“Consumers shop for reasons, not things,” says Rachel Leinbach Reyhle, Founder & Publisher of Retail Minded Magazine in a recent blog post. People shop for products that make them feel good. They also buy from businesses they feel good about.
“Many customers decide to shop places because they appreciate the impact their purchase will make,” explains Rachel. Whether they want to “shop local” or “fair trade,” or because the store donates a percentage of its profit to charity, consumers want to make an impact with their spending.
More than 90% of shoppers will switch brands and be loyal to socially responsible businesses they feel they can trust versus companies who don’t show these characteristics, said a recent study by Cone Communications and Echo Research.
Corporate Social Responsibility has become the new buzz word. “It’s no longer a question of if companies should engage in it,” said Alison DaSilva, Executive Vice President for Research and Insights at Cone. “It’s now a question of to what extent will they do so.”
A Lesson From TOMS
TOMS footwear began in 2006 as a socially conscious company, donating a pair of shoes to a needy child for every pair sold. To date, this “One for One” campaign has given away 10 million pairs. They now are doing the same offer with eyewear helping give the gift of sight to visually impaired children.
Founder & CEO of TOMS and author of “Start Something That Matters” Blake Mycoskie says, “With social media, empower your customers to tell your story for you. So many brands try to control the story. Let customers do the marketing for you.”
They have just launched The TOMS Marketplace, a microsite featuring 200 different products made by other companies with a charitable component or “giving model.” You can shop by Brand, Region or Cause like Children, Education, Health, Job Creation, Nutrition or Clean Water.
“We believe commerce can be about more than just profits. We’re giving other social entrepreneurs a platform right here on our site to help them succeed.”
One World Futbol Project is one of the businesses represented who has the same “buy one, give one” model. They give nearly indestructible soccer balls that won’t go flat to needy children around the world to encourage the power of positive play. (At left: boys chasing the OWF in Hohoe, Ghana; photo by Semester at Sea.)
At Nashville Wraps, we take our social responsibility seriously. That is why we developed our Green Way® brand of eco-friendly packaging to offer our retail customers a better choice. We also focus on U.S.-made products that promote American jobs. In addition, we are blessed to be able to help many charities throughout the year, and our employees are truly generous whenever there is a local need for help.
Have you considered your own social responsibility as a small business? If not, search for your passion in giving back and share how you are doing that with your customers. They may just join with you.
May this short video from TOMS be an inspiration.