Gordon Gekko, take a hike.
Blake Mycoskie is here.
Blake Mycoskie, the creator of TOM’S, just won the LionsHeart Award at Cannes for his brand…but he’s done much more than that. As Terry Savage, chairman of Lions Festivals, offers: "Blake's unstoppable passion and commitment has driven him to create a brand model that has made a positive impact on millions of people's lives across the world.”
What’s more, TOM’S is exceedingly profitable. His one-for-one concept—every pair of shoes sold gets an underprivileged person one pair for free—makes it easy for the consumer to understand the direct impact of their purchase. In turn, they become brand evangelists for TOM’S. That’s a marketing strategy that can’t be beat. Word of mouth beats word of mouse, any day! When your consumers believe in your brand, they will tell their friends, and your brand will grow leaps and bounds.
The book Conscious Capitalism, written by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia, outlines how businesses with a conscience can lead the way in today’s economy. TOM’S is proof. TOM’S is a model.
In fact, we are seeing a new paradigm emerging that is re-shaping conventional thinking. This new paradigm is evidenced by the slew of companies dedicated to doing good things for the world while doing good business for themselves. The two are not mutually exclusive. The proof is in the goodness.
For instance, Starbucks talks about sustainability in all their communications, but they back it up by using recycled paper products. They do this to become a company with a conscience. It’s in the DNA of their brand. Not only do they provide a good product and a friendly atmosphere, but they also put their money where their mouth is by becoming citizens of a sustainable planet. That motivates people to join their brand. Doing good draws people in. We all like to be around good people. Same goes for brands.
One of the byproducts of doing good while doing good business is that other companies want to join in your conscious acts of kindness. First of all, they can align themselves with your good cause, which is beneficial for their brand story. Networks offering financial value can also be made, to each company’s fiscal benefit.
Good attracts good.
What’s better than that?
Recently, I was asked to help a start-up technology company develop their brand story. The first thing I discussed with their brilliant founders was their interest in helping homeless people get clothes to wear. I knew instantly we were on to something special, and we are now working on rolling out a brand platform to help attract prospects for their service and to clothe needy people who can’t afford to buy clothes.
Of course, their business offering has to be relevant to what they want to provide as good corporate citizens (like the way TOM’S sells shoes and gives shoes). This start-up has created an app-based service to bring people who want to get their laundry done easily and quickly together with local laundromats. Through a smartphone, people can now have their laundry picked up, returned, and paid for in a couple of clicks, saving the user the pain of trudging to the laundromat twice and the unproductive time it takes from their busy day. This concept also provides local laundromats the opportunity to expand their reach to new customers.
This company wants to do more. They want to contribute some loving kindness to the world. By doing so, they will have a richer brand story to tell.
Yes, the worm has turned. The days of lavish Gordon Gekko-ish unbridled greed has now given way to companies whose very business models are based on the concept of shared value!
Is greed ever a sustainable concept?
Today, many brands have decided to persuade through the concept of giving back, contributing, sustaining, or any number of ways of doing good for the citizens of our planet. Consumers are responding by buying their products and services.
In a time when terror is on the tip of everyone’s tongue and divisiveness is rampant in our political discourse, it’s nice to know there are businesses that will contribute positively to the world while also accomplishing their business goals.
But there’s even more to like about practicing consumerism with a conscience.
I, for one, take more pride in my work knowing it’s doing some good for the world. I am sure there are many others who feel the same way.
In effect, companies practicing “conscious consumerism” will attract the cream of the crop, the talented people who can pick and choose to work for any company they want. They will fill their ranks with more talented employees who will also advocate for the brand and bring an unbridled passion for success. A business that does good and is made up of good people is now a delicious recipe for a very good bottom line.
Steve Biegel develops transformative ideas through persuasive communications programs to help change consumer behavior, and has done so throughout his career. Steve is a battle-tested thinker with a broad perspective on the industry who can infuse others with creative energy while applying it to the details of the craft. Steve helped hatch some of the most effective campaigns for brands of all sizes and shapes. His ambidextrous approach to creative problem solving through digital, social, and traditional mediums is built on provocative ideation that surprises, informs, and rewards audiences. Steve is co-founder and Creative Director at Scarlet Heifer, a NYC digital communications boutique. Contact him here.