Company Purpose

Checklist Guide


In business terms, your purpose is the “WHY” that your business exists, and it’s the first vital step towards your brand’s differentiation.

Having clarity and focus on how you’ll communicate your purpose and to the world is one of the best ways for any business to differentiate and succeed.

When you lead with purpose, integrity follows. This is what everyone is searching for today ? someone to trust. If you think about the brands that have iconic status, it’s because of what they stand for that they are able to stand apart.

Today your purpose should underpin everything your brand stands for and does.


1. I am crystal clear on why I am in business and what I want the business to achieve for me and my family

Why is this item important?

If you are not clear on the self motivating conviction that drives everything you do in business, over and above making a profit, you will most likely struggle with the many curve balls and low moments that you will inevitably experience over your businesses lifetime. Having a purpose inspires you to give your best.

A recent study  from Korn Ferry showed that companies with teams focused on their organisation’s purpose had annual growth rates nearly three times the annual rate for their entire industry. It can be used to build morale and gain support and understanding inside and outside of your business. It can be easily used as a benchmark for decision-making, drives your company forward, and helps you attract likeminded staff and loyal customers. 

How can I tell if I meet this item in my business?

Are familiar with the concept of “purpose” – or “your why”- and are you clear on yours?


What do I need to do to meet this item?

Start by familiarising yourself with concept of purpose and the many benefits purpose driven companies experience. Then begin to explore and define yours.

There are a number of exercises you might be able to find on Google. I recommend using the ‘laddering’ technique.

This exercise uses a technique adapted from clinical psychology where you are interviewed by a second party. The interviewer takes you through a series of systematic probes to move you from articulating relevant attributes, to objective benefits, to more subjective benefits and ultimately, to the deep meanings or values that underpin your brand. The conversation goes as follows:

  • The process begins with the interviewer simply asking you what you think your purpose is or why you wanted to start the business your currently running.
  • It’s very common for your first answer to talk about whatyou do as if this was your Purpose – it’s not. However this is a good starting point to the conversation, so begin with something tangible i.e. what do you or want to do!
  • With each answer, they get you to drill down further and further by asking you why each answer is important. Think about the objective benefits here.
  • From there, they should ask what would happen because of what you do – this is where you need to think more deeply about the subjective benefits and values you hold dear. This is your perspectives (even prejudices) that come from within.
  • To get the best out of you, your questioner needs to be very persistent. Gentle and consistent pressure will help you to dig deep and find the nub of why you do what you do at a very emotional level. Let your guard down and simply speak from the heart.
  • It’s highly likely that you will have an “AHA moment” five or six questions into the process.
  • Once you have finished, type your consecutive answers as well as your ‘AHA’ moment into the boxes provided below, as a written reminder of your conversation. Don’t give up until both of you think you have an ‘AHA!’ moment.
2. We have a clearly defined and well articulated purpose which explains in no more than a couple of sentences why our business exists and what we stand for.

Why is this item important?

A powerful brand purpose sets out how your company intends to change your industry, or even the world, for the better. Its role is to unite customers and culture alike in the pursuit of that intention. This is a big part of what will make your brand special and will help guide your point-of-difference greatly?


How can I tell if I meet this item in my business?

– Do you have a clearly defined purpose that acts as your north star, steering many of you organisations crucial decisions?

– Are you using your purpose, and not just data and projections, to provide a consistent guide for your long term decision?

– Is your purpose as clear as the name on your building to everyone in your business and not just another page in your HR Book?


What do I need to do to meet this item?

Share you purpose and facilitate dialogue with your team on a regular basis and explore everyones connection and commitment to your purpose.

For instance you can start meetings by asking team members to tell stories about how the purpose of the business is playing out.

Have brainstorming session on how the team could bring the firm’s purpose to life through actions and activities. Acknowledge or even reward staff accordingly.

As a leader, encourage, demonstrate – and insist if you need to – that your purpose drives;

Your business strategy
The way your company is organised
How decisions are made
Who is hired or not hired
How the company and your employees develop.

Without a holistic “inside and out” approach to a purpose-driven focus, you’ll end up with all the good intentions to be good without being able to actually do good.

3. Our purpose resonates with our ideal clients, staff and strategic partners. We know because we ask them on a regular basis.

Why is this item important?

Your brand strategy involves getting clarity around why you do what you do. This is a big part of what makes your brand special and influences your point-of-difference greatly?

What you want your brand to be known for is often dictated by your brand’s Purpose. All great brands identify, embrace, embody, and articulate a brand purpose that inspires their audience to connect with them. This mainly consists of your clients, staff and strategic partners.

Nike wants to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” This self motivating conviction drives everything they do and has helped them become the biggest sporting apparel brand in the world.

Having a strong brand purpose shows your clients, staff and strategic partners and the world the distinct brand perspective that influences what your company does and doesn’t do. It’s what drives your company forward so you need to tell the world all about it.

And with so many market sectors becoming increasingly crowded, brand purpose can be the defining factor for why your consumer will choose your brand over another. If your actions speak louder than words (i.e. by acting on your purpose throughout your business), you’ll be seen as a genuine and authentic brand that people can trust, be loyal to and an advocate for.

How can I tell if I meet this item in my business?

– Are you working on building a shared sense of purpose with the people in your business?

– Do you believe your customers and stakeholders see it reflected in the culture you are building and the tribe you attract?

– Do you ask for regular feedback to see if you’re on the right path? The simple truth is you won’t know if your purpose resonates with anyone unless you ask them.

What do I need to do to meet this item?

Refer to your purpose as often as possible in as many different ways as possible.

Weave it into as much of your communications as you can. Include it on you website and in your marketing material.

When you ask customers for a testimonial prepare them to use your purpose as an angle to speak from.

Begin any presentation with it and ask the audience (staff or prospects) for honest feedback.

In today’s business world you will find that people love discussing the lofty subject of purpose because it is refreshingly different from many of the drier aspects or functions associated with running a business.

4. We use our Purpose to guide us in the process of finding and attracting the right staff, strategic partners and other stakeholders.

Why is this item important?

Purpose is a key ingredient for a strong and scalable business culture.

Rather than managing people and resources – by having a purpose that aligns with their values you’ll more easily mobilise them, making it easier for you to create a strong committed team and attract likeminded stakeholders.

A company purpose gives people a clear sense of what their contribution to the company means, and also how they should do things every day. It makes their work feel more meaningful – a key motivator for staff across all generations, because we all have an innate desire to contribute to something bigger.


How can I tell if I meet this item in my business?

You should be able to tell immediately when you see how your employees believe in your purpose and want to work towards it.


What do I need to do to meet this item?

Apart from stating and creating the actions that bring your purpose to life, make sure it is discussed in any new employer interview process and included in any onboarding/HR documentation.

Think of ways you can align it with performance metrics and rewards. Ultimately you need to make sure every person in the organisation is truly committed to it.

5. We have woven our purpose through our brand story and clearly demonstrate it throughout all our marketing and communications.

Why is this item important?

Consumers increasingly want organisations to demonstrate a purpose beyond profit and prove their commitment to making the world a better place. They will see through it if your purpose is treated as just a snappy slogan.


How can I tell if I meet this item in my business?

Are you able to demonstrate to any prospect or client, at every business touch point, that your purpose is not just a simple statement on your website and that you are in it for the long term and walking the talk?


What do I need to do to meet this item?

Look for evidence and proof that demonstrates you are truly committed to your purpose and use it in creative ways throughout your communications. If you don’t have the evidence start working on ways you can create it.

You should work with branding or marketing experts who can help you communicate you purpose using stories that are woven into all of you marketing material.

A great starting point is to create a list of all of the areas in you business where you can demonstrate you purpose. It might look something like this; marketing, sales, design or manufacturing, technology, services and operations. Then within each of those areas create a spreadsheet that identifies every touch point. For instance, in the marketing category you might list the following;

  • Blog
  • Trial sign-up
  • Purchase
  • Demo/ video
  • Webinar
  • PDF brochures / downloads
  • Email newsletters
  • Contact form
  • Website
  • Social media sites and feeds

When your list is complete analyse each touchpoint and look for creative ways you can weave your purpose into each one. Don’t simply repeat your purpose message. The task is to find engaging stories and creative ways that demonstrate your commitment to your purpose. Include concrete examples of how your purpose has influenced your business decisions, and provide regular updates regarding your progress toward your purpose.

6. Our purpose is a critical factor in our decision making and the actions we take.

Why is this item important?

You purpose identifies the reason(s) you’re taking action. It answers the big “Why are you doing this?” and “Why do you exist?” questions. Knowing your purpose confirms priority and focus for both short-term results and longer term direction. Being clear on your purpose is important for when you’re making both immediate decisions (“What are you trying to achieve by taking action?”) and decisions related to the company’s reason for existence.


How can I tell if I meet this item in my business?

Do you and your entire team understand that your purpose is the ‘guiding light’ and the key filter for many ideas and decisions.


What do I need to do to meet this item?

You should treat you purpose as a decision making tool. Looking back at Nike’s – “ to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world” you can see how it provides the direction for everything, from product development to advertising campaigns. If a new shoe or marketing campaign is not innovative and inspiring it’s simply not on brand.

You should show everyone in your team how you expect your purpose to set the direction of you business….Why? Because our purpose holds the clearest direction of all!

This may involve introducing KPIs and or rewards that relate to purpose related activities.

7. The achievement of our business purpose is directly connected to the day to day operations of our business so our people can see on a daily basis how they are contributing to the purpose.

 Why is this item important?

Having a business purpose that is ‘operationalised’ helps to ground your business. Not only does it inform your vales and culture, but it should also inspire and guide the services, procedures, and policies you develop. It also influences your corporate identity. So everything can be measured against your company purpose if you are committed.

Without a purpose statement that you connect to the day to day operations of your business it’s easy to loose focus. You might find you end up at some stage offering more services than just those you truly excel at and therefore make a strong impact on your clients.


How can I tell if I meet this item in my business?

Do you have a documented process for operationalising your business purpose?


What do I need to do to meet this item?

To communicate and operationalise your brand’s purpose, you must craft short- and long-term goals to translate your purpose statement into practice. These goals must be specific, measurable, and achievable.


Short-Term Goals

By setting short-term goals at regular intervals, your organisation can divide long-term objectives into manageable tasks. Use project management software or online tools to map out the steps your business needs to take, and to organise and allocate work. These goals must be specific and measurable. Avoid vague benchmarks.

Short-term goals should be meaningful, but not too far out of reach. Think of each accomplishment as a stepping stone toward a long-term goal. Don’t underestimate the importance of these small steps. A regular stream of short-term achievements can boost both employee morale and public opinion, and set your business well on its way to achieving major purpose-driven objectives.


Long-Term Goals

Long-term goals are at the heart of your business purpose. These goals may relate to corporate social responsibility, economic growth or the launch of a new product or service. Many brands have long-term goals in each of these areas and more. When drafting your long-term objectives, make sure that each one proceeds from your stated purpose.

Like short-term goals, long-term targets must be precise. Employees, stakeholders and the public want to see quantifiable progress in line with your purpose. Give your business a concrete goal: how many jobs will you create? How much will you reduce your supply chain’s carbon footprint?

Long-term goals should stretch your organisation to accomplish something meaningful, but they should also be within the realm of possibility. Highlight your progress toward these goals in marketing materials such as white-papers and blog posts. Some goals may even lend themselves to marketing events. For example, the achievement of one of your organisation’s major goals around corporate purpose may be an opportunity to host a panel discussion on further progress that can be made by socially conscious companies in your field or others.

Every organisation needs to set goals. The specifics of your short- and long-term goals must be unique to your business, and grounded in your purpose. Remember, the short-term achievements are what keep your business moving forward, but the long-term, purpose-driven goals are what bring your employees back day after day.

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