By Jim Selman
If the events of 2020 have taught us anything, it is that there are times when the state cannot manage alone. Sometimes, the challenge is so big that it requires a truly collective responsibility to find a solution, to keep us safe, to recognise the risks and to run towards the problem rather than expect it to be handled by somebody else.
During the first lockdown, COVID seemed to get its unofficial positioning in the UK next to the Second World War. Lots of comparisons were made about the challenges to our civil liberties, the sense of loss that we would need to come to terms with, and ultimately the scale of the effort required to overcome this global pandemic. Together with the subsequent, global, era-defining social justice movement, pushing us to evolve as a society, we face a truly unique set of challenges and a clear expectation to act. The inevitable question then comes… “What did you do during the war?”
The private sector has a renewed sense of responsibility to step forward, and their stakeholders will rightly ask the hard questions to understand whether they are doing so. We have known for years that corporate reputation and purpose are inextricably linked. The days of simply managing the external communication of performance are long gone. Customers, government, media, consumers, suppliers, academia, and others are themselves being judged by the decisions they make and the company they keep. They want to know that the businesses behind the services and brands they choose are active beyond profit and hold themselves to the highest possible standards.
Even before the extraordinary events of 2020, purpose was a term in a perpetual state of evolution. It is often part of a lexicon that includes CSR, social impact, cause, sustainability, beyond profit, and conscious capitalism. Although the label for purpose can differ, the key is how you best deploy it in your organisation:
Creating, nurturing, and sustaining purpose requires a long-term approach. The overly used term, the “new normal” often feels a little nebulous. But ultimately, it is true. The world may never return to life as it was before lockdown. Therefore, the expectation to act is a permanent one and needs to be addressed now.
Click here for more information on how we can help you with brand purpose in the COVID era, or contact us – we’d love to hear from you.