More than ever, organisations must adapt to societal changes. Currently, a new demand has arisen; the demand for organisations to actively engage responsibly in the society. The rise of this demand has paved the way for what is regarded as one of the most important trends of today: Purpose branding. Branding oneself on societal responsibility has been widely mentioned among practitioners, and even the academic world has started to tackle the phenomenon. But there is still much to explore as the young field of purpose branding contains numerous definitions and opinions – and even more questions. This master thesis aims to explore purpose branding from an organisational perspective in a societal context. This leads to the following problem statement:
What characterises the concept of purpose branding, and how is purpose branding of significance for the communication in Danish organisations?
In order to answer this, the thesis firstly provides a conceptualisation of purpose branding to get an overview of the phenomenon and to clarify our standpoint. To examine this empirically, we conducted four expert interviews, to provide insight into the phenomenon. The conceptualisation explores why purpose is important, and how the purpose of purpose branding can be viewed in two ways: Purpose as competitive advantage and Purpose as societal responsibility. More importantly, we establish our definition of purpose as: Purpose is the dynamic negotiation of an organisation's existence and its role in society and we present that purpose consists of five characteristics: Responsibility, Action, Relevance, Credibility and Trust. Purpose branding is similarly perceived as a dynamic negotiation between the organisation and the surrounding world in order to differentiate oneself, which we illustrate in The model of purpose branding.
Subsequently, we examine how the four Danish organisations; Copenhagen Cartel, the Royal Danish Theatre, Coloplast and BEC, work with purpose and purpose branding on the basis of our framework. The thesis further explores the similarities and differences between these types of organisations. To examine this empirically, we conducted one interview with a member of each organisation and included other empirical sources about the organisations as well. We conclude that both Copenhagen Cartel, the Royal Danish Theatre and Coloplast all work with purpose both internally and in their branding, which is due to a high consciousness and a clear perception of the organisation’s reason of existence. BEC is less conscious of its purpose and has therefore only begun its purpose journey.
In a discussion of purpose and purpose branding, we broaden the view and seek to understand how and if purpose branding can become institutionalised in the Danish society, and how the mediatization will affect this. We further discuss the implications of this through the perspective of traditional mimetic isomorphism as a negative result and inspiration as a positive result. Finally, we seek to understand if the ambiguity of purpose is a hindrance to its further implementation in society and in Danish organisations.
|Educations||MSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||132|