Why Prioritizing Social Impact Is Smart Business For Brands And Companies

By Krista Treide, Chief Branding Officer, Kwippit

With the resistance in full swing in 2018, politicians, change-makers, and even major brands are starting to realize that it’s time to step up and do their part to protect our American values and better serve our communities. Women in particular are leading the charge on changing our culture, calling for accountability, and creating tangible solutions to ensure a better future for everyday Americans. Most recently, with the Women’s March and #TimesUp movement, we’ve seen women flocking to the streets and social media demanding action from policy-makers, from community leaders, and from corporations.

Over the years, I’ve watched the slow and steady uptick trend of corporations quietly embracing social impact initiatives and building corporate citizenship missions. For years, businesses would say that they stood for something, but it always felt like they weren’t doing anything – or at least not doing enough – to make a real difference. Finally, though, the tide is changing – impact is not just an employee volunteer day once a year, it’s now about establishing a social mission that aligns with the company’s values and those of their consumers, and holds everyone accountable to higher standards.

Why is this happening? Because companies have decided that it’s the right thing to do? Call me cynical, but it’s because prioritizing social impact is actually an incredibly smart business ethic for brands and consumer allegiance has aggressively shifted to align with social good brands.

Consumers Favor Brands Driven by Social Impact

It’s no longer enough for businesses to take a stance and talk about getting involved, consumers expect and demand their brands to make a tangible impact. According to Nielsen’s 2015 Global Corporate Sustainability Report, 81% of millennials expect their favorite companies to make public declarations of their corporate citizenship, and additionally 65% of consumers are actually willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand.

Corporations have taken notice and are not only changing practices and creating comprehensive corporate social responsibility programs – they’re placing an emphasis on transparency because they want you, the consumer, to know that they’re putting their money where their mouth is. In addition to using their highly sought after (and expensive!) Super Bowl advertising spots to share their impact work, companies like Coca-Cola, Budweiser, and Tide even display their social impact initiatives proudly on the homepage of their websites, simply because they know that will affect your decision in purchasing their products.

Ethical Brands Are Successful and Growing

In a time in which retail sales are plummeting, ethical brands like Patagonia, Everlane, and Warby Parker are actually growing. Warby Parker is valued at $1 billion and Everlane’s sales grew 200% between 2013 and 2015 to $35 million.

When Unilever purchased Ben & Jerry’s, they knew that a huge part of the brand’s secret sauce and major sales had to do with its social impact work. Not only did they keep Ben & Jerry’s impact model that donates 7.5% of pre-tax profits to social causes, they even let Ben & Jerry’s build out its own impact board to continue and expand their work. Not just because it was the right thing to do, and not just because they knew that it was a core value of the business, but because they knew that it would continue to mean big time money for the brand.

It’s The Future of Business and Our Workforce

A recently released World Economic Forum survey found that 65% of millennials said one of their  three goals in selecting a job was to make a difference in society, their city, or country. Given that by 2020, millennials will make up 50% of the American labor force, that’s a massive amount of our workforce that specifically want to work for a company that’s making an impact. In order to attract and retain a skilled and qualified employees, companies must prioritize their social impact work.

How Can I Play a Role?

As consumers, we play a big part in ensuring that companies continue to invest in and grow their social impact programs. Here’s how we can take on that responsibility in a few small steps:

  1. Make smarter purchasing decisions: Look into the brands that you’re purchasing from – Do they have a social impact mission or commitment? Do they produce their products in ethical factories? Do they use sustainable materials? If not, start to look into some of the amazing brands that tick all of those boxes and spend your money there.
  2. Hold companies accountable: Tweet at irresponsible brands and demand change, sign local petitions, and make your voice heard. Brands live or die by their reputations – taking action could really catalyze their change.
  3. Explore working for a company prioritizing social impact: There are many amazing job websites geared directly towards helping you find a fulfilling social impact job. Check out Idealist, B-Corporation, NetImpact, and On-Ramps.
  4. Put your money to good use without breaking the bank: Technological advances and innovations have made it easier than ever for consumers to give back, and the best part is, they can do it straight from their smartphone. At Kwippit, we’ve created a new mobile messaging app and platform that allows you to support some of your favorite philanthropic causes – including Susan G Komen, Elton John AIDS Foundation, USC MISC and more – for less than $1.99/annually. Plus, you get cute personalizable stickers and GIFS relative to the cause, so you can continue doing your part by spreading the word about the nonprofit’s important efforts.

It’s truly on us to hold corporations accountable and call for even more of a prioritization on corporate social impact. We all have a responsibility to make this world a better place, and while companies certainly have the power to make an impact and should be doing so, as individuals we have the ultimate power to speak up and out by using our wallets in order to ensure that prioritizing corporate social impact is not just a trend, it’s a standard.

 

 

 

Krista Treide is the Chief Brand Officer of Kwippit, an innovative mobile messaging technology that empowers users to create positive social change through micro-donations. Armed with decades of brand experience and leadership, Krista is revolutionizing the world of tech-for-good to make it more accessible and effective. Krista is passionate about philanthrocapitalism and deeply believes in the power of impact enterprise. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

One Comment

  1. Abhishikta says:

    Great article, Very well written!

Leave a Reply