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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn Butler-Madden

Employing Social-Led Transformation in Your Business: Driving Profit through Purpose

Last year I had the pleasure of interviewing Mike Smith, the founder and CEO of Zero Co, on our For Love & Money Podcast. Zero Co are one of a growing number of purpose-led businesses that have launched in recent years. Smith described Zero Co as a “Mission 2.0 business”. As he described it – a business that started as product-agnostic – the founders were driven by the impact they wanted to achieve; addressing the plastic waste issue. They then figured out what industry and product category they should be in to allow them to create that impact.

Household and personal care products is where they landed. That’s right. A product category at the heart of the single-use plastics problem. It led them to develop an entirely unique customer experience, which is now disrupting the category.

Zero Co are not alone. Across consumer categories and business industries, “Mission 2.0 businesses” are sprouting up driven by the very real needs of society. Good Citizens (100% recycled eyewear), Future Super and Australian Ethical (ethical superannuation), Outland Denim (ethically made fashion), Baresop (zero waste personal care), Pearlii (improving oral health), just to name a handful. These are all Australian start-ups, but this movement is global and Australia is only just getting started.

This movement of impact-led businesses has a knock-on effect. Established businesses that were already starting to respond to changing stakeholder expectations, are now accelerating their social impact efforts as they see the competitive threat in the form of purpose-led start-ups.

Against this backdrop I’m really excited to be taking the stage at The Customer Show in Melbourne May 3-4. My keynote topic? Employing Social-Led Transformation in Your Business: Driving Profit through Purpose.

Here’s a bit of a taster…

As the business landscape evolves, societal leadership has become a core function of any successful organisation. In fact, 63 per cent of people now buy or advocate for brands based on their beliefs and values (up from 58 per cent in 2022)*, while 69 per cent of employees say that having societal impact is a strong expectation or deal breaker when considering a job.

The growth of purpose-driven businesses has led to a fundamental shift in the way we approach business strategy. It’s no longer enough to simply have a purpose statement that contextualises what you already do; business leaders are now expected to implement a purpose strategy that drives business success and profitability through societal leadership. In other words driving profit through purpose.

But building a purpose-driven business is a journey that requires action. Through our consultancy work with clients and research into some of the world’s most successful purpose-led brands, we developed a methodology to unlock the full value of a meaningful and profitable purpose strategy. Here are the six key pillars behind building a successful profit-with-purpose business strategy:

#1: Put purpose at the centre of your BRAND

To build an authentic purpose-driven business, purpose must exist at the heart of your brand, driving your business strategy and inspiring action. Building from the centre outwards provides a vital foundation for your business on its path to purpose.

#2: Give your PEOPLE ownership of your purpose

Inspiring and unifying your people behind your business purpose is essential. Involving them early on allows them to bring their unique ideas to the table and invest emotionally in your organisation’s success. Their ownership is integral to your success as a purposeful business.

#3: Find your PARTNERS in purpose

Collaboration and partnership are essential to a purpose-driven organisation. Building movements of change requires many hearts, minds, skills, expertise and hands on deck, especially when it comes to scaling your impact.

#4: Use MARKETING to build a movement for change

Reframe your approach to marketing and use it as an opportunity to build and scale a movement of change. Inviting your customers and prospects to be part of the movement, rather than just selling to them - telling them what you’re doing - can create a more authentic and impactful experience.

#5: Use your purpose to shape your CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Engaging your customers in your organisation’s purpose can drive innovation and create a unique customer experience. Purpose-led businesses often top the “most innovative” lists, showcasing the importance of aligning purpose with customer experience.

#6: Track your IMPACT and business PERFORMANCE

Measuring your social impact and business performance is crucial to ensuring the success of your purpose strategy. Long-term measures that evaluate your strategy alongside shorter-term markers will help you understand if your strategy is delivering on expectations.

Ultimately, purpose and profit are inextricably related. Without profit, a purpose-led business won’t survive and won’t be able to create impact that is sustainable or scalable. By working through these six pillars, you can unlock the full value of a meaningful and profitable purpose strategy and build a business that is fit for the times we live in and that you can feel proud to be a part of.

I’ll be delivering my keynote on Employing Social-Led Transformation in Your Business: Driving Profit through Purpose at The Customer Show

4 May 2023 | Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre

10.30-11am on The Customer Engagement & Loyalty Stage


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