Brands, rather than governments, are primarily responsible for driving social change. And, purpose will become more important during the coming year with business strategy and purpose strategy more connected.
Those are a few of the takeaways nonprofit managers should be studying from a new report by Quartz Insights and Waggener Edstrom Communications (WE) in New York City.
Some 63 percent of international respondents to a survey believe brands play a positive role in society and 64 percent believe brands, rather than governments, are primarily responsible for driving social change. Given the geographic spread of respondents, it is clear that these sentiments extend beyond the U.S.
According to authors of the survey’s results, the world is at an inflection point for defining the role of businesses in society. “It’s no longer sufficient for brands and corporations to focus on maximizing profit at the expense of social good. The public is increasingly looking to the private sector — brands, companies, and organizations — to respond to issues like inequality, climate change, and immigration reform,” according to the authors.
These issues are simply too big, and their ramifications too massive, for businesses to dismiss. The idea that companies can and should have a broader social impact is transforming how and by whom society’s greatest issues are addressed.
- A few additional takeaways from the survey include:
- 65 percent of respondents think current social and political trends are pushing leaders to define their purpose, and demanding organizations take a stand.
- Brands can’t outrun environmental concerns or widening inequality but they can be part of the solution. According to the research, the environment, politics and equality are the most critical issues purpose leadership should be prepared to respond to in 2019.
- Attributes stand out when measuring the impact of purpose leaders: empowering others, personal commitment despite adversity, bravery, and active communication top the list.
- Nearly three-quarters of survey respondents thought that in 2019 purpose leaders will yield power and influence to employees, customers, communities, and societies.
This research and writing was produced by Quartz Insights for WE. The These was sourced from a 19-question survey of 254 business and communications leaders administered between January 2019 and March 2019. The respondent