In the past decade, being identified as a socially conscious brand has evolved from being a nice-to-have to a must-have for most corporations. The social, environmental, and even political impact of an organization makes a difference in consumer purchasing decisions. In response, organizations have increasingly partnered with or funded nonprofit organizations, developed sustainable products, promoted community development projects, and more to win the attention of consumers. Job seekers are also influenced by the perceived impact of an organization. Employee donation match programs, volunteer days, and community connection matter to the modern employee.
When done well, strong corporate social responsibility programs and smart marketing strategies are great ways to build organizational reputation and tap into the social impact market. Organizations looking to advance their social responsibility programs or organizations just starting to explore a social good component to their work should take a page out of the social enterprise playbook.
Social enterprises are hybrid organizations, blending business with mission and proving that making a profit and having a positive impact are not mutually exclusive ideas. Social enterprises appeal to people because they have a clear purpose beyond making money. In fact, purpose beyond making money is one of the four components creative agency enso uses to measure people’s perception of a brand’s purpose and mission. Brand value is more than recognition; it’s the value an organization brings to the lives of shoppers.
My organization, Goodwill, has been using the social enterprise model in local communities since 1902. Founder Edgar J. Helms saw a need to help people by offering them a chance, not charity. Helms began collecting used household goods and clothing in wealthier areas of Boston, then trained and hired those who were poor to mend and repair the used goods....
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