Carol Cone has built a career around the idea of purpose. In a world that has rapidly progressed to a need for social transparency, particularly from businesses both large and small, Cone has seen an area for her to assist. Through her business, Cone collaborates with clients to help drive their brand purpose forward — and her expertise contains helpful hints that any business or marketing professional can learn from.
Recently, Cone penned an op-ed for PrWeek outlining the ideas of “purpose principles”. The idea of social impact is one that many businesses are now focusing on, but Cone cautions that the right principles must be applied in the strategic phase in order for a business to successfully have a purpose-driven objective.
One of the core elements of a purpose driven initiative, Cone writes, is to have a thorough understanding of the objectives that a business wants to accomplish. At its core, purpose driven marketing is usually intended to achieve some sort of result for the company. How this is accomplished is where a business can pass or fail this test — purpose driven public relations and marketing must be authentic. Therefore, Cone says, allow the business objectives to more clearly define the purpose and value of any marketing created around those goals.
Another important principle outlined by Cone is the idea of employee buy-in. Employees, she says, are vital to the success of a purpose driven campaign. She exemplifies a recent Nike campaign that was “brought to life by our employees”, and this underscores an important element of any large scale initiative. Employee buy-in is important — after all, the business should have ambassadors in its employees, who are proud to stand by what their employer represents. If employees are not invested in the initiative, how can anyone else be expected to do the same?
Feeding off of this idea, Cone also describes the idea of embedding an idea into a company’s culture. This is a way of “walking the walk”, an ideal which many businesses seem to struggle. “To deliver its full potential, purpose must be lived from senior leadership to the factory floor,” Cone writes. This can often be difficult to implement, which is where patience and dedication play important roles. Leaders should use their own example to help spread the message and its value throughout every level of the company — otherwise the hope of having engagement from the outside becomes slimmer.
There is much thought and planning that goes into creating a strong purpose vision for a company. The execution of the campaign is also vital to its success, and that execution needs to come from the inside of the business. Simply expecting consumers to follow along because of good looking graphics and catchy taglines can be detrimental for the reputation of a business. As Cone writes, it’s important that this purpose is authentic and that it comes from a place of wanting to make a difference and believing that the company can help make an impact.
Learning from the “purpose principles” outlined by Cone in her op-ed can help any digital marketer or strategist outline a clear path forward to help bring their business to the forefront of the social conversation.