Planet Good - profits from purpose?

Planet Good - profits from purpose?

Many people see ‘purpose’ for organisations as having a higher value beyond sales, one that delivers for communities. We’re told it’s how companies in the Victorian era did business - looking after their workers, with some even building workers cottages, such as Liberty, Huntley & Palmer in the South and Cadburys in the Midlands - but jobs lasted longer then, so it all made sense.

Senior representatives from P&G (Roisin Donnelly - who is so, well, believable), EY’s John Rudaizky and giffgaff’s brand man, Tom Rainsford, formed an unlikely panel at the alter of 'purpose'.  Luckily, there were no fights between EY’s John Rudaizky- former Vodafone man and Tom, brand director and convert to disruption within the telecoms market, at giffgaff.

If you were a martian from Planet Good, you may have made the following observations about the discussion:

  1. The audience was made up of CR and purpose focused earthlings within organisations (I think so anyway!).  We saw how EY have support from the very top to integrate ‘Building a better working world’ position across all areas, with a series of internal programmes, such as staff awards.
  2. That giffgaff walks the talk. Apart from with their titles (‘Brand Director’), they think and act differently.  For instance, their App was built by one of their community, who presented the idea and was promptly hired (nice work!).
  3. That giffaff is a ‘telecom’ we were told, owned by O2 - which doesn't sound as cool, but it’s offering is all about ‘people power’ and great service, which worries (and disrupts) the competition. But what is it doing to make the planet a better place for earthlings?
  4. P&G thinks big - the numbers dwarf most mortals. Somebody once told me that Ecover is owned by P&G.
  5. The long-term marriage between P&G & UNICEF / Pampers, now in it's 11th year  - is commendable, as 300 million vaccines have been given to prevent neonatal deaths.
  6. P&G’s water based innovation is helping save lives and they didn’t need an NGO for this one, as it was invented by scientists  ‘upstairs’, whilst transforming white clothes to be even whiter (is that Daz?); Saint like they purified water and are now helping people across Africa purify dirty water.

Above all else, my martian friend from Planet Good would like to know how all this translates into sales (the profit from purpose)? How did the brilliant Always #like a girl campaign change habitats and convert to sales? That seemed to be the Holly Grail missing, from discussions over ‘networking drinks’ and bite-sized 'purposeful' snacks!

Giles Robertson, Director of Green Banana Marketing Ltd and independent marketing Consultant, Marketing Society Fellow, Board Member  of the Marine Conservation Society
@gogreenbanana and Linkedin or email [email protected]

Giles reviewed our Profit through Purpose event, which took place recently at RCP in London with 100 of our members. Read more from him here.