Business India ×
 Climate Change

Start ups
Published on: June 26, 2020, 2:20 p.m.
Business with a purpose
  • Brainstorming on a new idea

By Business India Editorial

Businesses that are complex, driven by collaboration or powered by innovation need a strong bedrock of communications. Communications play a fundamental role in educating, informing, mobilising and connecting. This is especially the case in the climate and cleantech ecosystem, where organisations often address challenges that overlap with multiple sectors, industries and stakeholders, and work across business models.

Despite this clear need, many innovative and impactful climate businesses do not understand the criticality, or have the capabilities to create and execute on a robust communications strategy.

In comes ON PURPOSE, a creative communications consultancy focused solely on driving social change in India. Founded in 2017 by Girish Balachandran, ON PURPOSE considers communications as critical a part of the business tool-kit as the finance or marketing functions. It aims to facilitate a number of key business functions like opening doors, generating leads, cutting acquisition costs, aligning with partners, recruiting new talent, displaying expertise, building consumer trust, connecting with funders, and ultimately creating a market.

“India is drowning in a sea of undifferentiated start-ups. What India needs and what clients are willing to buy is - differentiated expertise. Not personality, not price, but expertise that allows them to do things differently, achieve a different level of scale and improves the lives of people around us,” says Girish Balachandran, the company's founder.

ON PURPOSE’s diverse team of PR professionals, ex-teachers, lawyers, journalists and development sector experts partner with clients to set and achieve communications goals. There is an emphasis on mapping shifts in attitude, behavior and action, a fundamental part of behavior economic principles. Since inception, the company has overseen communication campaigns in four key areas: climate action, public health, education and social welfare with an emphasis on gender equality.

Some of the issues they have worked on include – addressing childhood obesity in India, under-five vulnerability in Bihar, creating a more holistic approach to cancer care, championing entrepreneurs and innovators in climate action, promoting renewable energy as a lifestyle choice, sustainability, addressing gender discrimination and gender based violence, and making employers more attractive by showing their diversity and inclusion in practice.

ON PURPOSE works with clients across the business and development ecosystem - e.g. USAID, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiatives, World Wildlife Fund, Asian Development Bank and Central Square Foundation; India’s top 10 unicorn firms – Ola and ReNew Power; and established businesses like Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages and KPMG.

This includes delivering an integrated communications strategy to promote renewable energy as a lifestyle choice across seven states in India for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, through USAID. It has created a counter-narrative on rural electricity access by putting the customer at the heart of it, for Smart Power India, a Rockefeller Foundation subsidiary. And supported the launch of an Urban Mobility Lab with Rocky Mountain Institute and Micelio, to help develop a roadmap for clean energy transition in Karnataka.

ON PURPOSE is now in the process of ramping up execution capabilities to meet high volume demand. As they grow, Balachandran says his aim is to build an institution that displays extraordinary emphasis on robust research, analytics and visual communications capabilities, coupled with the ability to apply behavioural economics principles in practice.


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