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Purpose-driven corporate communication: A content analysis of Fortune 100 companies
Purpose is a company’s reason for being — the why behind its existence and the impact it makes on local and global society. This paper explores whether and how Fortune companies incorporate purpose messaging in their corporate communication. The study draws on content produced by these companies over a six-year period and distributed via their corporate communication channels to such stakeholders as customers, employees, investors and media. Content analysis indicates that the volume of purpose communication produced by Fortune companies has increased over the years, most notably when it comes to Glassdoor overviews. The findings indicate that companies in the healthcare and pharmaceutical, technology and retail/wholesale industries are the obvious leaders in purpose communication. By highlighting the organisational benefits of purpose communication, this study provides a wakeup call for those companies that are lagging when it comes to creating and acting on corporate purpose.
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Alexis Bajalia Fitzsimmons is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Public Relations at the University of Florida. Her research interests include public relations measurement and evaluation, corporate purpose and health communication. Alexis was the recipient of the 2019 International Public Relations Research Conference Top Student Paper Award and the 2019 Grunig PRIME Research Fellowship. Her thesis was listed as one of the Institute for Public Relations’ Top 15 Public Relations Insights of 2020 and is published in Public Relations Journal. She earned her BS in public relations and MA in mass communication from the University of Florida.
Yufan Sunny Qin is a doctoral student in the Department of Public Relations at University of Florida. Her research area focuses on corporate communication, relationship management and leadership communication.
Eve R. Heffron is a doctoral student in the Department of Public Relations at the University of Florida. Her research interests include stakeholder communication, relationship management, corporate social advocacy and corporate purpose communication. She received the University of Central Florida Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award in 2019 and has been a graduate instructor since 2018. Eve received her BA in international and global studies and her MA in communication from the University of Central Florida, where she also received a certificate in corporate communication and a certificate in intelligence and national security.
Marcia W. Distaso is a Professor and Chair of the Public Relations Department at the University of Florida. She was the recipient of the 2020 PRNEWS Top Women in PR Award and the 2019 PRNEWS PR Educator of the Year Award, and a member of the Measurement Hall of Fame. She has won a Silver Anvil Award of Excellence and other marcom awards with her students. Her research currently focuses on purpose.
CitationFitzsimmons, Alexis Bajalia, Qin, Yufan Sunny, Heffron, Eve R. and Distaso, Marcia W. (2022, March 1). Purpose-driven corporate communication: A content analysis of Fortune 100 companies. In the Journal of Cultural Marketing Strategy, Volume 6, Issue 2.