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As a company leader, I try to have a positive impact on my community whenever possible. Whether youth programs, gender equality, career coaching or the fight against violence – we (Complete SET Agency) create events on the subject of education and donate part of the income for social change. Cause models like this, whether at the grassroots or multinational, are becoming more and more important for large and small companies in order to have their operational core. Making sure your business is having a positive impact is a necessary competitive advantage. A 2018 poll by Conecomm found that 78 percent of Americans expect companies to go beyond profits and also have a positive impact on society. Social impact is a broad term that refers to the positive changes companies have in their community. A company's emphasis on corporate social responsibility (CSR) level can be an integral part of how attractive your company is to customers, employees, suppliers, and investors.
Related: Why Philanthropy Is Good Business
I spoke to Harrie Bakst, co-founder of WCPG, a leading company that specializes in cause marketing and loyalty with teams, leagues, athletes, celebrities and brands. "As we move forward in a new world, marketing and corporate social responsibility for brands have moved from an add-on to a must-have as part of customer engagement," says Bakst. "If you are a leader today, you have reevaluated and expanded your messaging and connections to all forms of community engagement as this is now one of the first things people look and ask for."
Given the many benefits that come from its social impact, it's important for entrepreneurs to be aware of some of the leading socially conscious companies. Here is a list of the companies that excel at marketing and social change. This is a cross-section of different industries and company sizes, and each company included has a CSR focus that entrepreneurs can learn from.
VKTRY insoles don't seem like the sexiest of products, but their exclusively designed carbon insoles have helped reduce injuries and improve the performance of over 300 NFL players and countless Olympic and MLB stars like Fernando Tatis Jr. over the past few years. and to improve Vlad Guerreo Jr. However, your biggest impact may be being on your feet all day. First responders, government officials, and healthcare workers. That's why the Connecticut-based company launched VKTRY4Heroes in March. With the help of the rising star of Cleveland Browns bringing back Nick Chubb, the company is providing health care workers from across the country with thousands of pairs of the expensive but effective shoe insoles free of charge to help keep frontline workers healthy and focused.
The KissCam brand is recognized in sports facilities around the world. KissCam, LLC acquired the brand and developed a patented mobile app for fans to partake of the excitement of being featured on arena screens. With the sports venues empty this season, KissCam provides teams and leagues with an excellent means of enhancing the fan experience without players ever having to leave their coach in the living room. The company has committed to a donation structure for its collision streams. KissCam ensures that games are fun and passionate for fans, but with their donations it can also bring about a lasting positive change in the community.
Playmaker is a hybrid media, goods and music company. They have a clothing line dedicated to social causes, including basketballs with names of victims of police brutality printed on them. Playmaker was able to use its global commitment (with tens of millions of dollars in social media followers) to donate a location-wide percentage of net sales to funds like Feeding America, Covid-19 Relief and others. "The reality in our industry is that the people we celebrate and inspire the most are the same people who are currently marginalized and in need of support," said Playmaker Founder and President Brandon Harris. "It is unacceptable and also predatory for brands in sports not to make social change an important initiative."
The fitness drinks company has put together a product drop giveback initiative across the country in fire stations and hospitals for those on the front lines. Celsius has shipped over 7,000 boxes of their product to hospitals across the country. The company also offers first responders / health care workers a case of their energy drinks if they use a picture of their work ID on the Celsius Instagram page. This is a creative way to build positive awareness and association about your brand.
Related: 4 Strategies for Building a Stronger Brand Through Philanthropy
Founded in 2012, Flatiron Health is a healthcare technology company that strives to improve life by learning from the experiences of every cancer patient. The founders of Flatiron Health realized that cancer data has long been unstructured and difficult to use. Flatiron Health was founded to address this problem by organizing and standardizing data from cancer patients.
Currently, they have organized more than two million patient records that can be used for research purposes. They work with more than 280 oncology practices in the community, as well as the FDA and NCI, and serve as key facilitators in cancer research and improving patient experiences. Flatiron Health recognizes and addresses a relatively simple but important problem and provides an important model for innovation that can lead to a successful and impactful business.
For the past three seasons, Fox Sports' monthly television show "Power of Sports" has been traveling to cities across the United States every month to showcase how teams, athletes and organizations use sport to make a positive impact in their communities. I worked as the producer on the show that was renamed Good Sports in June 2020. The show began in September with the fourth season and has now been expanded to include all regional sports networks under the umbrella of the Sinclair Broadcast Group. With more than 120 broadcasts a month, "Good Sports" highlights the ability of sport to create positive change. "There are dozens of great stories in every city about how people use exercise to teach, inspire, and raise underserved youth," says show host Rick Horrow. "Our goal from the start has been to inspire others to use the inherent power of sport as a public relations method." Good Sports also has a robust digital presence and attracts more than two million views on its YouTube channel, which greatly expands its message for social change.
Ready Nutrition founder Pat Cavanaugh built his business on a healthy lifestyle and social responsibility. The Pittsburgh-based company, with over $ 100 million in revenue in the highly competitive beverage and energy businesses, won two elite investors last year (two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald of the LA Rams and NBA MVP Giannis) Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee Bucks) and immediately set out to find ways to give first aiders products that would help fight Covid-19 and children struggling with distance learning and isolation. Ready Nutrition targeted the two stars in need of their help and shipped thousands of their protein drinks to the hardest hit hospitals in places like Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Milwaukee and New York. They also shipped thousands of bottles to first responders fighting the California wildfires and implemented a program that ties their bottles to tell positive stories about racial relationships through their partnership with the AAU and the Black Lives Matter movement.
This popular board game has the free additional platform Strat School, with which young students, especially budding sports fans, can learn math, writing and more. The educational platform also offers detailed lesson plans for teachers and parents interested in using the game as a teaching tool. For example, with Strat-O-Matic Baseball Express, kids can learn to make decisions based on probabilities, compute statistics like batting average and ERA, and develop writing skills, including simple game summaries. Emphasis on math and statistics, as well as quick calculations, is on each die roll and ways to encourage students to learn more about the players from sets like the Hall of Famers and Negro League Stars. How many times is that particular batsman likely to get a hit or home run? Which relief mug would be most effective against the impending batsman? How is the ERA calculated? What are the key moments of the game that should be included in a written summary? What more can students learn about certain historically significant actors? All of these educational benefits are possible in the fun setting at Strat-O-Matic baseball. Not bad for a board game.
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Unilever's first social impact brand was created in-house. The soap brand from head to toe is giving away 30 percent of its proceeds to finance mobile shower units for the homeless. Launched exclusively at Whole Foods in 2019, they're now available in Bed, Bath, Beyond and Walmart.com, among others.
Social impact is now more important than ever. Therefore, all entrepreneurs should familiarize themselves with companies that are committed to and benefit from social impact. Not only does this help make your company more meaningful, it also helps to recruit and retain the best talent and make your company more attractive to customers, suppliers and investors.