Winning Hearts and Minds in Financial Services: The Imperatives to Amplifying Purpose

Purpose isn’t a mere sales tactic; it’s how you forge deep trust with your organization’s stakeholders. 

In a world where trust in financial institutions is being shaken up and consumers have more options than ever, organizations must tap into their purpose to assure they can be counted on for more than high-quality products and services.  

As Prophet’s Vice Chairman David Aaker states in his latest book, “The new purpose-driven revolution is leading firms beyond a focus on growing sales, profits, and shareholder return to having a business purpose that does more.” This shift should come as no surprise given what we know about purpose’s powerful influence on business outcomes: Purpose-driven companies witness higher market share gains and grow three times faster on average than their competitors, all while achieving higher workforce and customer satisfaction.  

Research shows that purpose-related drivers rise to the top in motivating consumer choice – especially in financial services. Prophet’s 2023 Relentlessly Relevant Brands report found that consumers are shifting to brands that spark an emotional connection—reaching beyond functional needs. And we’re not the only ones tracking this trend: IBM and the National Retail Federation found that, for the first time, more consumers are driven by purpose than by value. 

But simply having a purpose does not move the needle. To effectively build trust and harness the power of purpose, organizations must amplify their purpose. It must be fully integrated into the business, showing up in key moments and being championed authentically by employees—otherwise, it’s just lip service that leaves consumers doubting that the organization truly delivers on its promises.  

In our research, we found there are four key imperatives financial services organizations must work toward to effectively amplify and deliver on their purpose: 

1. Have a clear and inspiring purpose. 

Taking the first step means clearly defining your organization’s purpose. It should be both authentic while also being aspirational, meaningful, and engaging for all relevant stakeholders (e.g., consumers, investors, and employees). Your organization’s purpose should be clear enough that it can be used as a locus for decision-making. Once it’s clearly defined, time and resources must be invested to socialize it internally. Employees should be able to not only understand your organization’s purpose, but easily reference and use it in their daily work.  

What this looks like: 

Edward Jones recently made a significant investment in defining their purpose, working to create an authentic, clear, and compelling North star for their organization. Beyond just crafting an inspiring purpose statement, they Identified clear purpose impact areas to focus their work. 

Edward Jones’ purpose is to “partner for positive impact by improving the lives of their clients and colleagues and bettering their communities and society.” They achieve this by focusing on three key areas: partnering for lasting financial strength, promoting healthier futures, and advancing inclusive growth.  

Questions you might ask about your organization’s purpose: 

  • Is it clearly defined? 
  • Is it relevant to key stakeholders? 
  • Is it clear enough to guide decision making? 
  • Do employees know it and understand how their role contributes to delivering against it? 

2. Own your purpose. 

Don’t outsource purpose through philanthropy. Instead, embed it across the organization and ways of working. Leaders at all levels should be taking actionable steps to integrate your organization’s purpose into everyday operations, making it easy for employees to action against it in their daily lives. Purpose should be inherent to each project and every team, not a siloed effort or initiative.  

What this looks like: 

FinTech Current’s purpose is to “create better financial outcomes for more people.” They don’t just talk about it—they deliver on it through their product. Believing that legacy banks constrain consumers, Current moves consumers forward by helping them make the most of what they have, specifically by removing all fees (minimum fees, overdraft fees, transfer fees, ATM fees, etc.), expediting direct deposits and simplifying saving through Savings Pods and Round-Ups. 

Questions you might ask about your organization’s purpose: 

  • Is it being outsourced (e.g., focused on delivery through philanthropic donations alone)? 
  • How is it being actioned against in day-to-day operations?
  • Are there metrics in place to measure progress as it relates to delivering on purpose?  

3. Build the capabilities to deliver on your purpose. 

Purpose must be engrained into your organization’s operating model, guiding each change and transformation. The operating model should be organized to hold leaders and teams accountable for delivering on purpose through incentives and business structures. Additionally, employees should be equipped with the right tools and skillsets to effectively live out the organization’s purpose.  

What this looks like: 

Mastercard’s purpose is “connecting everyone to priceless possibilities.” To help employees deliver on their purpose, Mastercard created a new compensation model that ties bonus calculations to the organization’s performance on purpose across three key areas: carbon neutrality, financial inclusion, and gender pay parity.   

Questions you might ask about your organization’s purpose: 

  • Are employees adequately incentivized to deliver on it? 
  • What tools and skills are needed to equip employees to deliver on it?  
  • Is it a central consideration in business decisions? 

4. Ensure that your purpose shows up in key moments. 

After establishing purpose as a foundational component to how your organization operates, it’s time for stakeholders to feel its impact. Employees, consumers, and investors should be able to experience your organization’s purpose firsthand—whether through communications, experiences or other touchpoints. When purpose shows up in key moments, internal and external stakeholders are inspired to join in, contribute and learn more.  

What this looks like: 

USAA’s purpose is to “empower members to achieve financial security through highly competitive products, exceptional service and trusted advice,” and “be the #1 choice for the military community and their families.” One way they bring this to life is through their annual Poppy Wall of Honor and other Memorial Day-related installations. Aligning closely with their purpose, USAA uses their Poppy Wall of Honor to help raise awareness of the true meaning of Memorial Day and provide visitors of the National Mall an opportunity to remember the service members who have died in service to our nation since World War I. Throughout the year, USAA’s Memorial Day microsite allows users to remember heroes, visit the virtual Poppy Wall and honor heroes through action.  

Questions you might ask yourself: 

  • How is it being activated with both internal and external stakeholders? 
  • How does it show up in the moments that matter for employees, investors and consumers? 


Simply put, financial services organizations must do more than just have a purpose to build trust with consumers. Recent shakeups across the Industry elevate the need for companies to put their purpose into action, amplifying it across all levels of the organization and creating a shared experience for all stakeholders alike.  

Contact us to learn more about how to develop and put an authenticate purpose Into action for your organization. organization’s purpose to life and put it into action.