It is wonderful to see leading corporate advisors like Deloitte, KPMG and EY embrace the power of purpose and compassionate business, and it makes it more important for us to get a clear idea of what purpose actually is and what it isn’t.  Graham Massey’s article for SALT magazine is a great illustration of some of the differences.  We particularly like the fact that he has highlighted how purpose links with commercial performance.

You can read the whole article here and a summary is below.


Purpose is more than ambition or mission

Doubling the size of your business is an ambition. “Making sustainable living commonplace” is a purpose. Firms like Patagonia and Tesla have all shown that having a purpose that connects to a greater good goes hand-in-hand with growth and commercial success.

Purpose is more than CSR

CSR is great for establishing “basic hygiene, but purpose goes further. With CSR, companies do good as an add-on to their usual activities. Purpose means putting positive change at the heart of your products, services and strategy.

Purpose is more than environmental sustainability

Purpose gives us permission to think even bigger. Recent events in Paris – negative and positive – offer us a moment to step back and think about all of the major global challenges we face.

[pullquote]Purpose comes from the sweet spot where your love and passion, your skill and the zeitgeist overlap.

David Hieatt – Do Purpose [/pullquote]

Purpose IS a growth strategy

A clear sense of purpose will guide you into new markets, new products and towards new customers and partners. The evidence from brands such as Ben & Jerry’s and Dove shows that purpose-led brands outperform.

Purpose IS a purchase trigger

Purpose inspires customers. As the business thinker Simon Sinek says, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.

[pullquote]A 2012 Edelman survey revealed that over half of consumers will pick the purposeful brand when price and quality are the same.[/pullquote]

Purpose IS an investment driver

The evidence shows that having a clearly communicated sense of purpose driving your business at its core will build confidence, drive business investment and attract new investors, and purpose can also help you find new sources of investment.


Get your purpose clear, and it will act as both your engine and your compass. Can you afford not to build your business on purpose?

Graham Massey is the business head of The House, a consultancy that believes valuable businesses are born out of purpose.