When we think of purpose-driven companies that run big charities and uplift thousands of lives, we like to imagine deeply compassionate people who have pondered upon life’s great mysteries and found their role in the circle of life, you know, all that kind of deep stuff. We never imagine that purpose can be stumbled upon, or borne out of a need to stay relevant in a dynamic world.
When you dig deep into the origins of some of the world’s top non-profit foundations however, you find that their stories are much less impressive. Purpose-driven companies start out in two ways; they are either borne out of an existing company that decides to incorporate a higher purpose as part of a CSR initiative, or they are borne out of passionate individuals who build a social enterprise around the purpose.
One can see from these classifications that purpose can either be the end game or a by-the-way. UPS is a world-renowned logistics company, not much purpose can be expected from such a company apart from having parcels delivered on time. One can imagine how hard it must have been for the founders to grind out a mission statement that can impress and motivate their employees to come to work roaring like a lion every day. From supporting America’s veterans to ensuring proper healthcare for pregnant women in Africa, UPS has found a way to give back to the communities, albeit without a sense of real purpose and deeply ingrained motivation. The company embodies the spirit of companies that decide to draw away from business-as-usual and incorporate charity as part of their CSR initiative.
On the other hand, Listn Headphones can be a perfect example of a company borne out of passion. Its founders are passionate for music and anything that goes along with it. Their passion for music gave them the heart to feel for people who could not enjoy the art form due to hearing impediments. This drove the two passionate partners to start out a headphone company, whose goal is to make some money to support the company’s charity wing which supports the less fortunate with hearing aids. This purpose-driven approach has been good for emotion based marketing and created some loyal customers for them.
These and many more examples of how great companies have built their purpose-driven businesses can be found in the Red Goldfish book. The authors Graeme Newell and Stan Phelps have done a great job presenting how companies use emotions in marketing, along with over 3000 online video examples of purpose driven businesses and how you can go about building your own. The links to the book and other resources are found at the end of the above video.