Published 3 years ago.
About a 4 minute read.
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A new ebook compiles insights from dozens of interviews with business leaders from the Purpose 360 podcast. The ebook is designed to be easily shared with colleagues, to help advance discussions about purpose into actionable strategy and practice.
In today’s world, success as a sustainable company means clearly defining — and
then acting in accordance with — your social purpose; and demonstrating an
authentic commitment to making the world better by putting values, character and
That, however, is easier said than done. Consumers are becoming increasingly
savvy at telling the difference between greenwashing, empty marketing and public
relations-driven corporate statements that aren’t backed by action. In 2020,
authenticity is difficult — if not impossible — to fake.
To aid brands in discovering their social purpose, Sustainable Brands™ is
releasing an ebook entitled Purpose
The book was produced in partnership with Carol
Cone, a pioneer of the social purpose
movement and “Mother of Cause Branding”; and Chris Noble, a “digital and
cause marketing savant” and CEO of Matchfire. It
includes 75 insights from 25 business leaders across a broad range of sectors;
representing a diverse range of small, medium and multinational companies,
social enterprises and NGOs.
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One of them is Johnson & Johnson — which, uniquely, had a founding
purpose that was articulated in a 350-word
statement when the company went public back in 1943. It has now been condensed
into an audacious, single line: “To profoundly change the trajectory of health
for humanity.” This purpose gives the company, according to Michael Sneed,
J&J’s Executive Vice President of Global Corporate Affairs and one of the
interviewees, “the permission to persevere, even in the face of setbacks, until
we get to those breakthroughs” — such as its ongoing work in the fight to
The ebook is partly based on the Purpose 360
podcast, created and co-hosted by Cone and Noble, which has interviewed dozens
of leaders on how to unlock the potential of social purpose to ignite business
and social impact. However, it also includes insights from experts interviewed
after the COVID-19 pandemic changed life — and business — as we know it,
showcasing additional insights into how having an authentic purpose guided these
organizations to take swift, decisive action.
The ebook is designed so that content can be easily shared with one’s
colleagues, with the goal of advancing discussions about purpose into actionable
strategy and practice. Students, sustainability practitioners, those looking to
launch social enterprises, or even those in the nonprofit or public sectors
looking to build public-private partnerships will all find value in them.
For example, REI’s founding purpose
— “A life outdoors is a life well lived” — is simple, but that has allowed the
co-op to invest an astounding 70 percent of its profits into the outdoor
community, as part of its #OptOutside
The retailer even spearheaded the trend of closing on Black
historically a major sales day for retailers, so that employees could have the
weekend to spend time with families or enjoy the outdoors.
It’s no surprise that consumers expect more from REI — because its purpose is
expressed in all of its actions.
“If people don’t know what the heritage of your organization is, it probably
means that you haven’t explored it deeply enough or asked deep enough
then-VP of Brand Stewardship and Impact at REI, says in the ebook.
This is just a taste of the valuable lessons, examples and deep insights found
in this ebook. The interviews and takeaways illuminate the vast potential of
purpose — from engaging employees and fostering deeper consumer loyalty, to
inspiring product innovation and even increasing market
The goal is to show how defining a clear social
can benefit organizations of all sizes and shapes, in any industry. The ebook
also aims to accelerate the reader’s individual purpose journey. In a year where
we’ve seen brands take unprecedented stands on racial
and other environmental and social issues; and with society as a whole facing
incredible challenges around
and adhering to a clear social purpose is no longer optional.
Businesses and organizations of all types need to be proactive, not reactive;
and purpose is a key component of defining your strategy and involving yourself
in the larger social conversations essential to modern business success.
Published Dec 8, 2020 7am EST / 4am PST / 12pm GMT / 1pm CET
Nithin is a freelance writer who focuses on global economic, and environmental issues with an aim at building channels of communication and collaboration around common challenges.