Everyone is talking purpose.
Business is gorging itself on it. The word that is.
We’ve seen it before.
Experience. That was another word business ate.
Milk. Oh no, that wasn’t. It just sounds funny when you say it over and over.
Business appropriates language to make itself feel - and look - better.
Everyone talks about purpose because it’s really important. Simon Sinek ‘invented’ it. Start with your why, he told us. Ok, he didn’t invest it, but he did talk about it compellingly and extensively. Aristotle did too, for the record. A long time before Mr Sinek.
People are drawn to companies with a strong purpose.
People are drawn to work, to an endeavour, with a strong purpose.
Products aligned to a strong purpose speak loudly and clearly to their markets, to their prospective customers.
A strong purpose attracts customers to you.
These are reasons why businesses have taken over the word. Appropriated it as their own. In fact, they’ve said it so often, like milk, it’s started to sound meaningless. We’re blinded by its frequency.
Where to go from here?
Well, like grandma told us, actions speak louder than words (ok, grandma didn’t say that but she knew it was true). And it’s true today. Given everyone talks about their purpose, companies large and small making grand promises all around, we start to see beyond the words, beyond the marketing, to their actions.
This is where salvation lies. For any company whose talk and actions aren’t aligned, in the eyes of the customer, employer, there will be an eroding of trust and all the talk, all the marketing in the world, can do nothing when the trust begins to erode.
Say one thing and do another and tomorrow’s customer, tomorrow’s employee is gone. Today.