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Archive for month: April, 2015

Green practices pay greenbacks

Green practices pay greenbacks

As of January of this year, an estimated 1,200 companies in the U.S. had B Corp status. A B Corp is a for-profit corporate entity that contributes positively to the community and environment through its products, services and operations. Even with the mounting increase of companies achieving B Corp status, CFOs still want confirmation that green practices and corporate responsibility will support the bottom line.  Luckily, consumer studies and handy new tech tools hold good news for sustainable companies.

A 2014 global study was conducted by Nielsen surveyed consumers on their willingness to pay for products and services provided by companies’ actively practicing conscious capitalism. The study found that 55% of respondents were willing to pay more for products and services from companies that are making a positive social and environmental impact. Nearly as many consumers (52%) had made a prior sustainable product purchase in the past 6 months.

While consumer-reported past purchases and purchase intent is helpful, it may not be the best predictor of actual conversion to a product purchase. To get the rest of the story, a review of sustainable product retail sales was performed. The review showed a 2-5% increase in sales depending on the product marketing.  Companies which included corporate responsibility as a part of their marketing message and on product packaging saw the most success.

More recently, consumer commitment to spending their green on green products and services can be seen in the creation and usage of complementary sustainable shopping apps. More apps are being developed and downloaded that help consumers find green products. Some examples include:

  • GoodGuide— helping consumers find ethically made, green products quickly
  • Fooducate— giving shoppers a product grade level for each scanned product based on its healthfulness
  • Social Impact— allowing users to search socially conscious businesses near their location

The results of the Nielsen study and the growth of socially conscious consumer apps demonstrates that a growing percentage of consumers are:

  • motivated to spend on sustainable products made by socially conscious companies
  • willing to pay more for them
  • influenced to purchase by a sustainable marketing message.

Share with others how your company is communicating your green efforts to your target market.

Social Enterprise Surprises While Traveling

Social Enterprise Surprises While Traveling

Social enterprise can be surprising, with new expressions of the movement popping up in unexpected places.  With BBD’s recent rebranding in the social enterprise area, it’s been so fun whenever I unexpectedly experience or hear about another company’s shared passion.

Gary and I recently had to opportunity to experience Argentina thanks to the generosity of Trapiche Wines.  Trapiche treated us to many wonderful events: watching the hottest tango show in Buenos Aires (Wow!!!) , visiting the area that Eva Peron spoke to her people (I’m a huge Evita fan!) and the historical cemetery where she was buried, tasting the malbec grapes (so delicious!) right from the vine, horseback riding in the Andes (spectacular mountain range), and witnessing the fall harvesting process at the winery (and enjoying a variety of wonderful tasting wines) – who knew all the effort it takes to produce that wonderful bottle of wine!

During one of the amazing dinners Trapiche hosted, they shared their incredible passion and vision for their vineyards and winery now and well into the future.  To my unexpected delight, they started talking about their social enterprising efforts.

The Trapiche brand believes in fostering more than a family wine making legacy.  Trapiche supports a social enterprise called Xinca.  Xinca is a unique group that saw an opportunity to clean up abandoned old tires that were left to clutter up their land and community. The Xinca team “hit the pavement” (pun intended) and found a way to convert the rubber waste of the tires and recycled pants into shoes while creating jobs for the people of Argentina.

Here are 3 ways you can help support Xinca’s mission.

  1. Give away your pants!  By law, companies must change required uniforms of employees twice per year.  This generates a lot of waste that can be used by Xinca. Encourage organizations that have scrap cloth and clothing to donate them instead of trashing them.
  2. Help social enterprise get traction!  Share Xinca’s story and stories like theirs via social media so all your socially conscious friends can be following in your Xinca clad footsteps. Show your friends how to be responsible consumers and post every time you hear about or purchase from companies like Xinca.
  3. If the shoe fits! Make social conscious shopping a lifestyle.  Seek out products that were made by companies that are strategically protecting the environment, operating ethically, and upholding social justice.   Take a step to support social enterprise and shop Xinca shoes. (Keep in mind the exchange rate. Reference this handy currency converter. )

Look around and like me, you may be surprised to see the many companies that are “stepping up” just like Xinca to make a positive impact on their communities.  Share this post to make a positive step-up of your own.

Looking at your Business Through Green Colored Glasses on Earth Day

Looking at your Business Through Green Colored Glasses on Earth Day

Earth Day reminds us all to continue to step up our game when it comes to preserving our environment. Many conscious companies take their commitment to fostering a flourishing planet very seriously, leaving no green stone unturned in implementing green practices into their business.  Many of the world’s most recognizable brands leverage Earth Day to gain extra exposure and publicity for their brand and their passion for environmental issues.

Regardless of a company’s size, how the company executes its green efforts can give important insight into a company at its core. It’s critical that green programs be authentic and lasting for them to create a positive association for a company. The closer a company’s eco programs and Earth Day efforts are to their brand and the more supported the programs are by company leadership and associates, the more success the programs will have. Getting a green program off the ground and functioning at a level that truly makes an impact to the environment and external perception of the company requires internal and external marketing.

Start or expand your business’ earth-friendly efforts and ensure they work to grow awareness of your company and your positive impact on the earth:

Ask for input from other stakeholders – Contributors to any project respond well to being included in project planning efforts and diverse teams are the most successful.  Meet with your team to get their thoughts on your green programs, unique execution, and ways to get the word out.

Be open to new ways of thinking – Making real change requires new thinking. Proactively guide your own mind and your team through turning ideas upside down to look for new and better green processes and projects. The more creative your thinking the more excitement the programs and your company will generate inside your organization and beyond.

Look for meaningful partnerships – Consider the groups, organizations, companies and brands your company currently works with or could join forces with. Look for share interests, complementary opportunities and themes that multiple groups can support and where the impact is meaningful to all parties involved. Work together on broadcasting your great work in a way that benefits your partnership and your purpose.

Consistently Communicate As you begin to implement or grow your green programs, commit to providing regular updates to your constituency and external audiences. This ensures your programs are top-of-mind and more likely to be supported.  Invite information sharing and look for creative ways you can get your message out to a broader group of supporters.

Go Green or Go Home – Remain consistent and steadfast in your commitment to green programs. Look for green wins you can share to keep the enthusiasm going.  Make it a part of your company culture and it will become second nature to everyone. This makes the efforts an ongoing theme when conversations happen about your company.

Keep pumping good energy into your company; keep asking for new ideas for green practices that will work for your team; provide frequent updates on your progress. This change in your perspective can change everyone’s perspective about your company.

For more resources on making the most of your green efforts, check out 5 Green Ideas to Get Your Customers and Employees on board with Earth Day 2015.

New Survey Shows What’s Most Needed by Today’s Leaders

New Survey Shows What’s Most Needed by Today’s Leaders

Korn Ferry, the world’s largest executive search firm, recent published the results of their new survey of 200 coaches about the challenges leaders most frequently face, and the skills leaders need to be equipped with when leading during every-changing business conditions.

Survey respondents were asked to identify the top 10 most frequent coaching topics by career level. If you are currently serving in a leadership role, you may not be surprised by the need areas that rose to the top. The survey showed that interpersonal and communication skills including influence, listening, and empathy were common themes across the board for leaders regardless of their level of leadership. Self-awareness also ranked high for leaders across the board.

As business continues to shift at an ever increasing rate, as communication tools expand, and as demands for more creative problem-solving are needed every day, it’s critical that leaders begin developing the skills they need in today’s world. Perhaps more importantly, our leaders have to be examples to others on how to recognize when and how to add these skills to any success toolbox. The Korn Ferry study demonstrates that great emphasis is being placed on the effectiveness of the leader as well as the cohesiveness of their teams.

What do the results mean for leaders, their coaches, and their teams? Here are a few strategies for you:

  1. Complete a self-assessment in the key skills areas mentioned, and identify your specific opportunities and a plan for growth.
  2. Pay attention to how your team works best. Consider the factors that are in place when your team is most open and available to sharing new ideas and provide that environment for your team as best you can at regular intervals.
  3. Plan to keep any interactions fresh by creating new ways to facilitate discussion and interact, while keeping in place what’s working.
  4. Engage with a coach to begin a discussion on your specific need areas and how your coach can support you.

You can open the door to leveraging growth opportunities for yourself, and open communication with your team. You’ll be working toward your goal of skill development, taking steps toward improved communication, and expanding your influence by setting a positive example.

BBD can help you navigate the next steps to taking your leadership and communications skills to the next level. Email to get started.