Is “Doing Good” the new currency?
Not so long ago, it wasn’t considered “the job” of the business sector to influence societal issues. But that has irrevocably changed. The growing Social Purpose movement is disrupting “Business as Usual” in a big way.
Since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis businesses have been “Doing Good” in all sorts of small, large, and innovative ways. And it’s not going unnoticed. Lists of businesses “Doing Good” have been popping up like daisies: Just Capital, Adage, Boston College, and CBSR have all published lists. And then there is the multitude of articles, including the SPI’s Mary Ellen Schaafsma and Coro Strandberg’s Corporate Knights article and the recent B.C. Business article, Social Purpose Institute graduate Hemlock was featured on BBOT website and Modo, also a current SPI participant in the article: Showing up with a Social Response to COVID.
Indeed, the world seems to be drawn to companies that are “doing the right thing”, using their talents, assets, ingenuity and resources to improve our collective situation, serving their employees, their suppliers, their customers and society at large.
The list of good things these companies are doing is extensive, ranging from distilleries making hand sanitizer, businesses hiring workers that have been furloughed, to extending paid sick leave for employees during the pandemic. Social Purpose Institute research has found that they can be categorized into distinct categories of responses which have been summarized in the SPI’s COVID Social Response tool.
The world is watching and businesses are gaining honour for their positive actions, or being criticized for their silence.
Competition for “doing good”
Indeed, it seems that COVID has spurred a competition for “doing good” in the business community.
Perhaps “doing good” will transform the race to the bottom line with a race to new heights in how businesses engage with their employees customers, communities and other stakeholders and the winners in this race will clearly be the planet and society as a whole.
In a marketplace where only a few short weeks ago companies competed mainly on price and brand recognition, “doing good” may present a steep learning curve.
Is all “doing good” created equal? How can one be good at “doing good”?
Why are some businesses’ efforts touted as inauthentic and “greenwashing”, while others gain a strong following of loyal employees and customers?
People respond to businesses that take a stand on something that they can affect, that makes us want to join them to “slay a dragon” or to move to an aspirational vision. That vision may be a world without hunger, without racial injustice, or a world that lives in balance and respects nature. In short: people support a company that has an embedded authentic and aspirational Purpose that resonates with their own vision for a better world.
Consequently, the companies that have a clearly defined societal purpose or social reason for “Why they exist” have a clear advantage in the competition to “do good”.
The businesses that have already defined their North Star, or higher reason for existence, are poised to align their responses to crisis based on that Social Purpose When that crisis happens, they are in a position to make the decisions that demonstrate their commitment to society through actions and strategies that reflect the “soul” of their business, not a hastily put together PR campaign.
Do you have a story on how your company made a “Purposeful Pivot” during COVID?
or do you want to know more about how to align your business’ crisis response to Purpose?
Get in touch, we’d love to talk.