Nancy Maluso, Vice President and Jennifer Ross, Vice President
B2B firms are doing some soul-searching. Compared to firms of decades past, they are more tuned into environmental and social concerns. They’re also more inclined to act on global political issues, the war in Ukraine a current example. What’s driving the shift, and how can firms show purpose beyond a tagline? On this week’s podcast episode, Vice Presidents Nancy Maluso and Jennifer Ross share insights from their upcoming research.
The motives for embracing values and purpose are largely pragmatic. At a time when information on a company’s environmental or hiring practices is easy to find and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns have worked their way into earnings discussions, taking a proactive stand is also good defense. In a hypercompetitive labor market, societal mission also is a clear draw, particularly for younger workers, Maluso notes.
Yet many B2B firms struggle to define a unifying purpose, even if they’re committed to having an impact. Often, says Ross, “there are good things happening in pockets of the organization … but they may not be directly connected. There’s a lack of awareness or thought about how much you could gain by having a connection.”
For purpose to be authentic, it needs to be tied to a firm’s core competencies — it should be less what they would like to stand for and more what they can actually stand for, says Maluso. Purpose should not be a branding exercise but something that permeates the organization. That raises questions of remit and whether purpose should have an executive “owner.” The analysts discuss the likelihood of a chief purpose officer role, whose job would be to ensure that a cohesive purpose is embedded into every function.
The episode closes with a preview of the guests’ B2B Summit North America keynote session. Maluso and Ross will dive deeper into how companies can show authentic purpose and provide an example of a company that is doing this well. Learn more about Summit and register.