We believe purpose-driven branding is the key to success in modern business. As we reflect on the transformative events of the past year, it becomes clear that corporate purpose is no longer a mere buzzword—it has become a driving force reshaping the global economy. In collaboration with the Purpose Collaborative, a network of purpose-driven firms and thought leaders, we present valuable insights from professionals across the globe on what business leaders can expect in 2023.
A Growing Understanding of Societal Issues
The concerns of citizens have expanded beyond personal struggles as social issues and human suffering come into sharper focus. Climate change remains a top concern, but there is a notable rise inattention towards social and human-focused issues such as poverty, human rights, corruption, and homelessness. The social aspect of ESG (Environmental,Social, and Governance) is predicted to rival environmental concerns in the coming year, signalling a shift in priorities.
Transparency and Authenticity Take CenterStage
As purpose and ESG continue to solidify as essential business strategies, scrutiny from stakeholders intensifies. Market demand for a socially-conscious economy drives companies to enhance their ESG efforts while regulations prompt them to communicate their purpose with more excellent honesty and transparency. External pressure is not the only driving force—employees will play an increasing role in signalling a company's values internally and externally. Authenticity and the willingness to learn from mistakes become crucial traits for brands seeking to make a meaningful impact.
Collaboration and Impact Amplification
Unconventional collaborations between brands, nonprofits, and startups will emerge to bridge divides and address critical issues such as mental health, climate justice, and democracy. Foundations will form impact collaboratives, pooling resources to tackle pressing challenges collectively. Companies will create virtual and physical spaces where marginalised communities can access resources and networks to achieve their goals.Established brands will rely on documentary films and long-form content to tell impactful stories, engaging consumers while showcasing their commitment to pro-social causes.
Challenges to Overcome: Misperceptions,Fragmented Workforces, and Volatility
Despite evidence demonstrating the alignment between purpose and profit, misperceptions persist, hindering the realization of purpose-driven initiatives. Measuring and accountability become paramount, requiring organizations to define purpose and develop metrics to assess their progress. The dispersion of the workforce poses a challenge to communicate and connect purpose effectively. Volatility in various areas, from economies to politics, will demand agile storytelling that captures the essence of our times.Short-term thinking risks derailing purposeful plans, underscoring the need for organizations to remain steadfast in their commitment to creating lasting impact.
The Path to Success: Vulnerability,Listening, and Operationalizing Purpose
Understanding the significance of purpose in2023 involves listening to employees, recognising their diverse backgrounds, and aligning purpose with their unique circumstances and talents. The purpose should be deeply ingrained in corporate strategy and reflected in every employee's key performance indicators (KPIs), fostering a sustained focus throughout the organisation. Businesses can navigate uncertainty and mitigate risks by operationalising purpose in decision-making, projects, and strategies.Embracing vulnerability, welcoming creativity, and empowering diverse leadership will pave the way for regenerative brand leadership.
Stay Fierce and True
In a world facing unprecedented threats like climate change, hunger, and inequity, proposed solutions must go beyond superficial measures. Authenticity and genuine impact, coupled with a long-term commitment, are essential. Every business has a role, and investing in a brand consultant is an investment in your business's future.