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Purpose Power Summit 2021 to reveal the Purpose Power Index

by Umamah Mehmood

June 10, 2021

After a year of unprecedented crisis – and with it, uncharted waters – leaders are looking outward for guidance on how to navigate this new post-covid environment. The pandemic turned our worlds upside down, shifting everything from consumers’ purchasing behaviors to personal preferences and priorities.

Among those growing priorities is purpose. According to a new study, purpose-driven brands increasingly are being rewarded by consumers. And those companies that have learned to activate purpose are now thriving, and will continue to be well into the future.

This finding is one of many captured in the 2021 Purpose Power Index (PPI), the world’s largest empirical study measuring perceptions of brand purpose. The study was based on more than 20,500 individual ratings from U.S. consumers, assessing more than 200 brands; the results of which will be revealed during the Purpose Power Summit on Tuesday, June 15.

A collaboration between Inc. Magazine, StrawberryFrog, and The RepTrak Company, the Purpose Power Summit is the largest event of its kind focused on the performance of purpose-based companies. Open to all, the virtual summit will put higher purpose under the microscope, bringing together America’s leading CEOs, CHROs, CMOs and industry experts who will share best practices for how to activate it inside and outside one’s organization.

During the Summit, StrawberryFrog and The RepTrak Company will unveil the results of the PPI 2021, crowning this year’s brand purpose winners and laggards. Whereas the designated winners of traditional brand or trust tracking indexes are consistently predictable, the PPI identified a different breed of brand leaders with a higher mission at their core. The study determined a brand’s Purpose Power using an algorithm that explored criteria such as the brand’s level of commitment to changing the world for the better, and its intent to benefit all stakeholders, not just shareholders. And, unlike other similar studies, the PPI focused on the power of purpose in a way that reflects people’s willingness to buy from or work for companies.

According to Scott Goodson, founder & CEO of StrawberryFrog, leadership is about driving positive change. “The greatest challenge facing leaders is not defining purpose, rather it is about how you activate purpose to employees, consumers and other stakeholders. It’s about translating that into meaningful action through a company-wide cultural movement – one that begins internally and permeates externally – to effectively shift habits and mindsets and drive positive change.”

StrawberryFrog introduced the concepts of “Movement Thinking” and “Movement Marketing” to the world over 20 years ago, as a means of activating purpose with the launch of Smart Car for Mercedes Benz & Swatch. Pulling inspiration from social movements, the approach looks to overcome the gap between purpose-based storytelling, data-led optimizations and business transformation – or in other words, between a company’s intent and their action.

“We are in the purpose economy right now,” said Goodson. “The crucial need for change has been brought home by the pandemic. The data shows that employees and consumers are exhausted not by the change, but by the lack of it. Now more than ever consumers and employees are willing to buy from and work for companies that activate their purpose effectively.”

The Summit will feature a diverse lineup of panel discussions covering everything from the impact an authentic brand purpose can have on an organization’s internal culture and bottom line ROI, to the importance of activating purpose internally as well as externally, to how upholding purpose helped organizations weather the challenges presented by the past year.

Speakers include Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO, Thrive Global; Hans Vestberg, chairman and CEO, Verizon; Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell; Sally Susman, EVP and chief corporate affairs officer, Pfizer; Ranjay Gulati, professor of business administration, Harvard Business School; Laura Lane, chief corporate affairs, communications and sustainability officer, UPS; Bill Rogers, president and COO, Truist (summit sponsor); Christy Pambianchi, EVP & chief human resource officer Verizon; Stephen Fry, senior vice president, human resources and diversity, Eli Lilly and Company; Stacey Tank, chief corporate affairs and transformation officer; Hanneke Willenborg, CMO at Seventh Generation; Ramon Soto, SVP, chief marketing and communications officer at Northwell Health; Maryam Banikarim,Head of marketing, global and community at Nextdoor; Brian Deffaa, CMO at LifeBridge Health; Matt McGowan, president Snap Inc., and many more.

Attendees of the Purpose Power Summit will be among the first to understand how Americans perceive brands during the pandemic, both in terms of how it changed brand purpose as we know it and what it means for the future.

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