Shared values, shared purpose

The world is changing, and so must brands. But if there’s no anchor at the heart of a brand, change can’t be sustained and can even be chaotic. At a time when a clear vision and an authentic purpose are critical to every organization, the values underpinning that purpose are what help hold it steady, and become the bones that prevent its collapse.

84% of executives believe an organization with a shared purpose will be more successful in transformation. [1]

Purpose is an organization’s reason for existing: its most fundamental beliefs and highest-order aims. A strong sense of purpose draws people into an organization and aligns them inside of it while driving momentum outside of it. Purpose is built on values, and values are the foundation of everything the organization does.

  • Values are the DNA of an organization
  • Values characterize the corporate ethos
  • Values govern how you behave and build affinity
  • Values are enduring and shape the essence of a brand

Values connect people to people, and customers to brands. When people and brands align on a deeper level it creates a synergy that allows them to change and grow together.

Change on purpose

Change for the sake of change can weaken a brand. True agility means flexing with purpose. Such agility can only be achieved by defining and codifying that which the organization stands for—it cannot be a boardroom exercise that pumps out a generic statement that may interpreted as superficial and unfounded.

83% of companies that overperform on revenue growth link everything they do to brand purpose, as opposed to only 31% of under-performers. [2]

Authenticity is the litmus test for credibility and relevance. It resides in a company’s heritage regardless of age. The challenge is to find that source. Some of the perennial Best Global Brands have evolved over decades based on core values that are embedded in their brands and businesses. It’s not about getting stuck in the past. Messaging can evolve and business strategy can change. Far from abandoning values, exercising agility means reaffirming them inside and out.

An organization’s culture offers a compelling view of the resiliency of the company’s values. Employees are the first line of defense and the front lines of conviction—engagement scores and performance metrics will measure the resiliency of values and efficacy of purpose. In the market, these ideals must be constantly understood, expressed, and measured through the brand. There has to be a constant checking-in between the organization and the customer for that connection to remain relevant.

Sustaining relationships

The relationships that exist between customers and brands have evolved to become more intimate and transparent. People have greater access to brands, and more power to measure the quality of their experiences with them. This is an equalizing force, putting accountability in the hands of customers, and customers-to-be. People understand when brands deviate from their values, and have the power to withhold loyalty—and dollars—when they do.

A brand’s experiences should be driven by a set of behaviors that are part of the organization. Authenticity is about the promises that you make and the experiences that you create. Consistently delivering on that promise sustains the bonds between customers and brands.

 From values to growth 

Brands that stand as the embodiment of purpose and values are a magnetic force, keeping existing customers close and drawing new ones into the fold. Like things attract. Shared values bring people and brands together, both internally and externally.

82% of employees and executives have more confidence in companies with a strong sense of purpose. [3]

When values manifest in a clearly communicated purpose, it becomes the engine driving the organization. Purpose is the connection to the past, the reason for being, and the roadmap to the future. It keeps people connected to the human side of the business, willing to trust its interests, and contribute to its growth.

 

[1] Harvard Business Review & EY 2015 – The business case for purpose
[2] The Advertising Research Foundation 2015 – Insights2020
[3] Deloitte 2014  – Core Beliefs & Culture Survey