Last year I announced the PRFest theme for 2020 – “Purpose Over Profit”

Purpose is a term banded about a fair bit and that’s exactly why I thought this would be perfect for PRFest. An opportunity to discuss the real meaning, what it is and how it needs to be embedded within the lifeblood of an organisation. It can’t retrospectively be bolted on.

I’m of the opinion that public relations has a duty to ensure purpose is integrated with its strategy and advise the board how it can be integrated with the big picture. By meaningful purpose I mean there must be a positive impact on society, in some way.

I was reading an article on Unilever’s purpose and how it has evolved over the last 10 years. Its purpose statement reads “Our Corporate Purpose states that to succeed requires “the highest standards of corporate behaviour towards everyone we work with, the communities we touch, and the environment on which we have an impact.” It’s clearly written out at the top of its website beside values and principles.

With this in mind, how would it be possible for an organisation to carry out its purpose if it doesn’t work in every element of the business with all the various teams? It simply couldn’t.

Areas of priority for many organisations are social and environmental impact. What’s your purpose? Is purpose engrained in your organisation’s strategy?

I read an appointment recently for a company and the recruit’s title was “Head of Purpose”. Whilst I can see what the company was in effect trying to achieve, I’d say purpose is for everyone to buy into and deliver, not one person with a title, overseeing. What do you think? Is this just PR being fluffy with current trendy words?!

Yesterday I delivered my first media training session of 2020, with a brand new deck, (which includes some very recent examples of good and bad interviews). When we were discussing media packs and reputation as part of consequences of interviews, much of what we discussed came back to underlining organisational purpose and it was then, the client realised that they knew what they were set up to deliver, but admitted that wasn’t a clear driver in public relations and communication. They’re off to revise their strategy!

So, come 18 June, at PRFest, the discussion won’t be skirting around the issue, we’ll be looking at purpose within organisations and indeed our own work. A limited number of ‘Super Early Nerd Tickets‘ for PRFest launch on 27 February, so make sure you get them while you can! Sign up for news and update emails here.