Why Purpose Should Be a Top Strategic Priority

Published on 23rd August 2022

Today, purpose-driven brands outperform those that are not. People want to feel that a brand has invested in them, its employees, the community in which it operates, or the environment.

According to the findings of the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, 68% of consumers believe they have the power to force corporations to change, and 86% of individuals expect CEOs to speak.

We speak to industry experts and ask them how they value purpose as a business strategy.

Purpose and impact

It's important that our business aligns with our purpose and values," says Aisha Pandor, SweepSouth CEO. "I come from a background with parents who were teachers and also anti-apartheid activists and so their work had a lot of meaning for them. This has resulted in me wanting to ensure that anything I dedicate time to, has a lot of meaning and a large impact. 

“For SweepSouth, we have a great tech platform that’s connecting two sides of a marketplace, but more than that, there are themes around impact, unemployment and underemployment, and addressing that within the domestic worker community specifically, that are so important to me, Alen, and the broader SweepSouth team. We also conduct an annual report on the pay and working conditions for domestic workers in South Africa and Kenya. This report highlights the everyday reality of domestic workers, and helps us and other stakeholders fight for better pay and working conditions for one of society's most vulnerable groups.

"While the bottom line is, of course, important to all businesses, I strongly believe that purpose and impact are equally important. Business owners should be able to look at themselves in the mirror at the end of the day and go, 'I’m doing OK, I feel good about the impact I'm achieving and the work that I’m doing'," Pandor concludes.

A sustainable purpose 

“Sustainability is a growing focus in the tourism industry,'' says Tshepo Matlou, Head of Marketing and Communications at online booking platform, Jurni. “Within itself, sustainability is a noble purpose for any business, in any country, to adopt, but it also ties with the increasing importance global travellers are placing on sustainability being a valid part of a business’s attraction.

“Post pandemic, businesses with the tourism sector have the chance to grow back better in a way that’s more sustainable, inclusive and caring - both for the environment and for people,” says Matlou. Tourism isn’t just a vital source of foreign currency for Kenya, it also supports local supply chains, creates jobs (in 2021, employment in travel and tourism in Kenya represented nearly eight percent of total employment in the country) and drives development outcomes that support communities.

A community purpose 

Although Zoho is a company that loves to build beautiful software, its people and its culture are 

its most important asset. The brand goal of Zoho is to give back to the community and the world around them, whether it is offering work opportunities to individuals who have limited access or providing products that help firms grow. From its inception 26 years ago, Zoho's strategy has been to support its employees and companies.

"Zoho was founded on ideals and beliefs. We don't assess our success in terms of statistics, but rather the effect we've had on our workers, their families, customers, industry, ecosystem, and local communities,” says Andrew Bourne, Regional Manager, Zoho Africa. This means also considering the long-term impact of Zoho’s involvement with rural communities, as well as encouraging other companies to follow suit. “Technology plays a key role in reducing inequality and narrowing the urban-rural divide. With access to software that enables people to set up businesses and work for global corporations from the comfort of their homes or satellite offices, companies like Zoho can help create sustainable economic opportunities and generate much-needed income that would otherwise be redirected to larger towns or cities.”

By Silvia Kabita


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