How businesses are embracing social purpose

Yesterday we held our annual breakfast seminar to discuss how education can be a force for change and drive reputation, social impact and deliver purpose for an organisation.

Facilitated by Martin Wright, writer and futurist, we brought together speakers from organisations who passionately believe that business can play a fundamental role in transforming the lives of young people, their families and their communities.

Kicking off, Kirstie Mackey, Director of Citizenship, Consumer Affairs & LifeSkills at Barclays, talked passionately about the impact LifeSkills has had on society, since its launch back in 2013. Having reached over six million young people, it has delivered social impact at impressive scale. It’s really exciting how this programme continues to grow.

Next, we heard about Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign, leading the fight for businesses and consumers alike to #PassOnPlastic. Led from the top and embraced throughout the organisation, this campaign, which includes partnerships with WWF and National Geographic, has really resonated with UK audiences.

Jon Manley and Cheryl Chung, Culture and Communications Consultants from McDonald’s, told us about the business’s journey from the negative associations around ‘McJob’ to becoming an employer of choice. Both started their careers working in McDonald’s restaurants and were passionate advocates of how reputation building and pride in a brand can help attract the best talent.

Rounding off, Sonoo Singh, Associate Editor of The Drum, shared her insights on social purpose, highlighting some of the organisations and brands she believes are leading the way. And with social purpose having been a topic of conversation at last week’s Festival of Creativity at Cannes, Sonoo noted that brands would need to be careful that social purpose was authentic and impactful to cut through and create real value.

Each speaker and organisation brought a different perspective to social impact and the role of purpose. But everyone agreed that it’s crucial to measure and evaluate it and ensure, where possible, that it’s linked to a commercial measure or brand metric.

It was an interesting and thought-provoking morning to say the least. In a world where consumers and employees increasingly expect brands to have, not just functional benefits, but clear purpose that results in a tangible social impact, it’s a topic that we expect to be discussing more and more as the year goes on.


About the author

Nicola Dodd

Nicola brings over 20 years’ communications experience to Hopscotch and is passionate about the power brands have to impact positively on society. Before Hopscotch, Nicola was Deputy MD at award-winning agency, Kaper, leading on clients such as IKEA, Virgin Trains and Fairtrade Foundation. She has also worked at Cancer Research UK and Dyson. Nicola focuses on the growth and development of Hopscotch, leading on strategic consultancy, marketing and PR, creativity and innovation.

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