Winning With Purpose At SAPPHIRE NOW

Alicia Tillman

We live in a hyperconnected world. Digital platforms have completely changed the way individuals engage with brands, influencers, governments, and each other. For businesses, this means that audience engagement needs to be based on a deeply human connection, rather than the quality of a product or service alone. Brands that are soul-searching – looking at their history, values, and mission to define and promote what drives them – will be the ones that win the war for talent and inspire buyer choice. Businesses built for purpose give audiences something meaningful to connect with and a mission they can support.

Leading a business with purpose isn’t simply a matter of checking a box as a company requirement; it’s the new standard by which brands need to conduct themselves. When it’s truly ingrained into the lifeblood of a company and embraced from the top down, purpose not only creates customers for life, but employees as well. In fact, according to EY, 87 percent of business leaders believe that companies perform best over time if purpose goes beyond profit. Being purpose-driven is a core differentiator, one that resonates with a diverse range of audiences and that is essential to long-term success.

At SAP, our purpose is simple: to improve people’s lives with technology. Through innovation, we empower customers to improve the economy, the environment, and society at large. Our customers are the embodiment of our purpose, as they enact change on a global scale. We are proud to showcase their stories next week at SAPPHIRE NOW.

To lead the competition, brands need to think strategically about how they can tell their purpose story authentically. Earlier this year, when we launched SAP’s new brand narrative, it was the result of a long effort involving our entire 92,000-person organization. Their buy-in was critical. Not only did our purpose need to reflect our mission and history from over the last 46 years, but also the individuals who bring our brand to life. Their input helped shape the narrative, which made it even more representative of the values we hold true as a company. We were confident that it is authentically SAP – anything less would have damaged our brand and hindered our ability to make the type of connections needed to succeed in today’s marketplace. Understand your brand, its motivations, missions, and values. That’s a message that will always resonate with customers and external audiences.

For executives, mentors, and partners, leadership starts with a single goal. Today’s brands succeed when they embody a purpose that customers can connect to – and the same concept applies on the individual scale. Leaders, find your purpose and be its champion. Just as customers connect to a brand’s mission, your teams will connect to your drive.

As both a mother and a leader, my purpose is to support technology’s role in creating a better world for the next generation. What’s yours? Let me know: @aliciatillman.


Alicia Tillman

About Alicia Tillman

Alicia Tillman is the Chief Marketing Officer of SAP, overseeing the creation and acceleration of the company’s marketing strategy and brand recognition across the globe. She is focused on driving the company vision of helping the world run better and improve people’s lives by building marketing programs and thought leadership to promote our exceptional product innovation and purpose driven initiatives. Alicia is an award-winning strategic marketing executive with over 15 years of real-world, hands-on marketing executive leadership and general management in the technology, financial services, and business travel industries with robust business expansion experience.