business in a way that demonstrates and supports their purpose and creates lasting impact.

This summer, I’ve been working on some new tools to help businesses get aligned on purpose. I look forward to sharing them soon. As I prepare to launch these resources, I would love to hear from you. What challenges are you experiencing aligning your business around its purpose? What is working for you? Leave a comment below.




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Karen Bailey is a brand purpose consultant and specializes in helping companies define their purpose and align their business around it. In 2017, she launched the blog, Purpose Greater Than Profit, to start a meaningful conversation about the increasingly important role of brand purpose, purposeful leadership and a better way of doing business.


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