Everyone wants a piece of purpose but many are getting it badly wrong. Here are the pitfalls, the common mistakes and how to jump on board without going under the wheels. Read our report here.


Kin&Co’s research is a wake-up call to purpose-driven business leaders

Think you’re doing purpose well? So do most leaders. But new research shows that there’s a huge problem bubbling under the surface – many of your employees and customers don’t agree.

Don’t take it personally – many people are making the same mistakes.  Which are either coming up with a purpose in a boardroom without consulting their community, or slapping their purpose all over their marketing without first truly engaging their people and making hard changes internally. And now they’re paying the price.

Almost half of workers say their company does not act in line with its purpose and values. Over half say their company’s purpose marketing does not reflect reality.

Why does this matter?

This gap has a big impact on employee motivation and retention. Almost half said that this perceived hypocrisy makes them want to leave their company, and 68% said talking purpose but not living it would have a negative impact on their work; causing distrust in leaders and reduced productivity.

Not embedding purpose properly not only disengages employees, it also alienates customers. In this age of transparency employee problems leak out online – over a third of employees (34%) say they’d consider writing a negative review online – and into the press. Like the Etsy employee who started a petition against the company’s leaders for not living their purpose and values, which was signed by thousands of employees and then went viral. Think of that percentage in terms of your workforce. That’s scary statistics.

And don’t kid yourself: your customers genuinely care about this stuff – 63% wouldn’t buy from a company that didn’t treat its employees well. And they’re not stupid either – only 25% believe purpose / cause based advertising they see from businesses. And crucially, 61% wouldn’t buy from a company they felt was hypocritical.

In other words, having a purpose and not living it will actually hurt your business more than not having one at all.

The risks speak for themselves. But they only happen when purpose isn’t truly lived before it’s communicated externally. To see the benefits of purpose, you must apply the ‘Find, Live, Communicate’ model. First you must find your purpose – through a consultation with all your employees to ensure it’s true and authentic. Then you must live it by ensuring hard changes are made to embed it into your processes, systems, business strategy and importantly your culture. Then, and only when the live process is underway, do you start communicating your purpose externally.

We’re often asked, given these risks, is it worth the effort? And we say – a sure fire way to make your employees, customers, partners love you? Of course it is! We don’t need to add to the plethora of evidence for the power of purpose – much of which is covered in this publication, including the latest report showing that purpose driven brands outperform the stock market by 206%. For real life case studies, check out the report and see how companies like Ella’s Kitchen, Airbnb, Danone, all are great examples of this in action – and are reaping the rewards.

Look at the evidence and ask yourself honestly – are you f**cking up purpose? Did you cook it up in the boardroom without consulting employees? Have you used a standard cascade approach, or have you used behaviour change psychology to create that all important emotional connection? Has it just been rolled out from the top down, or have you also incorporated the ‘bottom up’ through grassroots, employee-led movement building? Don’t worry – it’s not too late, at Kin&Co we’ve seen many more leaders in a similar situation – and have brought them out the other side smiling. Take action, read our report and find out the key principles for living your purpose.

Alongside our report, we’re launching the Kin&Co Purpose Surgery – a free, off the record, 30 minute consultation with one of our award-winning purpose specialists, to help you avoid joining the growing pile of organisations paying the price for f**king up purpose. Places are limited; email info@kinandco.com to book your space today.

At Kin&Co, we want to create a world where every business is purposeful – and doing it right, because then everyone wins. Join us, and let’s work together to make sure purpose gets done properly everywhere.