Tjugum told Bizcommunity.Africa in an interview following on his presentation, that brand purpose should be at the top of all brand and communications strategy.
The context of the conversation took place in how fake news is leaving consumers uncertain about how they digest content, and with economic growth at a low, globally, how do private and public sectors ensure that their sustainability programmes are adding value to their organisations and broader communities in which they operate?
He also spoke on the current evolution of the traditional drivers of purpose and the role of the communications function in shaping our world – in the context of Africa and the more ‘Afro-optimist’, ‘Africa Rising’, narrative currently influencing the global conversation on Africa.
Tjugum, who has worked across Europe and the United States, as well as 15 developing countries, providing communications counsel in creating lasting social change around the world, said we have to talk about doing business for sustainability development and for business growth.
“Purpose-driven communications is the who and the what of the organisation. We are helping our clients to deliver a purpose statement that leads with those values that underscores their ethics and the how and why.”
Tjugum quotes eBay CEO, Devin Wenig’s question to brands on fulfilling purpose: “What hole would be left in the universe, what would be missed, if we were not doing what we are doing?”
That, reiterates Tjugum, forces us to put brand purpose at the top of all strategy, communications architecture and brand strategy.
“Putting it at the top and explaining the why. Why do we exist? Why also taps into an emotional reception in your audiences. We also need to be engaging our audiences more emotively – both stakeholders and consumers.”
The drivers of a purpose-based brand and communications strategy come from consumers, shareholders and employees.
“Nearly nine in 10 consumers believe purpose should be as important as profit. It is the same in South Africa. Consumers are likely to buy from brands that are caring for people and the planet and giving back to consumers.
“Then, nearly eight in 10 young employees under 30, are choosing a place to work where the values are in line with their own. It is an incredible statistic. Young people want to work towards a good cause and make a contribution to the environment, work for a cause, towards a social purpose.
There is as much as a 30% increase in productivity in organisations where this happens,” Tjugum states.
From the investor side, companies need to deliver societal impact. Proof is in the fact that of all global assets being managed, a quarter of total wealth assets fall into socially responsible investing (SRI): $23 trillion in assets.
“That means that investors are increasingly looking for that shareholder return, which is essential, but not the only thing. Companies see the value… their purpose is now to uplift people and improve their lives, not just their customers, but he lives of all people.”
Tjugum said companies were now also adopting the United Nations SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).
“That kind of focus really helps. We have moved beyond corporates just writing cheques. They are still contributing to worthy non-profits, but they need to look bigger. The SDGs are a wonderful benchmark and these SDGs differed from the millennial goals by bringing the private sector in, as that is where the money lies.
There are obviously still challenges to adopting a purpose-driven brand approach, explains Tjugum:
Communications is helping shape the world, he believes. “We believe that purpose and purpose-shaped business strategies are there to shape and change the world. Through storytelling we are creating tangible impact as through storytelling we inspire and engage others.”