Knowing how is great, but knowing why is greater. Cultivate Company Purpose

Individuals and companies with clarity of purpose are changing the world. The leaders, marketers, entrepreneurs, and individuals who understand this will be the positive change-makers of tomorrow. Just think of Apple’s ‘Humanizing Technology’ or Google’s ‘Organizing the World’s Information’. These are not straplines or slogans, but deeply rooted value systems driving direction, alignment, and energy from within. Reduced to the max and expressed in five words or less, company purpose sits right at the invisible core of positive transformation.
Here are five purpose-driven key benefits every leader should bear in mind when thinking about the future.

1. Generate Healthier Profits

There’s plenty of evidence that companies with clarity of purpose outperform the market by a 9:1 ratio over a ten-year period. In other words, meaningful companies driven by a higher company purpose increases profits. Purposeful brands outperform the stock market by 133 percent, gain 46 percent more share of wallet and achieve results that are double those of lower rated brands. The same applies for intangible benefits, such as customer and employee loyalty.

2. Gain a Competitive Edge

Applying Moore’s Law loosely to the speed of change in organizations, Purpose-led transformation will enter our lives a lot quicker than we think—and in such an environment, competitive advantage is execution and speed. Company purpose provides the alignment and clarity across the organization to stay agile, react fast, and move as one organic whole, short-cutting corporate red-tape yet keeping everyone focused on the same objectives.

3. Increase Employee & Customer Loyalty

Think about Harley-Davidson for example. Does Harley build the best bikes? Well, who cares—you buy into the brand, work for the company, or simply enjoy the ride because you belong to something much larger than the rationality of getting from one place to another. Fulfilling dreams of personal freedom pushes a sense of internal and external alignment, drives margins up, increases retention, and makes sure that Harley’s logo is still the second most tattooed symbol on any human body for decades to come.

4. Attract The Best Talent

All parameters being equal (pay, fringe benefits, etc.), the power of company purpose can make all the difference in attracting top talent. Why would a bright millennial graduate choose Google over of a job at a traditional bank? The answer is as striking as it is deep: ‘Why should I help make rich people get richer when I can help organize the world’s information?’ Or in other words, we are witnessing a generation entering the workforce that values a Google-type purpose higher than the pure rationality of monetary compensation and nice perks.

5. Create a Culture of Excellence

Clarity of purpose requires a carefully crafted mix of people, behavior, and vision. Cultivating an internal culture of excellence is what lies at the heart of company purpose, radiating from the inside out. Think about your business as a global village in which every interaction is a pleasant experience. Operating in such a mode builds a culture of excellence based on values and ambition—which in turn is intrinsically linked to the very reason why we exist. Or in the words of Prof. Stefano D’Anna: “Be a king first, then kingdom will come.”
So what is your company purpose? If you can’t articulate your very reason for being in five words or less, it is high time give the answer to this question some serious thought. Having a crystal-clear reason why you exist and how you embedded it within your organization is more than a nice to have. Tomorrow’s know-how is no longer enough. Articulating your very ‘raison d’être’ and anchoring it within your entire value chain is not a question of fluff, but one of whether or not you will be able to thrive in the reality of tomorrow.

boss magazine, markus kramer, company purposeBased in London and Zurich, Markus Kramer is a partner at Brand Affairs, a specialized consulting agency advising boards and executives on all aspects of strategic positioning and brand management. The broad range of brands Markus has worked with include Harley-Davidson, Aston Martin, Ferrari, banks & financial service providers, governments, NGOs, startups and many more. Markus is a visiting Associate Professor in Brand Management at Cass Business School in London and a recognized thought leader in the fast-paced world of cutting-edge brand management. He speaks regularly at select business schools and conferences globally. Markus holds degrees in Marketing & Brand Management from the University of California at Berkeley, an MBA (hons.) from the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford and a Certificate in the Future of Commerce from MIT. The Guiding Purpose Strategy by Markus Kramer with Tofig Husein-Zadeh (published by Clink Street Publishing November 30th, 2017) is available to purchase from online retailers including Amazon and to order from all good bookstores. For more information please visit