Finding Your Purpose in 2015

For most of us, this is the first week back in the office after the start of the New Year – resolutions and trends are reaching us through blogs, tweets and newsletters. When sifting through the many articles on what to do and what not to do in 2015, it becomes clear how purpose is recognised as a key focus for the New Year.

Whereas a few years ago, purpose was a somewhat dreamy definition used primarily in a lifestyle and wellbeing context this is now no longer the case. Purpose has found its way into many aspects of our personal and corporate lives. And according to the trend reports it is here to stay. Not just as a savvy wellbeing term but more so as a key driver behind successful marketing campaigns and outstanding organisational performance.

Purpose driven organisations are not only better able to connect with their consumers, they have an impact on how prospective employees look at organisations as well. In the Kjaer Global Trends Snapshots 2015 a culture of purpose is seen as a key influencer for Millennials in their career decisions. They state: “This is not about allocating more money to CSR, but revisiting your underlying business principles to make sure they sustain your organisation and benefit all stakeholders, including wider society.” And this in turn, can be an important influence on corporate performance as Simon Sinek, quoted in the Kjaer Global Trends Snapshots 2015, summarises: “If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”

From a branding point of view, we’ve already seen a shift from pure sales oriented marketing campaigns to cause marketing that shows consumers that big corporates care beyond their P&L. However, cause marketing doesn’t really do the trick anymore. People no longer buy into corporate philanthropy – they want organisations to live and breathe the values they espouse. In a recent blog post on Sustainable Brands, Max Lenderman states: “For purpose-led brands and businesses, the cause is already baked in. This is an important differentiator to cause marketing: the authenticity of the message. And that differentiator is exactly what people are searching for.”

But how can organisations identify and convey their purpose in a meaningful and credible way? Great leaders inspire action and have a key role to play – they are the face of organisations and their ability to connect with their audiences, be it consumers or employees, will directly impact their ability to transform organisational performance. According to McKinsey, “people make choices that are extensions of the reality that operates in their hearts and minds. Those who seek to lead powerfully and effectively look at their internal experiences, precisely because they direct how you take action, whether you know it or not. Taking accountability as a leader today includes understanding your motivations and other inner drives.” In other words – they need to find and connect with their purpose.

According to the wellness blog MindBodyGreen a purposeful life is what we’re all looking for both personally and professionally: “balance is the new achievement.” A recent survey amongst MindBodyGreen readers reveals that 98% of us wants to live with purpose. Looking at the trends for 2015 this will mean this increased sense of purpose will trickle down in people’s purchase decisions, career choices and day-to-day motivation at work – all together directly or indirectly impacting your bottom line.

Pamela Bons is a Senior Account Manager on the People+Purpose team at Hill+Knowlton Strategies UK

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