Why is purpose so important in the 2020s? 

Apr 16, 2024

Why is purpose so important in the 2020s?

Two reasons: Customers and Employees.  If either of those two things are important to your business then operationalizing and communicating a genuine purpose for your business must be a critical areas of focus for you in the 2020s. 

How do we know purpose matters to customers?  These days consumers are more empowered than ever with dozens or even hundreds of product choices just a click away.  There are thousands of examples to point to for how effective purpose is at attracting customers, but here are a few that are very recognizable:

  • Always brand’s “Like a Girl” campaign was designed to uplift the self-esteem of young women.
    • 76 million YouTube views (the goal was 2 million),
    • 5 billion global media impressions (the goal was 250 million)
    • 195% increase in Twitter followers, and hundreds of thousands of posts.
  • Dove’s “Choose Beautiful” campaign was crafted to encourage women to choose to feel beautiful.
    • Sales increased from $2.5 billion to $4 billion in the first year of the campaign year.
  • Nike’s “Dream Crazy” campaign encouraged people to reach to their highest potential.
    • 7 million brand mentions on social media in the first week of the campaign – a 1,400% increase from the prior week.
    • $43 million worth of “earned media” exposure in less than 24 hours (most of that coverage was neutral to positive, according to Apex Marketing Group.)
    • 30 million views on YouTube for Dream Crazy and 250 million for full series of Nike Dream ads. After
    • 31 percent increase in online sales for the first week of the campaign


How does that shake out when we look at businesses in a more generalized way?

Shareholder Return

  • Nearly every company with a purpose strongly embedded within the organization has a ten-year total shareholder return above the S&P 500 median. (BCG)

Sales Data

  • Nielsen data shows a 14X higher growth rate for products with sustainability/social benefits vs. conventional products (5.8% vs. 0.4%, respectively).

So what about employees?  If your paying someone to work, why does purpose matter?

These days people are less and less satisfied with exchanging their life energy simply for a paycheck.  There is a dizzying spectrum of opportunities for individuals to either create or be a part of something that feels aligned with their beliefs and priorities.  Micro-financing, micro-facturing, kickstarter websites, and online goods and services marketplaces make it possible to start a business in nearly any sector within weeks.  And now that retirement has been pushed out of reach for much of the working population, the question of “what is a worthy way to spend my life energy” has become a central factor in where and how people choose to work. 

Employee Attraction & Retention

  • Millennials who have a strong connection to the purpose of their organization are 5.3 times more likely to stay (PWC).

Defense From Disruption

  • Companies that operate from purpose do a better job of predicting the future, innovating in the present and learning form the past 

From Great Place to Work’s Research into the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® List:

Employees in purpose-centered companies are:

  • 4X more likely to say they are willing to give extra to get the job done
  • 8X more likely to say they are proud to share where they work, enhancing their employer’s brand
  • 13X more likely to say they want to work there a long time
  • 14X more likely to look forward to coming to work
  • 20X more likely to say their workplace exhibits traits linked to innovation


If you want to learn more about how to win with purpose, check out these other articles on purpose:

Colt Briner  « Architect of Influence


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Scrappy’s proven tools and techniques create industry darlings that are loved by their customers, employees and shareholders. At Scrappy AF we specialize in high-impact branding and market-disrupting strategies to take companies from “never heard of ‘em” to market dominance. Scrappy is a collective of seriously resourceful, radically creative, tactical badasses under the leadership of Colt Briner, unicorn company CMO and Architect of Influence.