“Doing well by doing good” has seen renewed prominence as business leaders acknowledge its significance for both their bottom line and social impact. Furthermore, it plays an integral part in recruiting and retaining talent – particularly from younger workers who will form the cornerstone of our economy in years to come.
Branding is a framework comprised of various elements such as brand language, logo and design that helps inspire loyalty and influence behavior. Branding also serves to align employees, suppliers and partners across geographic locations into brand ambassadors that work together for the greater good.
Social impact companies need to effectively communicate their stories to employees and customers alike in order to rally support, generate interest, and develop empathy and emotional connections that support success in social impact initiatives.
Social impact companies must also have an understanding of their business model and know how to balance profit with purpose. Striking this delicate balance may prove tricky when new products or strategic decisions veer away from the company’s mission and values; maintaining a strong brand can help prevent this deviance while keeping things on course; additionally, an evaluation and management system must also be put in place so as to monitor potential mission drift.
Strong brands allow social impact companies to convey their commitment to their mission, values and causes with authenticity, which resonates with consumers who seek brands that reflect their own beliefs.
Integrity is at the core of authenticity. Being true to who one is requires being open and honest with those around us – something that can be achieved through transparent communication, demonstrating accountability, and acknowledging both successes and challenges in equal measure.
Erich Fromm’s mid-20th-century work on authenticity held that even behavior which fully conforms with societal norms could still be considered genuine if it reflected an understanding and approval of one’s motives, rather than simply conforming with what other people expect of you. Such an expansive definition would likely suit cultures more accepting of dialectical thinking while simultaneously offering greater flexibility in practice, since authentic behaviors vary depending on context and relationship.
Transparency is at the heart of healthy work cultures, and companies that take it seriously will set themselves up for success. Studies have demonstrated that when more information about a business, from food recipes and salaries to sourcing practices and environmental impact is made public, more likely will people be to support its operations.
Transparency-minded individuals openly acknowledge their challenges and welcome differing opinions. Furthermore, they clearly explain any changes in behavior or decisions taken that have an effect on them or those around them.
Companies that foster open lines of communication between their employees and customers often experience elevated brand loyalty and sales growth, while communicating internally can increase morale and reduce turnover rates. By making data readily accessible for all to use, companies can respond more rapidly to market shifts while cultivating an environment for thoughtful innovation in the workplace. Our new podcast series with Auburn University’s Master of Real Estate Development program explores this idea by interviewing for-profit private companies whose products or services allow them to unleash their full potential by “Doing Well by Doing Good.”
Brands whose social impact programs are guided by clear, authentic purposes create strong bonds with their communities – helping grow both. Community support helps expand brand growth while brand advancement leads to further progress for society as a whole.
Sharing real stories of change, success, and achievement builds trust and credibility while keeping stakeholders informed, engaged, and empowered to take action.
Companies can leverage their brands to foster a sense of community belonging by offering a space for dialogue and collaboration or professional development opportunities for employees. This can result in long-lasting partnerships with NGOs, other businesses and consumers – ultimately leading to significant contributions made without compromising business viability or financial viability – making an effective contribution while remaining sustainable with long-term impacts.