This month, ONE HUNDRED enters its next exciting stage of development with the formal launch of our European hub in London. Coming just eighteen months after its inception in the United States, this expansion reflects an extraordinary growth in client demand, as well as the resulting impact in the U.S. The demand from the existing client base of not-for-profits for a seamless, multi-disciplinary service to create winning strategies that are capable of powering public profile and funding growth is a reflection of changing needs in the charitable sector. At the same time, ONE HUNDRED is being increasingly approached by business leaders to help them shift their own strategies, activities and communications into a new era of corporate thinking.
ONE HUNDRED is therefore now expanding not just geographically but also across all sectors, providing the same winning approach—a combination of strategy, technology, creativity and communications to empower purposeful change both within organisations and externally. Although ONE HUNDRED has responded and developed quickly, it is interesting to reflect on the shifts in societal expectations around both the companies and charities that have created this demand.
Generally, charities and companies have never been under such levels of scrutiny, directly as a result of specific scandals in both sectors, where the wider level of public trust has been adversely affected. In the UK, charities faced harsh criticism around aggressive fundraising techniques, poor governance and what is sometimes seen as excessive senior pay. Companies have had the same reputational issues but, in addition, other specific case studies (such as VW on their emissions, Bell Pottinger on their South African activities and Wells Fargo’s fraudulent accounts) have raised further issues. These are just three cases that have made the general public and governments expect greater standards of corporate governance and have driven calls for better leadership, transparency and communication.
To match such expectations, organisations and their enlightened leaders have not only embraced but are now actively championing a greater sense of purpose than simply making money. They do, however, require assistance to identify a clear purpose based on a specific contribution to the world, a strategy to integrate such purpose, and the means to communicate it creatively. The focus is to enhance their performance and value in every sense. This is what ONE HUNDRED does so well and is what is shaping this new age.
Our charity clients have benefitted greatly from such support, with an unparalleled result in fundraising terms alone: $2 billion raised annually. In addition, other resulting efficiencies have saved money, whilst the clarity and creative communication activity we have fashioned has built new attention, audiences and enhanced reputations.
In the corporate space, we have seen the appreciation of the long view coming back into play. Indeed, we would argue that ethical corporate purpose is part of an ongoing evolution of thinking going back one hundred years, firstly with corporate philanthropy, then with corporate community investment and most recently with corporate social responsibility and sustainability.
But the sustainability and CSR agenda clearly wasn’t the end of that evolution, not least because it has neither run smoothly nor guaranteed embedded ethical and sustainable behaviour. Scandals such as those mentioned above show that there can be a lack of integrated ethical behaviour in an organisation irrespective of its CSR programmes. So unfortunately, CSR activities were sometimes peripheral to the way in which companies were actually being run, how people were incentivised, and the way decisions were made. This did not create value in the way business investors wanted. On the contrary, examples of such poor behaviour have wiped billions off balance sheets and adversely affected many millions of people.
This realisation has proven a wake-up call and has pushed charitable organisations in this space to reimagine what the purpose of their ‘business’ is about, and it has also forced corporations to look at how ethical purpose can be brought into the centre of their business, rather than rest on the sidelines.
With ONE HUNDRED, we have seen a different agency emerge, for a different age—the Purposeful Age. In this new era, we are excited at the success to date and eager to build such collaboration and long-term commitment to ethical and sustainable growth. Our launch will be the public demonstration of that mission, as well as an illustration of our own commitment to building a better, more prosperous world.
Welcome to The Purposeful Age; come and be welcomed for a conversation with ONE HUNDRED.