RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Larry Weber, chairman and CEO of Racepoint Global, recently moderated a panel discussion called Tech For Good, organized by NC TECH (North Carolina Technology Association) at the Research Triangle Foundation in RTP.
The aim: to discuss how companies from a variety of industries are using technology to address a purpose that benefits people and the planet. Panelists included Jess George, a Government & Community Affairs manager with NC Google Fiber; Amanda Levinson, co-founder and COO of NeedsList; and Jason Cooper, chief digital officer at Horizon Production.
WRAL TechWire’s Chantal Allam recently had the chance to pose a few questions to him about the power of a creating a purpose-driven brand. Here’s what he had to say:
- Tell us your story, and describe how your company is using technology to address its corporate purpose.
The future of marketing depends on purpose-driven strategies. At Racepoint, we spend every day helping clients understand that the best way to engage with their audiences is to not only have a purpose-driven message, but to also follow up with action.
- How different is this approach to, let’s say, 10 years ago?
The reality and impact of corporate purpose in businesses today is hugely different to what it was 10 years ago. Most companies did, and still do, enact corporate social responsibility in a philanthropic way. This is obviously a wonderful way to contribute to the community and make a positive impact. However, to make their contributions and positive impact effective, companies should dig deeper. They need to think about what is in their DNA, so they can be truly purpose-driven.
When evaluating a company and its purpose, ask: Why were we successful in the first place? It’s important take the time to really evaluate a company’s expertise, and define the most effective way to impact the world today.
Today, the millennial generation is the largest workforce, and that generation is more driven by the message and agenda of corporate purpose than any generation before it. These folks are looking to join companies that are doing good things for society – not just prioritizing fiscal gain. A great example of a company using technology for a greater corporate purpose. is John Deere. This company is trying to provide the best technology to farmers, so they can provide food and sustenance for more people.
- Why do you think more people are looking to build a shared sense of purpose between the people, products and services?
The generations of incoming professionals, millennials and “GenXers” for example, have driven this shift in priority between consumers and the companies they interact with. They are looking to build a shared sense of purpose between people, companies, products and services – much more than their parents did. This group of people want to work for, and do business, with companies that are socially responsible, care about their impact on the environment and community, and are conscious about what they leave behind. They are sharing their opinions with their families, friends, co-workers, and frankly, anyone who will listen. The messaging behind the posts you see or the conversations you hear, is that these young people just want to live in a better world. Companies depend on selling things, but can still ingrain a larger corporate purpose of social good into its daily infrastructure. Patagonia is one of the pioneers of this strain of corporate thought, becoming well-known for its fight for sustainability. While much of the social good they encourage is through philanthropic action, it is also part of the company’s daily purpose.
- Can you talk a little to the forces or technology and globalization, and how they have altered who we are, how we live, and what we stand for?
Technology these days has become incredibly advanced around the world, creating new levels of interconnectedness. We have an ease of use and speed that we have never had access to before. This convenience of innovation aligns with the development and incorporation of corporate purpose.