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Has Purpose Peaked?

Has Purpose Peaked?

In the second episode of our new podcast series, Insight to Impact, FGS’ Sir Craig Oliver and Louisa Moreton sat down with Oliver Shah, Associate Editor at The Sunday Times, to discuss whether the business case for purpose has peaked – and what comes next.

In recent years, purpose has become a buzzword in the business community. But investors are increasingly asking if it has been overblown. Some are now arguing for a sharper focus on finances, and various states have withdrawn funds from managers who do not prioritize the bottom line above all.

Shah believes purpose should be seen as simply "what a business does and the way it does it." He warns leaders against conversations about purpose that do little to change an underlying business. A company’s purpose should be obvious, he says, adding: "If it’s not clear to the staff and customers…it probably isn’t real."

While ESG can be key to that, the focus must be on profitability, products and services, and actually responding to what clients need – integrating purpose into operations as much as into communications, Moreton says.

As for the future, purpose will remain on the agenda, but in altered form. "Faux purpose or purpose-washing - people talking about it in an airy-fairy way - is going to be seen through more and more," says Shah. "Companies that genuinely bake good behavior – rather than purpose and good future planning around what they're going to be – into their business models will be the ones that will do well."

As Moreton summarized, "Purpose has not peaked – but marketing-driven purpose has."

Listen to the podcast here.

By the Numbers

Get on Board

The growing threat of cybersecurity and data privacy incidents—coupled with the increasingly onerous cyber regulatory environment—has boards of directors recognizing the urgency and placing a top priority on becoming knowledgeable about cybersecurity preparedness. 

They have witnessed the growing onslaught of data breaches and ransomware attacks, as well as the threat of protracted litigation that follows any incident. They increasingly recognize the directors’ duty to oversee a company’s effective cyber prevention and response capabilities.

They want to know cybersecurity plans are in place, that the right external resources are at the ready for fast, effective legal, IT and communications responses and that leadership teams are exercising their cyber plans to create the "muscle memory" needed to execute in the event of an actual incident.

If your board has not raised this issue with you, be proactive. Get the right plans and backup communications channels in place. Conduct regular tabletop exercises with key cross-functional team members. Taken together, these steps will demonstrate to your directors that your company is fully prepared.

In the event of a cyberattack, our global Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Practice has compiled a list of immediate action steps for communicating after a ransomware attack, as well as key ransomware communications do’s and don’ts.

Neither, Please

As we stare down the barrel of another presidential election, most voters do not support the two most recent White House occupants.

  • Most U.S. voters (70%) do not support President Biden running for president again. Approximately half (48%) cite Biden's age as the primary reason for their reluctance. 

  • 60% of voters feel Trump should not pursue another term as president. Despite this sentiment, Trump continues to hold the highest level of support among Republican primary candidates, with 46% of voters favoring him, followed by DeSantis at 31%.

  • When it comes to approval ratings among Democrats, younger age groups are less positive about Biden's performance compared to those aged 45+. While 84% of Democrats aged 45 and above approveof Biden's presidency, 72% of Democrats aged 18-44 approve of his job performance.

  • Notably, both Biden and Trump share the same unfavorability rate, with 57% of voters viewing each of them "very unfavorably."

May 2, 2023
By Nedra Pickler and Irene Moskowitz
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