The New Expectations of Society

Jan 29, 2014 12:30 PM ET

Purpose and People

“Successful companies and brands will be the ones that drive more rapid and meaningful change in society and business through co-creation and collaboration with people around a shared purpose.”

The first decade of the 21st century had a significant impact on what it means to be a good corporate and brand citizen. The intersection of four seismic shifts makes it imperative for global businesses to re-evaluate their citizenship efforts and the way they are communicated.

1.      Power to the people: People have new sources of power and people believe that only they themselves can come up with innovative solutions to our most pressing problems, not governments or corporations.

2.      The erosion of trust: People have more information than ever before and people don’t trust organizations. In fact, trust in all organizations, including corporations and governments, is at an all-time low across the world.

3.      The quest for meaning: People are searching for meaning connections with communities and organizations around a shared purpose, and expect organizations to enable such connections.

4.      The opportunity of shared value: People are demanding that organizations not only rediscover their social purpose but also put it at the core of how they conduct their business and engage with their stakeholders, to create shared value.

Based on these core trends and a desire to better understand how businesses need to re-define their citizenship efforts, specifically though the lens of engagement, MSLGROUP conducted the PurPle Index. This study uses social data, qualitative research waves, and a proprietary algorithm to evaluate and score companies worldwide on criteria including successful storytelling of the company’s purpose, the strength of the company’s collaboration and co-creation; and the level of engagement in social media.  The results of the study reiterated the importance of engaging stakeholders in a dialogue and specifically found:

•      A majority of the Fortune Global 100 use visual storytelling and direct engagement strategies and tactics to ensure their messaging around citizenship initiatives is amplified.

•      The top performers consider engagement to be essential in maintaining or changing perceptions about the company.

•      The citizenship initiatives are global in nature with a number of companies focusing on improving living conditions in Africa and other developing regions. 

•      Many organizations do not recognize the importance of engagement. While they have a presence on social platforms, communication is predominantly one way and used to disseminate information.

As the expectations of society continue to evolve, to stay relevant to their stakeholders, businesses today must understand that both purpose and people are critical to their success. They need a shared purpose to inspire people, platforms to organize people, programs to energize people and highly shareable stories to spark participation and action. At MSLGROUP, we refer to this intersection as PurPle (Purpose + People).  To build more meaningful engagement with your stakeholders, MSLGROUP encourages businesses engage your stakeholders in co-creating innovative and sustainable solutions, empower your consumers to act as change agents to create grassroots movement and connecting existing initiatives into a cohesive framework and tell compelling and powerful stories.

- Scott Beaudoin, Global Director Corporate & Brand Citizenship/PurPle