Did you know that doing good for the world can do good for your bottom line? This is because consumers, especially younger consumers like Millennials and Gen Z, like to do business with socially conscious companies.
Look at the success of companies like Toms. Toms built its brand on its commitment, for every pair of shoes purchased, to donate a pair of shoes to a child in need. Over time, the company has donated more than 60 million shoes to impoverished children around the world. Now its One to One program has expanded to include sight, safe birth, clean water, and more.
The success of Toms shows the motivating power of social responsibility. People can buy shoes anywhere, but by buying from Toms, they feel they have done something good for someone else. Toms has experienced steady growth, in part because they make people feel so good. At one point, Toms was growing at 300% per year.
A survey from Cone Communications found that 87% of Americans will purchase a product because a company “advocated for an issue they cared about.” This is even higher for Millennials. The survey also found that 9 out of 10 Millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause they believe in.
What qualities do Millennials look for in a brand?
- For companies to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Millennials want companies to be actively engaged and making a positive impact.
- For social responsibility to be more than a marketing gimmick. Millennials want to see brands making social responsibility a priority.
- For brands to talk about their efforts. Consumers don’t know what you don’t tell them.
- For companies to involve them—their customers—in these causes, too.
How do you put these principles to work at your company?
- Find a cause you genuinely believe in and commit to it. If possible, make it something that ties into your business or your products in some way. Here at Burlington Press, we do a lot of work with local police, fire stations, and rescue squads, so we have started giving 10% off to all first responder stations. We use the tagline, “To the Heroes Among Us: Thank you!” We deeply appreciate what first responders do for our communities, and we want to make it known.
- Encourage your employees to participate in local community projects. Coordinate a group of employees to plant trees in a local park or pick up trash along the roadside for Earth Day.
- Promote your initiatives. Tell your story in your newsletters and emails. Use social media like Instagram and Pinterest to further tell your story and encourage your customers to share their own. “Pin your most recent community effort!”
- Launch social media contests. “Your purchases just helped us clean up 50 miles of ocean beach! Post a picture of yourself collecting recycling on your favorite beach for a chance to win a $100!”
- Make it easy for your customers to participate. Use donation drives and other incentives to make people feel good, not only about your company, but about themselves.
Who knew that corporate responsibility could be good for the bottom line? Lots of really successful companies, that’s who! Give it a try. Not only will you feel good about yourself, but your customers will feel good about you, too.