Power of Purpose in Thought Leadership

CMO Talk Series

Emily Foley

CMO, Head of Global Marketing & Communications, Cisco Capital and Cisco Refresh

in conversation with our host

Krishnan Chatterjee

COO, MarketsandMarkets.

For any organization, purpose pushes the boundaries of innovation and brings clarity to every aspect. It is purpose that defines the very existence of an organization by emerging as a foundational element for businesses to compete and thrive in the modern market avenues. There are several upsides-organizations perform much better when they have a clear sense of purpose. In fact, purpose-driven organizations also perform better in terms of innovation and bringing transformational change.

The Purpose of Purpose

There are many factors an organizational purpose relies on. These factors, such as community growth, well-being, etc., influence various aspects of an organization. Whether it is decision-making, inspiring employees and customers or building trust, purpose is essential for success. While it is vital for organizations to harbor a sense of purpose at its very core, purpose plays an equally important role in thought leadership. Let us understand how both terms play a harmonious role in the overall success of any and every organization.

Thought Leadership and its importance

In 21st-century marketing, thought leadership has emerged as a buzzword amongst marketers and enthusiasts. But it is more than just a mere buzzword today. In simple language, thought leadership is all about adding and creating value, building knowledge, and taking a stand. It expresses ideas demonstrating that you have expertise in a particular field, area, or topic. Thought leadership is not just garnering expertise and experience. It takes dedication, patience, strategy, and education. Most leaders are experts in their preferred fields of interest and are passionate about educating peers to benefit a company, organization, or cause.

What makes thought leadership important is its power to add value. Thought leadership is delivering authentic and genuine content that is derived using the author's expertise, insight, and experience. It is also about being a subject matter expert and leveraging that position to attain influence within a particular niche.

Creating Predisposition through Purpose

At Cisco, the company's evolving culture involves investing in people while setting the right tone. It is mostly about "Leave your ego at the door and bring your best self to work." The company resonates a culture of teamwork which has also trickled through it. As a result, its purpose and profitability intersect.

This is important because your customers are attracted to you when you do good things. Its all things we are doing to ensure we choose the right partners; we work with the right customers and represent customers we are proud of. It is also the authenticity and the ability to do the right thing that brings us all together.

- Emily

Choosing a Purpose that Resonates

The real challenge here is finding a purpose that resonates with all stakeholders of an organization. There is always an internal culture driving the organizational purpose and a profitability equation that makes the culture sustainable. In such case, ensuring that the organizational purpose resonates equally with the customers is very important.

However, it is not about choosing a purpose that resonates with the customers but one that builds a healthy workplace culture and in turn, helps build meaningful relationships and connections.

If you're doing something good and doing the right thing, and you're good stewards of your communities worldwide, then the customer will resonate with the right customers.

You know we do what we feel is right and build our own culture and the customers are attracted to it. But we are also powering an inclusive future for everybody. That's our purpose. I think that's where it resonates because we're trying to make sure that everybody is at a level playing field, and that's hard because it's not that way in the world.

We are trying to do our part. It is like three bubbles coming together-purpose and profitability with the customer at the center of everything. That is how our culture has evolved where we have created a customer experience where everything intersects, and the middle dot is the customer-everything we do. The customer is first. It's at the center.

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