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September, 2023



In today’s fast-paced and socially conscious world, the concept of purpose has become more than just another buzzword or box to tick. It has evolved into a critical success and longevity of a brand. Purpose transcends profit margins and revenue streams; it speaks to the fundamental values and beliefs that underpin a company’s existence. In this article, I share three compelling reasons why purpose should exist at the very heart of your brand.

  1. Brand Relevance: Connecting with Conscious Consumers and Engaged Employees

The 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer testifies to the growing significance of purpose in modern business. It reveals that 63 percent of consumers now make purchasing decisions or advocate for brands based on their beliefs and values, up from 56 percent in the previous year. This statistic underscores a shift in consumer behaviour towards brands that align with their own values and ideals.

Furthermore, a staggering 69 percent of employees consider a company’s societal impact a significant factor when evaluating job opportunities. This demonstrates the importance that today’s workforce place in work that gives them a sense of purpose and aligns with their personal values.

This paradigm shift calls for brands to re-evaluate their strategies. No longer can they rely solely on catchy slogans or flashy advertisements; they must stand for something meaningful. When a brand’s purpose resonates with consumers and employees, it creates a powerful sense of connection and belonging. It transforms transactions into relationships, fostering loyalty and advocacy.

Today, brands are just as important for what they represent to employees, as they are to consumers. A shared sense of purpose becomes the cornerstone of a thriving brand ecosystem, where every stakeholder feels emotionally invested in the success of the brand.

  • Brand Trust: Fostering Authenticity in a Sceptical World

In an era where scepticism towards corporations and institutions is on the rise, trust has become an invaluable currency for brands. An authentic purpose plays a pivotal role in building and maintaining that trust. When a brand embraces a higher mission, it demonstrates a genuine commitment to making a positive impact on the world.

Consumers can discern the difference between superficial gestures and genuine, purpose-driven action. Brands that prioritise profit over purpose risk alienating their audience and facing public backlash. On the other hand, those that lead with purpose create a foundation of trust that withstands even the most challenging times.

Consider the example of Intrepid Travel, whose purpose is to inspire, create, share and lead the best travel experiences ever – for both people and the planet. They are the world’s largest B Corp certified travel company. When the pandemic hit in 2020, Intrepid had to close all their operations. They went from a thriving business with global operations to zero overnight! But their purpose guided them through that time and the leadership they showed during lockdown was testament to the authenticity of that purpose. They supported the travel industry – to build back better. By publicly releasing their “Animal welfare policy toolkit” and their “10 step guide to decarbonising your travel business” and inviting travel industry members to download it, they provided the industry, including their competitors, with the means to get started in these two important areas, without having to undertake the same time and financial investment that Intrepid had to do to create those policies.

Collaboration over competition. It’s one of the key philosophies underpinning those businesses that are genuinely purpose driven.

Intrepid are now back on track to become the first $1 billion purpose-led adventure travel company.

By placing purpose at the core of their brand identity, businesses like Intrepid cultivate a level of trust that extends far beyond their products or services. It’s a trust that stems from the belief that they are genuinely committed to making the world a better place.

  • Business Profitability: Purpose as a Driver of Sustainable Growth

Contrary to the misconception that purpose and profitability are mutually exclusive, numerous studies have shown that purpose-driven companies outperform their peers financially.

The Global Leadership Forecast 2018, one of the most comprehensive leadership studies undertaken, evaluated the financial performance of “purposeful companies” vs those with just a purpose statement and those without a purpose. Purposeful companies outperformed the market by 42 per cent.

When a brand’s purpose is authentic and resonates with its audience, it can lead to increased customer preference, loyalty and stronger brand advocacy. It also inspires its employees to be more agile and resilient, which improves employee satisfaction and retention. All of these factors contribute to long-term profitability and sustained growth.

Embedding purpose at the heart of your brand is not just a moral imperative, it’s a strategic necessity. It elevates your brand’s relevance, builds trust with stakeholders, and drives sustainable profitability. As we navigate an evolving business landscape, embracing purpose is not merely an option—it’s a vital step towards building a brand that stands the test of time.


Carolyn Butler-Madden, author of two books on Social Purpose, “For Love & Money” (Winner 2022 Social Responsibility  – Australian Business Book of the Year Awards) and “Path To Purpose”, is a purpose specialist and a passionate speaker on this topic. As Chief Purpose Activist of B Corp certified consultancy, The Cause Effect, she helps leaders embed purpose strategically into their business and brand to deliver meaningful impact – Profit with Purpose. Learn more at