Apr 27, 2018

What We Can Learn from Socially Conscious Companies

Your company’s charitable causes may be even more effective at capturing customers than your products are. 

73% of millennials say they’re willing to spend more money on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand and 81% of millennials expect their favorite companies to make public declarations of corporate citizenship.

If you’re inclined to think this approach to social issues is unique to millennial whipper-snappers, research shows these feelings are fairly ubiquitous. Indeed, 84% of consumers around the world say they choose a socially responsible product when it’s available. And of those responders, 81% say the main reason they don’t purchase such products is simply because they’re not always available.

All this seems to suggest that brands like Patagonia, Cotopaxi, and Warby Parker have a solid strategy when it comes to their bold efforts in promoting social causes. After all, you can’t visit Patagonia’s website without seeing multiple calls to action for outdoor issues. And every Cotopaxi purchase helps fund international grants, while Warby Parker purchases directly result in a pair of eyeglasses being donated to someone in need.

According to Forbes, modern consumers “want the companies they buy from to practice business sustainably and ethically.” And there are four qualities that help magnify and quantify a company’s commitment to social responsibility:

First, consumers are looking for companies that are invested in improving society. Better yet, they want companies that are providing concrete solutions to social problems.

Second, they’re looking for companies that consider it a top priority to make a positive impact on the world.

Third, these companies should be transparent about their efforts. It’s most effective when companies make their initiatives public knowledge.

Fourth, it’s important for companies to involve their customers in all this do-gooding. And that’s the great thing – modern consumers actually want to put skin in the game. They’re often willing to give their time and money to worthy causes.

If you can incorporate these principles into your business operations, you’re halfway there. The final – and perhaps most crucial – step is sharing your impact in an authentic and compelling way. Don’t be afraid of highlighting your good deeds, as long as you keep the main focus on the issues your work is addressing.

In this way, storytelling becomes the critical element that can help your efforts truly take flight. Companies like Patagonia, Cotopaxi, and Warby Parker have dialed in their methods, allowing their actions to drive the narrative. In response, they’re attracting customers who are just as, or even more, keenly interested in their works than their products.

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About the author

Grant Olsen
Grant Olsen is a writer specializing in small business loans, leadership skills, and growth strategies. He is a contributing writer for KSL 5 TV, where his articles have generated more than 6 million page views, and has been featured on FitSmallBusiness.com and ModernHealthcare.com. Grant is also the author of the book "Rhino Trouble." He has a B.A. in English from Brigham Young University.

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