we’re looking for something to believe in

It is, at worst, an open secret that younger consumers like purpose-driven companies. Values-based organizations. Conscious Capitalism.

You get the idea. People view companies more favorably when they have clear goals that are not just “make a profit.” This works particularly well with Millennials and Gen-Z, but it’s pretty strong across the board.

But, what’s wrong with wanting to be profitable?

To be honest, nothing. However, if you had read that far and were thinking, “Why don’t they want me to make a profit?” then you’re really missing the point. We’re not attacking you. Most people are happy to help you make a profit, if they like what you do, as well as how and why you do it.

I cannot stress this enough. If you’re targeting younger generations, it is more and more important that you can explain why you exist. People aren’t just looking for interesting and innovative products. They also want to see ethical business practices and a goal or cause that drives you forward.

Why do we need a “Why”?

Environmental disasters and corporate corruption have been widespread ever since we became adults. Heck, Millennials came of age and were greeted by a nationwide financial crisis. In case you forgot, all three of those examples happened within just three years of each other. Things haven’t necessarily gotten better since then, either. Can you see why we might be just a bit disillusioned?

Like I’ve said before, we’re looking for something to believe in. Companies with purpose are incredibly appealing. If you publicly state your values and then act on them, a lot of people get on board.

What do we need to do?

A lot of suggestions for getting purpose-driven companies going include writing out your purpose, mission, vision, and mantra. Or if you already have them, pull them out of the drawer you haven’t touched for so many years. Use them to guide your internal and external messaging.

It’s also clear what not to do: lip service followed by a whole lot of nothing. There’s a reason that people use the term ‘woke capitalism’ derisively. It’s pretty clear to consumers which companies follow their purpose, and which are just blowing hot air.

Start by getting your company to make consistent, dedicated effort toward a goal beyond profit. If you can get there, you’re going to attract the attention you’re looking for.

Sam Dicken
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