The topic of purpose has taken root in the DAX: Roughly 80 percent of the DAX 30 companies have now published a purpose statement. Often, their first response is to embellish their websites in large letters. Sometimes the companies also stage their statements in publicity campaigns. But how well are those statements perceived by the public? This extension of the Globeone Purpose Readiness Study provides detailed insights about the DAX 30 purpose statements.
The analysis of the DAX 30 purpose statements shows: In particular, the statements of Covestro, Fresenius Medical Care, Adidas, Merck and Bayer are met with broad public approval. The purpose formulations of a total of eight DAX companies, on the other hand, fail to make an impact on the German public. These companies are therefore not exploiting the full potential of their purpose statements.
For the representative study more than 3,000 German consumers between age 18 and 65 were surveyed via an independent research institute on how well they perceive the purpose statements of the DAX 30 companies. The detailed purpose evaluation of the 22 statements published at the time of the survey was conducted based on five criteria. “We wanted to find out, for example, how memorable, credible, and clearly formulated the respondents thought the statements were. And whether a statement, from their perspective, understandably answers the question of why a company exists,” explains Dr. Niklas Schaffmeister, Managing Partner of Globeone. “Additionally, the participants in the survey indicated to what extent a statement has personal relevance for them.”
Covestro, Fresenius Medical Care and Adidas with The Best Purpose Statements
Undeniably in first place is Covestro with the purpose statement “To make the world a brighter place”. 75 percent of Germans consider the materials manufacturer’s wording to be successful. “With its purpose, the company underlines its efforts to advance the circular economy and make plastics more sustainable,” says Schaffmeister. In second place in the best purpose statements is the healthcare group Fresenius Medical Care with 70 percent approval for: “Creating a future worth living. For patients. Worldwide. Every day.” Third place goes to the sports good’s manufacturer Adidas with 66 percent liking the Herzogenaurach-based company’s formulation: “Through sport, we have the power to change lives.”
In general, it can be observed that the purpose formulation for companies is often a delicate balance between uninspired objectivity and excessive sentimentality. “However, in times when activists are taking companies’ purposes to court, it is crucial to strike the right tone,” says Simon Aschermann, Manager at Globeone. “Externally, the purpose statement provides an excellent opportunity to build reputation and brand equity with all relevant stakeholders.” The research furthermore reveals that as much as 48 percent of a company’s positive reputation can be attributed to its purpose credibility.
Purpose Readiness Study 2021
Almost three quarters (72 percent) of the 96 companies surveyed across all sectors, including DAX 30 companies, scored good or very good in this year’s Globeone Purpose Readiness Index. These companies thus have a good reputation basis for successfully communicating topics such as sustainability and future viability to employees, consumers, and the critical public. “However, formulating a purpose statement that is not only understood but also positively evaluated by the general public is not a trivial matter, as our survey on the statements of the DAX 30 companies clearly shows,” says Managing Partner Schaffmeister. “Valuable conclusions can be drawn from the assessments of the general public as to what constitutes a successful and positively perceived statement and in which areas companies can score points through concrete initiatives.”
DAX 30 companies can request the full details of their purpose statement here.