Global struggles necessitate collaborative leadership. Whether its beating COVID-19, alleviating poverty or mitigating climate change, the challenges we face are too great for any one person or organization. That said, innovators that pave the path to success will be rewarded with earned media, goodwill and market share.
A company leading by example to combat climate change is Interface. The carpet maker recently released the world’s first carbon negative carpet tile without carbon offsets. “A combination of low footprint manufacturing, more recycled content and bio materials make it possible,” Erin Meezan, Interface’s Chief Sustainability Officer tells We First.
Today, the most successful businesses are driven by a marriage of humanity and technology, purpose and profit, story and data. While many aspire to champion social good and scale income, it’s easier said than done. Warby Parker is a standout example of a company that’s leveraging its impact for business growth. Profits fuel impact and impact fuels profits, creating the sweet spot of social entrepreneurship.
Business leaders across sectors are transforming the way they work to integrate into the “new normal” posed by the novel coronavirus. The pandemic poses even greater challenges to brands historically reliant on in-person interactions. A company doing a great job changing their strategy to pivot business during COVID-19 is Varsity Brands. “When you’re in the business of serving 55 million kids in school and they don’t go, life changes,” Adam Blumenfeld, CEO of Varsity Brands, tells We First.
Conscious consumers want to support companies that do good. That said, they are increasingly attuned to discerning between brands that pay lip service to purpose and those that walk the talk. A business doing an exemplary job integrating purpose throughout its value chain is Dockers. “Part of leadership is showing that you can achieve profits and principles,” Lauren Johnson, Global Head of Marketing for Dockers, tells We First. “It’s not only what you’re doing, but how you’re doing it.”
Purpose has become competitive. While there’s a lot of good coming from the cohort of impact-driven businesses, it is increasingly difficult for companies to carve out a competitive advantage while making real change. “There’s an ongoing debate around whether purpose is a statement or an action,” Jean-Laurent Ingles, Executive Vice President of Hair Care at Unilever tells We First. “I think it’s both.”
Across the spectrum of its wide portfolio, Unilever has led by example, showing how a large corporation can be both profitable and purposeful. “If you want to be relevant to society, especially younger generations, that’s what you…
Business leaders that innovate around impact can disrupt categories, gain market share and scale growth. That’s certainly the case for Adam Lowry, the former co founder of Method and is now executive chairman of Ripple Foods. I had the opportunity to speak with him about how he builds and scales companies through a ‘Lead With We’ mindset.
Simon Mainwaring: Why do you launch purposeful businesses?
Adam Lowry: I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors. I’ve been racing small sailboats since I was a kid. The interconnectedness of people with nature inspired in me a desire to make those things better.
What influences one company to invest in real impact and another to pay lip service to purpose? “As much as leadership might want to do something, if the capital doesn’t want it to happen, it’s probably not going to,” Sunny Vanderbeck, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Satori Capital tells We First.
While forces like COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter push social issues into cultural discourse, “not a lot has changed,” Vanderbeck says. “You’re just seeing acceleration on the things that were already in play.”
The proposition of any business is to bring value to people’s lives. We’ve become enamored by…
Companies built on solving problems foster consumer goodwill and carve out a competitive advantage. An excellent example of a brand that differentiates itself by providing purposeful solutions is Hint. Founder and CEO, Kara Goldin, started the unsweetened flavored water business collecting customer feedback from moms in the school drop off line to selling in America’s largest retailers. The pioneer was recently honored as one of Fortune’s most powerful women entrepreneurs. I had the pleasure of speaking with Goldin about her success story.
Simon Mainwaring: There’s no category more competitive than water. How many people doubted you?
Kara Goldin: Thousands. The…
Successful business leaders know when to take calculated risks that can lead to profitable rewards. Innovative companies pioneer uncharted territory in terms of products to gain market share. Purposeful trailblazers push the boundaries around impact to foster goodwill. Brands that lead with us and prioritize their values build movements, loyalty and earned media.
North Face is an excellent example of a brand that’s standing behind its core beliefs. By acting on purpose, the outdoor apparel retailer is driving growth through impact.
“Consumers vote for brands that are purpose led,” Arne Arens, North Face’s Global Brand President, tells We First. …
If humanity is going to manifest a sustainable future, companies must join governments and nonprofits in transforming our economy. While individualized actions are necessary, we need widespread collaboration to truly shift the needle. An important lever to creating an environmentally responsible economy is sustainable packaging.
To advance the entire consumer goods industry, prAna launched the Responsible Packaging Movement. Over the last 10 years, the active wear brand has transformed its own packaging supply chain to minimize the use of plastics and excess wrapping.
CEO We First Inc, author NYT's bestseller We First, strategic corporate consultant and trainer, father, Australian, optimist.