Charting the future of public relations
The Purposeful Age
Hill+Knowlton Strategies
Holmes Report

The Purposeful Age

The world is accelerating. Disruption surrounds us. Values have changed.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies

The Purposeful Age

As we look to Cannes Lions, there seems to be a clear red thread running through many of the sessions, the importance of Purpose.

Companies are moving into a new age leaving behind the post-industrial age when making the best product was enough and the information age when data was a differentiator.

We are entering a new age, the Purposeful Age; an age when the strongest companies will align their business and communication strategies around a purpose. A purpose that is defined as the reason a company exists beyond making money and a purpose that defines your value to culture and society and your responsibility to both. A purpose that can exists on a sliding scale from making the world a happier place to delivering against a fundamental human need. Purpose not confused with a CSR strategy; how ludicrous does it seem now to plant a tree after taking a flight…

…it was captured perfectly by Indra Nooyi, the CEO of Pepsico.

“When we articulated the notion of performance with purpose, people said ‘oh, this is corporate responsibility.’ wrong. This is not about how we spend the money we make. The focus needs to be on how we make the money.”

In this new age a traditional business plan and brand strategy may no longer be enough, they are too easily pried apart and disrupted. In the ‘Purposeful Age’ companies and institution have the opportunity to join a meaningful conversation around things that matter, take their place in culture and demonstrate their responsibility to society.

What is driving the move to the ‘Purposeful Age’?

Disruption.

It is the concern of business; every sector is talking about it. When will the Uber or Airbnb of their sector arrive? When will a company be created that focuses on eliminating the inefficiencies in the existing business model of that sector? Will it be airlines, banking, insurance or the energy sector that will face disruption? Probably all.

The world is accelerating.

The decline and rise of companies has been accelerated, in the linear world you could see you competitors ‘coming’ as they grew in a controlled way, you knew who they were. Now new investment models, the power of the public, the ability to scale quickly and cheaply are just some of structural changes that are driving a world where exponential growth of businesses becomes the norm.

Value is changing.

As the value system of new generation has changed; they are no longer focused on financial return but lead with a thirst for meaning and experience. Operating in the ‘Purposeful Age’ becomes about attracting the best talent to the company. At its most fundamental it becomes the ‘skills strategy’ for the company allowing companies to attract the best talent.

What does this mean for communications? We believe the types of services that are needed have changed. To meet these demands we have focused our agency around a model we call the 3P’s –

Performance +

Purpose =

Preference.

We believe companies operating in the ‘Purposeful Age’ have the ability not just be affected by the accelerating world and the disruption that surrounds them but to the effect the world around them for the better.

An age that will truly change the world for the better.

-- Simon Shaw, Chief Creative Officer

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