Authenticity: The Foundation of Purpose-Driven Businesses

November 09, 2023

In the fast-paced world of corporate innovation and brand evolution, one concept has emerged as a powerful catalyst for success: purpose. Beyond the bottom line and profit margins, companies are increasingly recognizing the profound impact of having a clear sense of purpose. This purpose, when authentic and well-defined, becomes the driving force behind a brand's identity and resonates deeply with employees, customers, and stakeholders. In today's socially conscious and transparent business environment, authenticity in purpose is the cornerstone of becoming a purpose-driven business and building a distinctive brand that connects with a wider audience. In this article, we delve into the significance of purpose, explore why it's integral to the corporate world, and how it shapes a company's very identity, fostering a profound and enduring connection.

According to Andrew Block, Head of Climate Communications at RBC, the concept of "authentic purpose" is rooted in the establishment of a clear and tangible link between a business and the expectations of its clients and stakeholders. For an organization to authentically embrace its purpose, it must demonstrate a transparent connection between its core operations and how its defined organizational purpose drives better decision-making. This connection is not only a reflection of the company's values but also a commitment to making a genuine impact. By aligning purpose with action, businesses can build trust and create a profound connection with their audience, setting themselves apart in an increasingly competitive marketplace. An authentic purpose, when clearly defined and upheld, serves as a guiding force that leads an organization toward a future shaped by shared values and understanding.

Creating an authentic purpose also demands a fundamental shift in how companies think and operate. As Tom Chervinsky, Head of External Affairs and Social Capitalism at Public, TELUS, points out, authentic purpose should be seen as a company's response to specific social or environmental challenges. To truly embrace an authentic purpose, businesses and their leaders should ask themselves: "What are the unique and meaningful ways in which our business activities are helping solve these challenges?" By aligning the core business and profit-making ventures with a broader social purpose, organizations not only redefine their mission but also align their success with the well-being of the communities where they operate, live, and serve. This shift in perspective paves the way for a more profound and authentic connection with clients, stakeholders, and society at large.

In a world brimming with skepticism and information overload, effectively communicating this purpose becomes a multifaceted task. The authenticity of a company's purpose must not only be felt within its walls but also effectively conveyed to the outside world.

Communicating your purpose should start with trust, as Andrea Vandenberg, Head of Demand Generation, ESG at EY, explains, "It starts with trust. Understanding where you've come from, where you are now, and where you're going allows you to share messages transparently and ethically. Being responsible in your messaging ensures you state facts, share experiences, and acknowledge that you might not have all the answers, but you're working on solutions." Trust serves as the foundation for effective communication, rooted in a deep understanding of your company's past, present, and future. This approach fosters transparency, responsibility, and a commitment to finding solutions, strengthening the trust between your organization and its audience in an era where authenticity and credibility are paramount.

Having a purpose also entails the importance of standing for something and not backing down, as highlighted by Tulani Andre, Vice President of Social Media at National Geographic: "As with any person or organization, the way you communicate your values and ultimately grow trust and loyalty or fans is through consistency. It's showing and speaking up when needed and even when not easy. In this time, it means stating what is important to you (especially influencers) or your brand and even if it's not received well by everyone, standing by it. Not backing down from what your values are, even if or when it is uncomfortable. This is increasingly important because of the constant need to define oneself that continues to arise in our society and the unfortunate need to be clear about whether you stand for inclusivity and acceptance or not, something that we would all hope was a given, but as we've seen, is not."

In today's dynamic and ever-evolving world, authenticity in purpose and communication has become an indispensable compass for individuals and organizations alike. It's a guiding principle that not only defines who we are but shapes the way we engage with our audiences, clients, and the broader society. The importance of staying true to our values, standing resolute in our commitments, and communicating with transparency cannot be overstated. Authenticity is the bridge that connects us with those who share our vision and values, and it is the foundation upon which trust, loyalty, and lasting impact are built. As we navigate the complexities of our interconnected world, let us remember that authenticity in purpose and communication is not merely a trend; it is a timeless and invaluable asset that guides us on the path toward genuine connections and meaningful change.

We're excited to share that these esteemed thought leaders, including Andrew Block, Andrea Vandenberg, Tom Chervinsky and Tulani Andre, will be featured speakers at the upcoming Global PR Summit Canada 8. Join us from November 30th to December 1st in Toronto for an enriching experience. This summit offers a unique opportunity to engage with these experts, gain valuable insights, and connect with peers in the field of public relations and purpose-driven communication. Don't miss this chance to be part of an enlightening discussion that can shape the future of your brand and your approach to communication. We look forward to welcoming you to this insightful event!