At Sparxoo, we believe that companies who give back to communities and causes will enhance their brand value and deepen customer relationships. We’ve covered recent trends in social entrepreneurship and shared a guide to social cause, highlighting benefits of a social mission such as free advertising and customer retention. Need more reasons? Here are the top 10 reasons to integrate a social mission into your company:
1. Build Trust and Respect as an Ethical Company
Walk into an Elevation Burger and you’ll notice it isn’t your typical burger joint. Posters line the walls touting its mission to locally sourced ingredients as much as possible. Their social mission makes Elevation Burger more than just a burger place, it is a place to support environmental sustainability. Therein, lies a relationship and trust.
2. Differentiate Your Product / Brand
Zappos.com has over 6,800 sneakers and an equivalent number of shoes. That’s a lot of shoes to navigate. For the shoe brand Simple, it has differentiated itself from its hundreds of peers by incorporating a social mission into the company. Simple offers vegan, recyclable shoes, meaning nothing is made from animal product or harmful to the environment.
3. Buzz Up Your Public Relations
Instead of spending $20 million on its usual Super Bowl ad campaign, Pepsi Co. invested those dollars in its Refresh Project — a campaign to fund emerging, innovative entrepreneurs. Pepsi, a staple of the Super Bowl, not participating was buzzworthy in and of itself, but funding under-capitalized entrepreneurs made the campaign even more viral. In fact, Pepsi has over 800,000 Facebook followers, www.refresheverything.com (the official Pepsi Refresh site) received nearly 1 million visits in its peak in March 2010 and there are over 1,200 entrepreneurial ideas to fund for August.
4. Attract Partners
TOMS Shoes has a one-for-one mission that has drawn much fanfare not only from hipsters, but from other companies such as AT&T and the ad agency, BBDO Worldwide. Its socially responsible mission has become an advertisement in and of itself. In fact, TOMS partners have helped fund much of TOMS’ advertising to date, including this commercial:
5. Drive Customer Preference
CVS Caremark is the product of CVS’s commitment to affordable healthcare and subsequently became one of the nation’s largest pharmacy chains. The company now operates over 6,000 stores in almost all states — filling more than 1 out of 7 prescriptions in the US. CVS’s dedication to creating affordable healthcare drove customer preference and became an important revenue source for the company.
6. Drive WOM Recommendations
Social media is like the office water cooler on crack — viral stories are shared by millions of people within hours. Companies such as Target, therefore, can generate quite a buzz on social networks. Its Bulls Eye Donation Facebook campaign, which enabled users to allocate $3 million in company donations across 10 organizations, drew much attention from the web community and now has over 1.3 million Facebook fans.
7. Rally Team Passion
Among its many socially conscious tools, such as the BP oil spill tracker, Haiti fund, and free education apps, Google China launched Caring for China. The program solicits and funds emerging Chinese entrepreneurs. The selection process aligns the Google team with the company’s overall dedication to social responsibility.
8. Impact Your Community
Molson offset public transportation cutbacks for New Year’s Eve by providing funding for free transit. The beer company solicited its market peers for funding. Molson effectively engaged and engendered good will not only with consumers but also its market peers.
9. Access New Capital Sources
“Many socially responsible investors are under the impression that there needs to be a tradeoff between social impact and financial returns. We believe it’s possible to have both and tradeoff is not always necessary,” said Josh Cohen, managing partner at the VC firm City Light Capital. City Light Capital focuses on early stage, social mission-driven companies with promising financial returns. Their foremost objective is investing with impact. The eco-venture has secured two exits and has interests in an array of social enterprises, from media to education to robotics and surveillance.
10. Leave a Legacy
Why do millionaires build children’s hospitals or university buildings? The Galisano Children’s Hospital leaves a legacy for Pay Chex CEO, Tom Galisano. The same altruistic gestures work for companies. Tide’s Loads of Hope campaign provides laundry machines for individuals affected by natural disasters. It is a basic necessity that many of us take for granted, but ask anyone that used Tide’s portable laundry machines and they will tell you the lasting impact Tide had on them.
Image by Ivan Prole from Stock.Xchng