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The Business Case For Purpose (All The Data You Were Looking For Pt 1)



By now, the data that supports the thesis that ‘Purpose’ (the catch-all term for ‘business as a force for good’) is good for business is overwhelmingly clear. As a helpful guide, I’ve listed all the most salient and current data points in this article, and I’ve also collated the various studies, surveys, and reports in one online folder.

Please feel free to send me any new insights to include via my LinkedIn profile so I can keep this resource updated, and also feel free to share this article.

I’ve broken down the data into the three main areas where purpose is manifesting itself in business: consumers, employees, and investors.


By pretty much every measure of brand health, consumers are more likely to try, stay loyal, pay more and advocate for brands that genuinely do good.


The Cone/Porter Novelli survey found that 66% would switch from a product they typically buy, to a new product from a Purpose-driven company. This figure goes up to 91% when Millennials (born 1980–1994) are polled.

And this isn’t limited to the developed world: According to the Edelman Earned Brand study, 50% of consumers across 14 major markets, including the U.S., China, India, Mexico, UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Brazil, Japan and more, are belief-driven buyers, and they skew younger, with higher percentages among millennials (60%) and Gen Z (53%).

When it comes to Gen-Z (born 1995–2015), the next wave of consumers entering the market after Millennials, the trends are even more pronounced. According to Fuse Marketing, after learning a brand supports a social cause or is socially responsible, Gen-Z consumers are 85% more likely to trust a brand, 84% more likely to buy their products, and 82% likely to recommend that brand to their friends and family.


Sustainable Brands and Harris Poll found that ‘80% of people say they are loyal to businesses that help them achieve the Good Life’ (defined by four major components: balance and simplicity, meaningful connections, money and status, and personal achievement.)

The same poll found that 76% believe making a difference in the lives of others is necessary for living the Good Life.


The Cone/Porter Novelli survey found that 78 % of consumers would tell others to buy from a Purpose-driven company and that 68% are more willing to share content with their social networks over that of traditional companies. 73% of consumers are also willing to stand up for a Purpose-driven brand if it is spoken badly of.

Accenture found that more than half (53 percent) of consumers who are disappointed with a brand’s words or actions on a social issue complain about it, with 47 percent walking away in frustration, with 17 percent not coming back.

The Wall Street Journal found that “Almost 60% of Americans said last year that they would “choose, switch, avoid or boycott a brand based on its stand on societal issues,” compared to just 47% in 2017.

The 2018 Edelman Earned Brand study found that ‘nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of consumers around the world will buy or boycott a brand solely because of its position on a social or political issue.’

Price Premium

Nielsen found that 2 in 3 consumers will pay more for products and services from brands that are committed to making a positive social impact.

IBM research developed in partnership with the National Retail Federation (NRF), polled nearly 19,000 consumers from 28 countries, across all demographics and generations, from Gen Z to Baby Boomers (ages 18–73) and found that ‘on average, 70 percent of purpose-driven shoppers pay an added premium of 35 percent more per upfront cost for sustainable purchases, such as recycled or eco-friendly goods.’

Strategic Clarity

The Harvard Business Review found that purpose helps ‘redefine the playing field’ in a way that opened up new territories for growth, and ‘reshape their value proposition’ in a way that broadened their mission, created a holistic value proposition, and delivered lifetime benefits to customers, all strategies that contributed to long-term growth.

Reputation Management

A Fortune survey by New Paradigm Strategy Group found that nearly 72% of the adults surveyed agree that public companies should be mission-driven, as well as focus on their shareholders and customers. In that same poll, 64% of respondents say that a company’s primary purpose should include ‘making the world better’.

The Edelman Trust Barometer reports that ‘80% of consumers agree that a business must play a role in addressing societal issues; they want a company to take actions which increase profits, improve social conditions, and make the world a better place.’

Deloitte’s Retail Trends 2020 report, which outlines the top six retail trends for the coming year, found that an “authentic purpose is now as important as digital to the next generation of customers”.

Accenture Strategy’s ‘From me to we: The rise of the purpose-led brand’, their most recent global survey of nearly 30,000 consumers, found that 62 percent of customers want ‘companies to take a stand on current and broadly relevant issues like sustainability, transparency or fair employment practices.’


The Harvard EY Beacon Institute survey found that ‘companies with a strong sense of purpose are able to transform and innovate better’. Executives from companies that treat purpose as a core driver of strategy and decision-making reported ‘greater ability to drive successful innovation and transformational change’.

The survey said that half (53%) of executives at companies with a strong sense of purpose said their organization is successful with innovation and transformation efforts, while less than one-fifth (19%) report success at companies who have not thought about purpose.

Deloitte Insights 2020 Global Marketing Trends Report also found that purpose-driven companies report 30 percent higher levels of innovation.

Diversity and Inclusivity

According to the Harvard Business Review, companies with above-average diversity have 19% higher innovation revenues and 9% points higher EBIT margins.

And also according to Harvard, when Fortune-500 companies were ranked by the number of women directors on their boards, those in the highest quartile in 2009 reported a 42 percent greater return on sales and a 53 percent higher return on equity than the rest.


The Kantar Purpose 2020 study demonstrates that over a period of 12 years, the brands with high perceived positive impact have a brand value growth of 175%, versus 86% for medium positive impact and 70% for low positive impact.

In Part Two of this article, we turn our attention to how purpose helps with employees and investors.

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Two stores, two decades, one pandemic survived for downtown retailer




Owning a business is not something that Vicki Tompkins grew up dreaming of, but in her now decades of entrepreneurship she said she “loves every aspect of it.” 

Tompkins has run the For Men Only (FMO) and For Women Only (FWO) downtown clothing boutiques since they opened in 1999 and 2001 respectively.

“It’s not perfect every day by any means, but for the most part, it’s great,” she said. 

Even through the quiet early pandemic days, the stores stayed open.

Vicki Tompkins has been running the For Women Only and For Men Only stores for two decades. In the early days of the pandemic, she admits she panicked over possible bankruptcy but has since “beefed up” web presence and been able to persevere. Natalie Pressman/NNSL Photo.

“Actually just coming into the store, even if nobody came in, was just really nice to be able to come in and sort of calm down and not be sitting at home freaking out,” Tompkins said. 

When the losses hit, Tompkins laid off almost all her staff – upwards of nine – though she has since been able to bring back a full time employee in each store. 

She said there was a lot of thinking “oh my god I’m going to bankrupt,” but then “I just started persevering and started to really try and calm down.”

Tompkins reduced store hours and worked to “beef up” her online presence through social media and the stores’ websites. FMO and FWO began offering delivery services and taking shopping appointments so patrons could come in one at a time to look around without fear of coming into contact with other residents’ household bubbles. 

She said the losses are significant but that she’s “still here.”

“I still eat well, I drink wine on Fridays,” she said. “It’s not great, but it’s fine.” 

Government assistance has also helped, she said. “That’s one of the reasons I’m still open.”

By trade, Tompkins is an artist.

She didn’t have a background in business at the time, but when the possibility of opening a store came up in discussion with friends, it seemed like a way of bringing together the skills Tompkins had amassed through various jobs throughout her life. 

“Sometimes you just fall into jobs. It just sort of happens.”

She acknowledges there are challenges to running a store and frequently facing risk head on, but when Tompkins said she “loves doing this,” she’s quick to list the reasons why. 

“I like the buying, I like doing the books, I love the customers. I love finding people things.” 

“It’s very satisfying to sell somebody something when they come out and they love it and you love it, when you both just feel like ‘yes, this is the right thing for you right now.’” 

From working in a small town for so many years, Tompkins said she’s gotten to know the people who come into the store. That way, when she does the buying, she said she really knows who the product is for and say “that line will really work for that person.”

On the other hand, Tompkins said it can be a challenge to manage customers’ expectations. She decides personally each item that is sold in the store and as fashions change, so do the products. When customers come in looking for the same pair of pants they bought five years ago, or a specific boot, she has to remind them “I’m not Amazon.” She said it is just another way that customer service fascinates her.  

To other entrepreneurs, Tompkins said “you really have to find your passion.”

Vicki Tompkins’ background is in art but said she “loves every aspect” of running her business. Natalie Pressman/NNSL Photo.

“There’s a lot more to jobs, as everybody knows, than what meets the eye,” she said, so you have to have a love of the work to keep you motivated.  

Tompkins emphasized the importance of buying local, in Yellowknife and across the country. 

“I think it’s really opened people’s eyes to, ‘if you don’t support us, then we’re not going to be here.’” 


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FirstOnSite Restoration opens business in new locations




FirstOnSite Restoration opens business in new locations

Driven by its recent business growth despite the challenges of the pandemic, emergency restoration and reconstruction service provider FirstOnSite Restoration has opened a new branch in New Brunswick, as well as relocating its Winnipeg branch to a much larger facility.

FirstOnSite Restoration’s new branch in New Brunswick is located in Fredericton; the firm says that by investing in a local facility it strengthens its commitment to customers and insurance partners.

The new branch will be led by acting branch manager Kevin Bourque, and will be holding a grand opening event on November 05.

“The launch of the Fredericton branch strengthens FirstOnSite’s commitment to New Brunswick and the surrounding region,” said FirstOnSite Restoration Atlantic regional vice-president Darren Bezanson. “The team is excited and ready to serve our insurance partners and customers by helping them to prepare for, mitigate and recover from any type of property loss.”

FirstOnSite Restoration has also relocated its Winnipeg branch, after the regional team grew from six to 25 employees. The new 14,000 square foot facility has a larger warehouse space, a carpentry shop, and a separate cleaning space for managing damaged property contents. The new branch opens November 09.

“The relocation is the result of immense growth we are seeing in Winnipeg and the surrounding region,” commented FirstOnSite Restoration Prairies regional vice-president Jamie Mackie. “The larger facility will allow the branch to operate more efficiently, reflecting our ongoing mission to provide unmatched customer service.”

The branch has also added to its leadership team with the appointment of Dan Plouffe as complex loss project manager.

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Talking small business resiliency at Chamber town hall




CORNWALL, Ontario – The Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce held their second of a series of virtual town halls as a part of small business month on Thursday, Oct. 29.

The focus of the second town hall was supporting small business through the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chamber invited a number of local representatives from different levels of government and organizations to talk about ways that they had worked to support small businesses during the pandemic.

Representatives included Greg Pietersma, Executive Director of the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce, Denis Lapierre of the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Business Advisory Branch, Candy Pollard of the Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre (CBEC) and Martha Woods of the Eastern Ontario Training Board (EOTB).

Much like the businesses they support, these organizations explained that they too had to pivot as a result of the pandemic. For the Chamber, in some ways, their mission remained consistent, namely serving as an advocate for local business.

“The thing we are most proud of here at the Chamber is that we were open throughout,” said Pietersma. “That was something that was of big importance to our board was that we be here for businesses when they needed us.”

Lapierre explained that during the pandemic, his ministry shifted to coordinating with businesses to support frontline workers, primarily through the Ontario Together Portal, which, amongst other things, helped provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to frontline workers and aggregated a list of businesses who produce PPE.

The panel talked about the resiliency they had seen from small businesses during the pandemic.

“Some of the main street businesses we have that have impressed me the most, like the Happy Popcorn Company, and Brunch on Pitt,” said Pollard. “They opened up and changed completely. They figured out how to get people to order ahead. It was ‘how do I get my products online. How do I get people to know I have these things.’”

Pollard had explained how during the pandemic, they had offered seminars to small businesses to help show them how to manage cash flow during the pandemic, and continue advertising.

“Through it all, I saw people who wanted to open a new business or had already opened and wanted to continue that new business,” she said. “I’ve been totally amazed at how versatile and how people have adjusted almost on the spot.”

Lapierre said one of the most important ways that a business could pivot during the pandemic was through online accessibility. He pointed to the Digital Main Street project, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping businesses create online stores, and promote online advertising.

On Oct. 30, the Chamber will be holding another virtual seminar on tourism with Archie’s Family Golf Centre being a keynote speaker.

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