Purpose Led Communications

It’s not always about profits when you set up a business, and even when you grow them to large and sustainable mammoths. Every organisation while being set up has some underlying thought, philosophy, idea, or assumption that drives the organisation into the future. Yes, it makes money but it also contributes in dozens of hundreds of ways to the constituencies it is associated with. Almost all organisations have a much larger purpose than profiteering.

Communities, external audiences, and internal ones all expect from the organisation much beyond profits. Each of these audiences has their contributions towards the organisation in their unique ways and so is their expectation in terms of what they want to hear when it comes to communications. And therefore, purpose-driven communication takes a front seat in driving a communications programme.

Brands growing fast require intensive planning and constant supervision in operations to achieve the desired objectives can be highly influenced by bringing in purpose-driven communication in the brand campaigns.

For example, a packaged water brand is not just providing a drinking solution. It is also connected with the issues related to ecology, pollution, cleanliness, and general health in some or another way. While the product may be just drinking water here, the purpose would be to provide clean, safe, hygienic, germ-free, and palatable water thereby delivering good health to society.

Some of the purposes are explicitly defined, described, and communicated through external and internal communications, while some of these might not make their way into the messaging. Bringing the larger purpose to the fore in communication campaigns can be impacted positively for the brands in the long-term by enhancing the trust and beliefs.

Often organisations align their businesses with larger purposes that they find synergies with. Whether it is United Nations SDGs or extensive local level community services that the organisation associates with, each of them has a great contribution in bringing in tremendous goodwill and positive image for the organisation internally and externally both.

Consumers scrutinise brand purpose, whether consciously or subconsciously decoding the messages hidden in brand communications. A brand can make an extensive claim about itself as far as social or community purpose is concerned and not meeting in delivery is something today’s consumer can easily spot.

One may recall a recent case of a global automotive brand accepted cheating in the emission tests using software through a defective device. While this was happening, their marketing campaigns were full of promises of low-emissions and eco-friendly products trying to make the consumers look at them as an ecologically concerned company taking extra steps towards climate control.

Such instances of corporate greenwashing aren’t uncommon and they certainly dent the image of the organisations severely in a very short time. Many companies spend a lot of time and money in marketing themselves as sustainable ones while undertaking minimal work towards the environment.

Corporate greenwashing is an obvious deviation from the purpose of the organisation. Deviation from a purpose for any organisation has its biggest impact on the overall shareholder value, it creates a trust deficit, and eventually takes away its customers who are responsible for the organisation’s growth.

It may not be always that the organisations might be willingly deviating from their brand purpose, many times it could be a result of ignorance. They just didn’t know when they drifted away from the purpose of their brand communications. One could have a mechanism internally to oversee before the communications campaign or look at the post-campaign audits to ensure that they are well-aligned and take corrective action if required.

Corporate communications, being aligned with the purpose will not only bring profits but also create a large shareholder value for any organisation.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Praveen Nagda
Praveen Nagda is the CEO of Peregrine Public Relations, a full-service corporate communications and public relations consultancy firm delivering a pan-India reach to its clients. He also heads White Coffee, an independent events & celebrity engagement company.

Praveen has been closely associated with many national and international events related to cinema for children, art and culture. He has a well-rounded experience that cuts across all key sectors of PR & Corporate Communications.

He started his career with URJA Communications, an advertising agency specialising in technology brands, where he was instrumental in developing the PR division. Post this, he had a stint with Horizons Porter Novelli, a global public relations consultancy. Thereafter, he was heading the IT & Telecom division at Clea PR, a leading Indian public relations and communications company followed by a fairly long stint with Omnicom Group agencies viz. TBWA\India and Brodeur India.

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