Businesses today have it tough. Your success is not only defined in terms of your ability to sell products and services that people love and are willing to pay for, but you are also increasingly expected to demonstrate a meaningful contribution to the world around you. Some people are calling this having a ‘purpose beyond profit’.
Consumers are ever-more sophisticated and demanding of the brands they buy from. In addition to affordability, high quality and originality, they are also looking for super- convenience. But it doesn’t stop there. Increasingly, younger consumers (the so-called Millennials and Generation Z) expect high levels of integrity, transparency and responsibility too. And with unprecedented levels of visibility about how companies operate, your business is more exposed than ever.
It is easy to see why the realities of 21st century business life can be pretty daunting for many companies.
It doesn’t help that the ‘poster children’ most frequently cited in the media as companies with much lauded ‘profit with purpose’ approaches such as Unilever with their Sustainable Living strategy, Marks and Spencer’s Plan A, or Patagonia’s environmentalism, are so sophisticated and comprehensive, they can seem an impossible distance away from most companies who are only just beginning their journey towards becoming Fit for Purpose.
The rhetoric within the sustainability and purpose industry can also be incredibly purist – even a little judgemental – in advising companies about what is expected of them, compounding the impression that they have such a long way to go to reach this panacea of purposefulness. This can be intimidating and often puts business leaders off embarking on the journey at all, which may ultimately mean the world won’t benefit from the positive impact that they could otherwise have achieved.
If we are going to successfully tackle the big societal issues such tackling climate change through the 2016 Paris Agreement and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, we can’t afford to alienate any potential contributors. It has to be an inclusive effort involving the broadest church.
This is why I am launching Fit for Purpose. With the first 15 years of my career spent as a corporate communications advisor to large brands, I understand the commercial imperatives that all drive business decisions. But for the latter 15 years I have worked as a business sustainability consultant, so I also have the knowledge and integrity to help guide companies through this increasingly complex landscape.
Our goal is to provide businesses of all sizes and at any stage along their journey with practical tools and objective counsel that helps you to identify, demonstrate and communicate your purpose beyond profit. We have worked with many of those multinational brands whose strategies are so admired and recounted as case studies to help take their most important strides to shift from profit-led, to profit with purpose. But we have also helped many smaller or less well-known companies to take their first steps towards building more sustainable, stronger businesses that are fit for taking on the purpose mantle. You can read about some of these examples on this website on the Past Projects page.
We understand that no business can change the world on its own. Each individual organisation needs to assess both where it has the greatest impact, and address the negatives of that, as well as to figure out where it can make its biggest social or environmental contribution, so it can focus its energies on creating positive change. At Fit for Purpose our approach is to work with you to prioritise those areas of focus, achieve that alignment, and maximise the way in which purpose can actively help you become more commercially successful.
You may want help to define your purpose, or you may already have your strategy clear but need help in putting it into action. Or you may have some incredible stories of your own and want help to articulate and communicate those.
Wherever you are along your journey towards becoming Fit for Purpose, please do get in touch to see how we could help, or browse our new website, which has been created with the help and support of my friends and talented professionals Hollie Higa, Tessa Case and Suzanne Bird.