Everything we do has an impact on the world around us. We are becoming more aware of the harm that we may be causing the planet, other people and animals through our lifestyles and business operations. The good news is: businesses are in a great position to help tackle the social and environmental challenges of our time. When their unique ability to innovate and scale is combined with a drive for positive impact, businesses can transform the world.
Customers, whether it’s consumers or business-to-business, are increasingly making decisions based on a sense of shared values and ethics. In order for businesses to survive and thrive in the long run, we believe they should focus less on how their brand is packaged on the surface and instead look deeper at something far more powerful and compelling: a Sustainable Business Identity built around a clearly defined purpose.
We see that businesses who authentically lead with purpose achieve continued loyalty and relevance in the lives of their customers. Resulting in long-term growth and greater impact.
What defines a Sustainable Business Identity?
With a Sustainable Business Identity, businesses can actively change the world for the better and make money doing so. A Sustainable Business Identity provides a platform on which businesses can build profitable solutions to real challenges.
Companies with a Sustainable Business Identity are defined by the following characteristics:
Purpose drives profit
There is a clearly stated, fully articulated and embedded environmental or social purpose that drives profit and impact.
They use their voice and leverage their influence to drive a systemic shift toward a more sustainable world.
Resilient and regenerative operations
They operate in a way that ensures the health, resilience and flourishing of society, the environment and their business.
Sustainable products and services
They deliver or actively work towards delivering products and services that result in net-positive outcomes across the whole value chain.
Lead by example
They take responsibility and demonstrate a strong commitment to transparency, integrity and leadership in managing their business and interactions with stakeholders.
The ultimate aim of a Sustainable Business Identity is to be profitably operating in a net-positive business ecosystem by generating or restoring social, environmental and economic capital.
How to develop a Sustainable Business Identity that speaks to your audience?
1. Define a clear purpose
One of the key defining factors of a purpose-driven business is its commitment to purpose beyond profit. This means that your company needs to have a mission that goes beyond merely making money. For example, your mission could be focused on restoring biodiversity, stopping deforestation, ending animal cruelty, fighting world hunger, promoting inclusive education systems or supporting mental health and wellbeing. The best way to define the right purpose for your company is to focus on something that the leadership team and employees genuinely care about, something that is relevant to your company and customers, and something that you can make a real impact doing. The more committed you are to a specific set of values, the more your authenticity will show through in your identity and communication.
2. Build your identity carefully
Once you know what your company stands for, and how it’s going to make a positive impact on customers’ lives and the world, it’s time to start building the personality and image that will support its Sustainable Business Identity. Alongside an image that highlights the company’s commitment, it also need a compelling tone of voice. The messages you use will help to convince your customers that you deserve their trust. Be transparent and honest in everything you do, even if that means admitting to mistakes. At the same time, remember to stay positive and let your company’s personality shine through. People love connecting with companies that make them feel like they’re making a positive difference in the world.
3. Cultivate your community
Great marketing is all about making your customers feel like they belong to your community. Through your company’s Sustainable Business Identity, you begin to build affinity with your target audience based on shared ideas.
With your target audience personas in mind:
- Use thought leadership articles, research, books, documentaries, online courses, webinars, live events and podcasts to spark conversations about relevant topics.
- Show your audience what you’re doing every day to fulfill your purpose and make a positive impact, with case studies, social media content, videos, podcasts, blogs and strategic partnerships.
- Encourage action by inviting people to help you achieve your goals through events, movements, challenges, initiatives, fundraisers, etc.
Purpose-driven businesses know how to bring people together.
Purpose-driven businesses stand the test of time
As companies struggle to differentiate themselves in a cluttered marketplace, the businesses that survives will be the ones that can form stronger relationships with their target audiences.
Standing out amongst your competitors isn’t as tricky as it seems. All you need to do is establish the right connection with your customers and show them that you share their values. You can achieve this by making your purpose the key to your strategic positioning and marketing strategy. If you authentically lead with purpose, you’ll start to grow and benefit from a devoted tribe of customers, ready to do anything to support your company. Now that’s a strategy that’s sure to stand the test of time!
April 29, 2021