Why Purpose Matters

Why Purpose Matters

Values drive leadership at WD-40

We all know that most brands consider social responsibility at some level when they write their core values. However, what a lot of these companies don’t think about sometimes is how to extend their values, and make a real positive impact in their community, co-workers’ and consumers’ lives. This is where defining a purpose and putting it into practice everyday becomes an essential tool to drive business growth.


According to the 2017 Cone Communications CSR Study, 87% of Americans will buy based on values, and 76% will boycott based on values. That shows how consumers not only want to know what companies are doing but also about their beliefs, and what causes they support. Here are some other interesting statistics to consider when building your brand reputation and purpose:  

  • 89% of Americans would switch brands to one that is associated with a good cause, given similar price and quality, compared to 66% in 1993.
  • Consumers want companies to address issues that are active in the news: 94% domestic job growth, 87% racial equality, 81% cost of higher education.
Engagement and commitment

When leaders understand the importance of aligning purpose to their organization’s mission, they build trust and a sense of belonging between the company, consumers and employees. Purpose-driven leadership creates engaged and committed employees that, consequently, will have more professional and personal satisfaction, resulting in better performance.

“The presence of purpose makes every small task pleasurable,” explains Stan Sewitch, Vice President, Global Organization Development at San Diego-headquartered WD-40 Company. “With purpose, there is no clock. There is no ‘work-life balance’. It’s all integrated. It’s all just life.”

When values meet performance

Sewitch shared with us some of the best practices that make WD-40 Company stand apart from other businesses:

  • All leaders, starting at the top with the CEO (Garry Ridge), hold themselves to a very high standard of values and ethics.
  • The company formally integrates values into its performance expectations, performance reviews, strategic decision-making and ongoing debate.
  • The company truly aligns around the concept of a “learning” organization, which means intelligent mistakes are not punished, they are valued as “learning moments,” significant points in time where the pain of failure can result in a better future for everyone.
  • The “Tribe,” as most (not all) of the company’s employees refer to themselves, is a mushy, sentimental, fun-loving group of basic human beings, trying to earn a decent living for their families and themselves by doing good work and helping others in the process.
  • Anybody is invited to ask anybody any question, as long as it’s accompanied by an intent to help the Tribe, and is delivered with respect.

Now, you are probably asking yourself how to genuinely take action, and reach the socially conscious consumers who expect your brand to deliver both a great product AND an impact. The answer is through your purpose, and it starts with a leadership that truly understands and believes in the organization’s mission.

The task is not always easy, but it’s definitely a priceless experience that will expand your business, and inspire people to create the community we all want to live in.

Get tickets for the 19th annual Cause Conference™ while you still can. The theme of the West Coast’s premier event for entrepreneurs, marketers, and business leaders of purpose-driven organizations this year is “Maximizing Your Impact Through the Power of Purpose”. The conference will empower attendees with invaluable information, contacts and resources to accelerate the impacts of purpose-driven organizations, campaigns and missions.

  • Learn the principles of purpose-driven marketing to integrate into your brand narrative
  • Empower and provide growth opportunities for your organization’s team members
  • Apply what you’ve learned immediately!

About Mariana

Mariana Godsen is originally from Brazil, where she graduated in Journalism and worked as content writer for several online publications. In San Diego, she is a student in the Marketing Extension Program at UCSD and a Cause Conference volunteer.