trendwatchers on purpose

  4 min

TREND WATCH

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Trendwatchers on purpose

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Business as
a force for
good

  Jelle Steenbergen    Wouter Noordijk

Corporate purpose has become a bit of a buzzword, but at the same time it’s an important topic of concern that takes center stage for many consumers, especially to younger millennials and generation Z. Trendwatchers and experts around the world are weighing in on why purpose is important for any company going forward. The opinions of international speakers Steven van Belleghem and Afdhel Aziz.

Steven van Belleghem - The offer you can’t refuse

Belgium-born Steven van Belleghem is an international thought leader on customer experience and has written several bestselling books on what the consumers of tomorrow are looking for in a company. He outlines how a purpose-driven company is essential in creating an irresistible offer. “It starts with the customer and builds on that.” To begin with a business needs to have an excellent product or service. Mediocrity is a death sentence in today’s crowded market. The next step requires a company to have an outstanding digital user experience.

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Customers are looking for companies that make a difference, but at the same time aren’t expecting miracles or grand promises. It’s about changing your world instead of the world. A single area of focus in which to enact meaningful change for the better is worthy enough. Does your company rely on plastic, for example? Then taking steps towards reducing that dependency or turning a negative environmental impact into a positive impact is important. Do you rely on imported agricultural goods? Then ensure safe and healthy working conditions for everyone along the supply chain. The larger the company, the larger the expectation of a positive impact on the big issues the world faces.

 “Everyone can have an impact on their own world. On their part of the story.”

Van Belleghem: “COVID-19 has been a ten year leap forward when it comes to digitalization. We live in a hybrid world where every offline interaction has an online component. Digital ease of use has become absolutely self-evident.” He emphasizes that digital does not mean virtual, but rather that digital has entered the ‘real world’ and become a part of our physical interactions, like how a restaurant experience becomes paired with online reviews or how artificial intelligence is being used to personalize menus based on previous visits and algorithmic learning. It’s all integrated. The step after this asks for a company to be a partner in life to their consumers. “You must understand the life story of your customers and add value to that. Be a partner in life.” Anticipate the needs of your customers and fill those needs before they even realize they have them. The final step is where purpose really shines: change your world.

The power of purpose - Afdhel Aziz

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 “The first is that consumers want to buy products or services from companies that are doing good in the world.” Companies are being judged on their purpose and values, not just on their product and price.

Sri Lanka-born Afdhel Aziz calls himself a storycatcher, and he focuses on those stories that inspire people and businesses to make the world a better place. Because business can be a force for good, it needs to be a force for good in the eyes of a new generation of consumers. “Good is the new cool, but it’s important to note this isn’t a trend. Cool is often considered a temporary thing, but what we’re now seeing is that the idea business can be a force for good is transforming capitalism.” 

He ascribes this transformation to three major shifts. 

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So what is preventing businesses putting a cynical spin on doing good, and simply pretending? “We’re living in an age of radical transparency.” Consumers can see through the veil of marketing and are increasingly willing to call out companies not living up to the promises they’re making. “The companies that are succeeding in this space embrace that idea and understand they need to pay more than just lip service to it.”

 “Everyone can have an impact on their own world. On their part of the story.”

 “The second shift is that employees want to work for those companies. The new normal is both purpose and a paycheck.” Employees want to feel like they are contributing to something, and more than ever before are looking for meaning in their work. For many, shareholder value and quarterly results doesn’t cut it anymore. 

 “The third shift is with investors, as we’re seeing with the rise of impact investors and ESG funds.” (Portfolios of equities and/or bonds for which environmental, social and governance factors have been integrated into the investment process.)

Combined these factors are changing the way business is done.

  4 min

Trendwatchers on purpose

pattern_01
01.jpg
Offline: This content can only be displayed when online.
Business as
a force for
good

  Jelle Steenbergen    Wouter Noordijk

Corporate purpose has become a bit of a buzzword, but at the same time it’s an important topic of concern that takes center stage for many consumers, especially to younger millennials and generation Z. Trendwatchers and experts around the world are weighing in on why purpose is important for any company going forward. The opinions of international speakers Steven van Belleghem and Afdhel Aziz.

Steven van Belleghem - The offer you can’t refuse

Belgium-born Steven van Belleghem is an international thought leader on customer experience and has written several bestselling books on what the consumers of tomorrow are looking for in a company. He outlines how a purpose-driven company is essential in creating an irresistible offer. “It starts with the customer and builds on that.” To begin with a business needs to have an excellent product or service. Mediocrity is a death sentence in today’s crowded market. The next step requires a company to have an outstanding digital user experience.

Van Belleghem: “COVID-19 has been a ten year leap forward when it comes to digitalization. We live in a hybrid world where every offline interaction has an online component. Digital ease of use has become absolutely self-evident.” He emphasizes that digital does not mean virtual, but rather that digital has entered the ‘real world’ and become a part of our physical interactions, like how a restaurant experience becomes paired with online reviews or how artificial intelligence is being used to personalize menus based on previous visits and algorithmic learning. It’s all integrated. The step after this asks for a company to be a partner in life to their consumers. “You must understand the life story of your customers and add value to that. Be a partner in life.” Anticipate the needs of your customers and fill those needs before they even realize they have them. The final step is where purpose really shines: change your world.

pattern_03
pattern_02
gradient.svg

Customers are looking for companies that make a difference, but at the same time aren’t expecting miracles or grand promises. It’s about changing your world instead of the world. A single area of focus in which to enact meaningful change for the better is worthy enough. Does your company rely on plastic, for example? Then taking steps towards reducing that dependency or turning a negative environmental impact into a positive impact is important. Do you rely on imported agricultural goods? Then ensure safe and healthy working conditions for everyone along the supply chain. The larger the company, the larger the expectation of a positive impact on the big issues the world faces.

 “Everyone can have an impact on their own world. On their part of the story.”

The power of purpose - Afdhel Aziz

 “The first is that consumers want to buy products or services from companies that are doing good in the world.” Companies are being judged on their purpose and values, not just on their product and price.

Sri Lanka-born Afdhel Aziz calls himself a storycatcher, and he focuses on those stories that inspire people and businesses to make the world a better place. Because business can be a force for good, it needs to be a force for good in the eyes of a new generation of consumers. “Good is the new cool, but it’s important to note this isn’t a trend. Cool is often considered a temporary thing, but what we’re now seeing is that the idea business can be a force for good is transforming capitalism.” 

He ascribes this transformation to three major shifts. 

 “The second shift is that employees want to work for those companies. The new normal is both purpose and a paycheck.” Employees want to feel like they are contributing to something, and more than ever before are looking for meaning in their work. For many, shareholder value and quarterly results doesn’t cut it anymore. 

 “The third shift is with investors, as we’re seeing with the rise of impact investors and ESG funds.” (Portfolios of equities and/or bonds for which environmental, social and governance factors have been integrated into the investment process.)

Combined these factors are changing the way business is done.

gradient.svg
pattern_05

So what is preventing businesses putting a cynical spin on doing good, and simply pretending? “We’re living in an age of radical transparency.” Consumers can see through the veil of marketing and are increasingly willing to call out companies not living up to the promises they’re making. “The companies that are succeeding in this space embrace that idea and understand they need to pay more than just lip service to it.”

 “Everyone can have an impact on their own world. On their part of the story.”

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