Today, purpose-driven brands outperform those that are not. People want to feel that a brand has invested in them, its employees, the community in which it operates, or the environment.
According to the findings of the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, 68% of consumers believe they have the power to force corporations to change, and 86% of individuals expect chief executives to speak. Here’s how industry experts value purpose as a business strategy.
According to Aisha Pandor, SweepSouth CEO, it is important for business to align with purpose and values.
“I come from a background with parents who were teachers and also anti-apartheid activists and so their work had a lot of meaning for them. This has resulted in me wanting to ensure that anything I dedicate time to, has a lot of meaning and a large impact,” she says.
SweepSouth boasts a great tech platform that connects two sides of a marketplace, but more than that, there are themes around impact, unemployment and underemployment, and addressing that within the domestic worker community specifically.
“We also conduct an annual report on the pay and working conditions for domestic workers in South Africa and Kenya. This report highlights the everyday reality of domestic workers, and helps us and other stakeholders fight for better pay and working conditions for one of society’s most vulnerable groups,” Pandora explains.
She believes that while purpose and impact are equally important. Business owners should be able to look at themselves in the mirror at the end of the day and say, “I’m doing okay, I feel good about the impact I’m achieving and the work that I’m doing”.
To Tshepo Matlou, head of marketing and communications at online booking platform, Jurni, sustainability is key especially in the tourism industry. In Kenya for example, tourism isn’t just a vital source of foreign currency, it also supports local supply chains, creates jobs (in 2021, employment in travel and tourism in Kenya represented nearly 8% of total employment in the country) and drives development outcomes that support communities.
“Within itself, sustainability is a noble purpose for any business, in any country, to adopt, but it also ties with the increasing importance global travellers are placing on sustainability being a valid part of a business’s attraction,” says Matlou.
He adds that post pandemic, businesses with the tourism sector have the chance to grow back better in a way that’s more sustainable, inclusive and caring – both for the environment and for people.
Whereas technology plays a key role in reducing inequality and narrowing the urban-rural divide, access to software enables people to set up businesses and work for global corporations from the comfort of their homes or satellite offices. Zoho is one tech company that thrives on building software, but its people and culture are its most important asset.
The brand goal of the company is to give back to the community and the world around them, whether it is offering work opportunities to individuals who have limited access or providing products that help firms grow. From its inception 26 years ago, the firm’s strategy has been to support its employees and
“Zoho was founded on ideals and beliefs. We don’t assess our success in terms of statistics, but rather the effect we’ve had on our workers, their families, customers, industry, ecosystem, and local communities,” says Andrew Bourne, regional manager, Zoho Africa.
This means also considering the long-term impact of the firm’s involvement with rural communities, as well as encouraging other companies to follow suit.