What’s the purpose of Purpose?

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What’s the purpose of Purpose?

Article Date: 08/03/2019 


Eileen Bentley, Senior Marketing Strategy Manager, Bord Bia – Irish Food Board

Regardless of your business size or stage of growth, pressing pause to step back and consider why you do what you do is a valuable exercise. Business purpose has been defined in many ways but one useful way of considering it is as a higher order benefit (beyond profit) that creates value for your customers or consumers through an emotional connection. Not to be confused with brand distinctiveness or differentiation, purpose should provide a call to action for a business, its stakeholders and its customers as well as to provide a benefit to society (local or global). Even though the purpose debate has been happening for almost a decade, in recent times, the stock of business purpose has risen against a backdrop of reduced corporate trust and an increase in the demand for sustainability, alongside the demand for businesses to adopt a longer term view of what success means; the so-called ‘triple bottom line’ of people/planet/profit.

For all businesses, B2C or B2B, purpose can provide strategic value by helping maintain focus as complex decisions need to be navigated. In addition, it plays a strong role in employee engagement and in focusing teams on a common goal.

So how is purpose created? Put simply, it is the intersection of the core values and key equities of a business and it will often tap into an emotive state such as joy, pride, connection, exploration, or impacting society. Once it has been defined, a purpose needs to be brought to life with real passion, and that’s where businesses can see the difference it makes.

A sense of purpose should be at the centre of a company’s strategy for growth and you can learn more from Bord Bia about purpose and developing a commercial marketing strategy by visiting www.plantogrow.ie


Kenny, G. (2019). Your Company’s Purpose Is Not Its Vision, Mission, or Values. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2014/09/your-companys-purpose-is-not-its-vision-mission-or-values

Stengel, J. (2012). Grow - how ideals power growth and profit at the worlds 50 greatest compani. London: Virgin Books.

Toolkit 2018: Redefining purpose | WARC. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.warc.com/content/article/warc-trends/toolkit_2018_redefining_purpose/117309

Why business must harness the power of purpose. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.ey.com/en_gl/purpose/why-business-must-harness-the-power-of-purpose


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