The 17 most ‘purposeful’ companies in Europe
European companies which are the most ‘fit for purpose’ have been revealed in new research for 2016.
Creative consultancy Radley Yeldar has launched the 2016 Fit for Purpose index, ranking the world’s most socially, environmentally and economically purposeful companies.
The Fit For Purpose Index assesses each company across four criteria: purpose and story, communication, performance, and behaviours.
The overall trend that surfaced in this year’s index was collaborative thinking; the top purposeful brands are collaborating with stakeholders and partners within and outside the company to embed purpose in authentic and meaningful ways.
The report is Europe’s only extensive review of brand purpose and measures how well brands are putting purpose into practice. Out of the top 100 companies ranked, 83 percent demonstrated some type of collaboration, with nearly half demonstrating robust collaboration overall and 70 percent of the top 20 engaging in a long-term partnership related to their purpose.
“The 2016 index proves that the brands that are most fit for purpose are aligning with the overall trend of increased collaboration in business,” said Paulina Lezama, Radley Yeldar’s Head of Brand Strategy.
“Whether brands are consulting different departments with the organisation when developing their purpose or they are partnering with companies from different industries to bring their promise to life, breaking down barriers to embrace collective thinking leads to stronger and more effective purpose work across the board.”
This year saw both new entrants and fast risers in the top 10, including British Land, Pfizer and Novo Nordisk. New entrant British Land came in at fourth place, partly due to their commitment to customer insights, having conducted 150,000 consumer surveys over the last four years. Pfizer rose an impressive 53 places since last year, to come in at ninth place, primarily due to its commitment to partnering with key stakeholders in order to increase its ability to deliver on its purpose. Novo Nordisk, climbed 33 places to number five, thanks to a purpose built on guiding principles to help defeat diabetes.
The Top 17 from the list of 100 Fit For Purpose rankers include:
- Unilever (89.3 percent)
- Lloyd’s Banking Group (87.7)
- Philips (85.9)
- British Land (79)
- Novo Nordisk (78.2)
- Pearson (77.8)
- Reckitt Benckiser (77.3)
- Nestlé (75.6)
- Pfizer (73.1)
- GSK (71.3)
- Syngenta (70.4)
- BT (70)
- AstraZeneca (69.6)
- GE (69.5)
- Marks and Spencer (69.4)
- BASF (69.3)
- Deloitte (68.3)
To help launch the index, Radley Yeldar has put together an expert panel across different industries to contribute to the growing body of collective thinking around purpose, including Unilever, Danone, TOMS, Pearson, London Business School, SAP, SKINS and The Science Museum.
"At Pearson we have a simple mission: to help people make progress in their lives through learning. Social impact is at the heart of our brand and that strong sense of purpose is a driving force for many of us that work here,” said Rebecca Sinclair, VP of Brand for Pearson.
“Meeting the global demand for education drives our commercial strategy and our success allows us to invest into improving education for everyone to create a fairer and better world for all of us to live in. We know that we can’t solve the big education challenges alone so we work as part of a global community of teachers, parents, students, governments, institutions and businesses to try to tackle them together."
The Fit For Purpose index is part of a series of purpose tools created by Radley Yeldar, which uses its expertise in branding, employee engagement, investor relations and sustainability to help companies embed their purpose across the board, engaging all key stakeholders from employees to consumers to investors.
“At Radley Yeldar, we believe that brands with true purpose should use their unique position, expertise and capabilities to deliver things that matter to individuals, society and the world,” said Lezama.
Read the full Fit For Purpose Index 2016 here
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”