When it comes to business, consumers commonly react in a positive way to companies that have a history of social good through giving back to the community. When a customer can see that a company is more than “just business,” it gives the person a reason to believe in the company and develop a stronger relationship with the brand. So how and why should you consider the social impact your business is making?
Giving is Receiving
In addition to developing a positive image for your business through social good, we’ve also seen that giving back often leads to increased business and sales. Consumers are paying more and more attention to a business’ ethics and social consciousness, and they are more likely to remain loyal to or choose a brand that is in line with their own personal beliefs and interests. Here is how a few companies are finding a way to incorporate social good into their business.
1) Dove, for example, went from being a toiletries company to a beauty company with its “Campaign for Real Beauty.” Its focus became not just selling products, but understanding women’s body image concerns and heralding the efforts to promote realistic images of beauty. Women connected with this cause and, in turn, connected with Dove’s products.
2) A grant from Google will help the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) find poachers who hunt protected species in Africa or Asia. By using Google’s sophisticated aerial maps, survey systems, and technology, the WWF will have better ways to track and find the individuals carrying out these illegal activates.
3) Threadless gives artists and designers the opportunity to design and sell T-shirts through their online marketplace. Their Threadless causes program allows designers to submit designs created for specific causes. Viewers vote on a winning design, and 25 percent of the sale of the T-shirt is donated to that charity.
At ZIVELO, we created a foundation that allows us to “give” for a business, helping them to feel that their investment is going one step further. The kiosks we sell are vehicles for continuing philanthropy, and this is one of our core goals.
At the end of the day, the bottom line is the satisfaction in knowing that your product and services are helping others. This applies to both the person’s business and the causes they support. As business leaders, knowing that every employee in the company and every product have worked together to make the world a better place makes it all worth it.
Where’s Your Good?
If you are considering building out a social good aspect of your company, there are two things to consider:
- Make sure the program is in line with your current business model. Consumers will think this is a ploy if the social campaign doesn’t fit with your current industry or other business practices.
- Educate your staff and consumers on the cause you are supporting. Don’t just slap on a logo to show you donate to a cause; make the cause part of the benefit of doing business with your company.
If your company can’t commit to a yearlong partnership with a charity, there are other ways to support social and environmental issues at specific points during the year. Consider:
- Providing a microloan to businesses/individuals in developing countries.
- Reaching out to geographic areas in times of natural catastrophes.
- Using the power of your business network to help a local family during a tough time.
Start small. Build a dream for your business and find causes to fulfill that dream. My dream is that one day (in the not so distant future) I will have a group of volunteers who can provide relief efforts within the 24- to 48-hour chaos period of a natural disaster. Having a dream to strive for makes getting there as easy as connecting the dots. As cliché as it sounds, if we all made at least a small effort, the world would be a much better place.
Ziver Birg, also known as ‘”Mr. Kiosk,” according to Inc. Magazine, is a self-taught serial entrepreneur who has dedicated 12+ years to founding companies within the self-service technology industry. Ziver is well-known as the founder and CEO of ZIVELO™, the industry-leading kiosk and digital signage brand. He is also an active member of the Young Entrepreneurs Council, a NPO dedicated to entrepreneurship education and mentorship, and he’s a partner of GenY Venture Partners, an early-stage investment firm that focuses on tech startup incubation. Ziver was recognized at the White House as an Empact100 honoree in 2011 and 2012, adding his name to their list of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 30 two years in a row. In 2012, he was also inducted to Inc. Magazine’s “30 Under 30 List” of top young entrepreneurs and recognized by Forbes as a “Top Ten Job-Creating Young Entrepreneur.” Follow Ziver on Twitter @ZiverBirg.
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Category: Startup Advice