A sense of purpose is vital to the success of any business. It allows you to stand out from the pack. It gives you direction through even the stormiest of weather. It creates a consistent culture for people to work in.
But to see these benefits you have to communicate that purpose. Otherwise, it’s nothing more than a hollow statement of intent, or at best something shared by the people at the top of the business.
Who to Reach
Whether it’s inspiring design, fast travel or just providing a smooth administrative service, the purpose of your business needs to be communicated to two distinct groups of people – your employees and your potential customers.
For employees, understanding that sense of purpose gives motivation and focus to their work. As your business becomes more complex, as rules and procedures gain a life of their own, it’s important to be able to cut through the complexities from time to time, to point at your core purpose and ask ‘are we serving that need?’
Communicating purpose to potential customers is about selling your services or products to them as individuals. Mass advertising is a dying beast. To draw in modern customers you need to reach out not with generalities but with something specific, something that directly interests the right people.
Selecting Your Audience
When it comes to employees, you know who you’re communicating your purpose to, and that’s everyone. Every single employee in your company needs to understand your purpose. If your purpose is sound but it’s one they can’t get behind then that’s a recruitment problem, not a communication one. So communicate your purpose to everyone.
For potential customers this is more complicated, but fortunately modern marketing has the answers.
Start by narrowing down who you’re interested in. Look at the data around your market. If your purpose is to provide the latest clothing trends as quickly as possible then you want to communicate that to millennials, as millennial men spend twice as much on clothing as their predecessors, while millennial women buy a third more clothing than those who came before. On the other hand, if your aim is high quality clothes that last then you want to reach a different market.
Narrow your focus as much as you can. Don’t look for the biggest audience, but for the one most interested in your purpose – that’s how you’ll make the most impact.
No matter how grand your purpose, no matter how carefully chosen your audience, your purpose won’t be understood unless you communicate it clearly.
Communication is arguably the most important skillin the world today. The rise and rise of public relations firms, advertising agencies and communication courses proves that. The greatest innovation of our age, the Internet, exists to communicate more quickly and efficiently.
Cutting through the jargon is central to good communication. You understand the language of your sector in a way that your customers may not. You understand the language of management and business in a way your employees don’t. You need to get your purpose across in ways these groups will understand.
So spend the time and money to improve communication skills across your organization, and to ensure that your communications are expressed in terms suitable for your chosen audience. You need to be clear and appropriate in your choices, reaching millennials in the language of millennials, business leaders in the language of business leaders.
For your purpose to have meaning it needs to reach people, both inside and outside your business. That means finding the right people to approach, and the right language to approach them in. Only then will your purpose spread and come to life.