A significant “gap” exists between how senior executives, employees and consumers regard the purpose-driven efforts made by companies, according to data from PwC, the professional services firm.

Matthew Lieberman, chief marketing officer for the US and Mexico at consultancy PwC, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2020 Masters of B2B Marketing Conference.

“I would argue that every company in the US has a purpose problem,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: PwC study identifies purpose “gap” between companies, employees and consumers.)

While “purpose is on everyone’s lips in corporate America,” a survey by PwC – featuring 1,500 business leaders, 3,094 employees at different companies, and 6,170 consumers – discovered it was not always hitting the mark.

A case in point arose when survey participants were asked if they “strongly agreed” with the assessment that the firm they ran, worked for, or could be a customer of “has a purpose beyond making money”.

The C-suiters registered a confident 56% on this metric, but their employees didn’t necessarily buy into that view, with only 41% concurrence. And just 24% of consumers viewed companies in this way.

“The wider the gap, the bigger the potential for damage to both sales and morale. The impact can be huge. We need to continually focus on narrowing this gap and revisiting it at any time if it possibly does expand,” Lieberman noted.

While consumers may not be entirely convinced by marketers’ purpose-driven efforts to date, they do consider an organisation’s guiding principles when making purchases.

“Half of the consumers in the survey say they’ve chosen not to buy a product or service in the last year because they disagree with the company's values. That 54% really is a material number,” Lieberman said.

“And, even though we don’t have data yet, I would hypothesise that this number will increase given the pandemic, the election divide, and the racial/social-injustice issue.”

To help close the purpose gap, the PwC marketer suggested it “should be considered at the beginning of any strategy, referred back to often, and continually revisited.

“As we’ve seen from a number of recent examples, they’ll be calling you out if you [don’t align with your purpose]. So, it’s not even a nice-to-have. It really has become a must-have.”

Sourced from WARC