‘Purpose’ essential for B2B organizations

12 February 2020 Consulting.us 2 min. read
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Despite the largely held belief amongst B2B companies that a sense of purpose is critical to success, a lack of knowledge and capability is holding many back from implementing purpose-focused strategies.

“The B2B Purpose Paradox,” a report from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), The Harris Poll, and Carol Cone On Purpose –  a “purpose consultancy” that assists organizations in finding and using purpose to advance business and social impact – also shows that 86% of B2B companies believe purpose is important to growth, but only 24% have embedded it into their day-to-day operations. Purpose, per the report, is defined as "a company's reason for being beyond profits that guides its business growth and impact on society."

"B2B companies are far more advanced in their purpose journeys than we expected. Yet there is a significant gap between companies with a stated purpose—their reason for being, beyond profits—and their activated purpose, one that is fully-embedded in the organization to influence culture, innovation, operations, and engagement in society," Carol Cone, CEO of Carol Cone On Purpose, said.

‘Purpose’ essential for B2B organizations

The report also showed several important statistics regarding purpose. Eighty-seven percent of B2B organizations, for example, believe purpose protects their company’s reputation; 75% believe it supports recruiting; 75% say prioritizing purpose positively affects growth; and 64% believe purpose is extremely important in all manners of operation.

While the C-suite is instrumental in driving purpose strategy, the report found, HR, corporate strategy, and planning are leaders in its implementation. It also revealed that hybrid B2B/B2C companies are more effective at integrating purpose than solely B2B organizations. Purpose also is a draw from a purchasing standpoint, with the majority of B2B leaders choosing to work with companies that have a clearly defined purpose – and are willing to pay more to do so.

Additionally, the report identified “believers” – individuals within companies that believe their company would see greater success should it place greater emphasis on purpose. Believers made up 21% of the survey’s respondents and can play a key role in the implementation of purpose-led strategies, and are also reliable in areas such as collaboration, customer service, and company loyalty.   

"Purpose has clearly become an integral growth strategy for companies ," Bob Liodice, ANA CEO, said. "This report shows that the fundamental strategic business challenge is to activate purpose programs that permeate the entire organization and effectively reach their customer communities."