Companies often approach us as they want to increase their profile and raise their game. Not unusual as we specialise in marcoms and PR. However, it often becomes apparent quite fast that the real reason they are finding it hard to generate their share of voice, is not that they don’t have the coms expertise, the contacts or the time to devise and implement a marcoms strategy, but more that they haven’t really nailed their organisational purpose.
Many companies start their lives from a brainwave, or the driving ambition of an individual. Sometimes an offshoot of a previous corporate, they have built up their own experience and think “I’ll give it a go on my own’. As they grow, the mission, the aim, the reason fades as the bottom line, the balance sheet takes over. Effectively their purpose is lost in the drive to make money.
This is often where Antelope comes in. Asked to help a company take the step up to that next level – to give it a boost to take it over the finishing line of the latest challenge, a marcoms consultant is brought in to help support the sales funnel and channel reasons for the sales leads to purchase. And rightly so.
But how many companies stop at this stage and look at what their business is about, what its purpose is, its point of difference, its what and why? Graham Kenny in the Harvard Business Review talks about the 3Ps of a business – the profit, the problem and the often forgotten purpose. He talks about the problem driving the purpose. So entrepreneurs start businesses to solve a problem and the purpose comes later.
Sherry Hakimi goes further in an article on The Fast Company website stating that purpose driven companies are often more successful. Why? Because they are authentic, no matter what. “A purpose mobilises people in a way that pursuing profits alone never will.” Certainly having a purpose in a company helps employees work to a clear and comprehensive narrative she argues.
Yet, it is interesting how many C-Suite and SMTs lose the purpose in the fight for market share. Or fail to stop, assess and revalue their purpose as those factors around them change.
That’s where your marcoms strategy can really kick in. Identifying your point of difference, your key audiences, and potential new ones, looking at your products and services to match your audiences and then refining that messaging is key for any business. Not just a nice to do, a soft marketing activity, it will give you your reason to shout aloud to external audiences as well as internally giving your teams a reason, a rationale, a point of being, a purpose.
So far from a naval gazing exercise, at Antelope we believe you should stop every 12 months and do a healthcheck on the purpose of your company, and whether or not that purpose is communicated to your stakeholders, your employees, and of course, your customers.
Five steps coms check:
1. Is your purpose clearly laid out on your website?
2. Survey your team – are they in agreement with the purpose of the organisation? And more importantly are their roles and responsibilities working towards this purpose?
3. Ditto survey your customers.
4. Ask yourself what was the original purpose of the Company? Has this changed?
5. Is the current purpose still relevant today?