By Stefan Pollack
In today’s world of constant communication, we are obsessed with the how and the what. How do we reach customers? What content, channels, and tactics do we believe will break through the noise? Yet, amidst this frenzy of output, we have lost sight of the most critical issue: the why. Why should customers care about our message or company in the first place?
The future of impactful communication lies not in doing more but in communicating the why. So, it’s time to move past how and what and inspire action by sharing purpose.
Ask yourself why your company exists. What problem are you solving? How do you impact customers’ lives or, in fact, the world? Then, when you strip away the products you sell or services you offer, what is the driving reason for your very existence? Finding your why is not about profit or growth but the spark that ignited your vision—that initial flame that gave you a purpose, motivated you to rise above the trivial and mundane and pointed you toward something more significant.
Share this with the world, and you will surely attract customers, allies, and evangelists. Those who share your convictions will rally to your cause, propelling your message further than any marketing budget could on its own. The impact that comes with emotional resonance, fueled by the enthusiasm of a common purpose, cuts through more profoundly than any surface-level engagement or sale. With a why at your back, you can weather fads and trends and make a lasting difference.
Of course, you still need to explain the how—the practical strategies and skills required to achieve your purpose. But let your why to lead the way. Instead of selecting a random solution or goal and trying to persuade people to care after the fact, start by discovering what ignites your passion and sense of mission. Then figure out how to apply your unique gifts, talents, and position to make that purpose a reality. When put together, customers won’t just see what you sell. They’ll see themselves, and their reasons for caring will drive them to act far more powerfully than any messaging ever could.
While soulless output may win short-term gains, only purpose can achieve enduring impact. Stop adding to the heap in these relentlessly noisy times and start sharing your why. The future – your future – depends on it. How will you inspire action through purpose today?
Here are some common mistakes companies make when communicating their purpose:
Confusing purpose with what you sell. A company’s purpose should explain its intended impact, not its products or services. Focusing on what you sell can come across as promotional.
Lacking authenticity. If a company’s internal actions don’t align with its stated purpose, it will be evident to customers and employees. The purpose must be woven into the fabric of a company, not just used for marketing.
Being vague or uninspiring. “To make great products” or “To provide excellent service” are neither specific nor inspiring. A compelling purpose should give people a vision of the change you are trying to create.
Forgetting to listen. Communicating purpose should be an ongoing dialogue, not a one-way broadcast. Companies need to listen to customer and employee feedback to understand how their purpose is landing and whether it’s motivating the desired action.
Not tying purpose to action. A purpose without clear actions to achieve it will fall flat. Instead, companies should lay out ways for customers and employees to be involved and make the purpose a reality. Purpose and action together can create real momentum.