Should you care?
In the last decade or so, things in the business world have changed. To connect with us, brands not only have to be cool or different or attractive, now they have to care, really care.
My theory is that with the social media explosion, since the early 2000s, the fact that we now get news pretty much in real time, and the fact that media outlets (traditional and untraditional) can expose things easier, leaving no place to hide for business owners (like they were able to do before), have created a more socially-aware generation. Now you know that a collapsed building in Bangladesh, where clothing was manufactured, was where your favorite brand’s clothes were being made, so now you, the public, the consumer, are also responsible. But it also means you can use your consumer power to demand change, and people have noticed that.
With this, companies have a challenge: either keep business as usual or adapt to what the new consumer is demanding, becoming more responsible for their actions, while engaging and getting more involved with the social, environmental, and cultural issues their consumers care so much about.
At the same time, with a new generation taking over in the business world, companies are now being formed with the social responsibility gene from day one. Now mission-driven businesses, as Explora is, are becoming more common, and this is a good thing.
So, are you wondering how can your business be more responsible? Well, no business is too small to tackle this challenge, we can all do something. But to find out what you can do, there's a few questions you should ask yourself:
Do you know the why of your business? Why did you create it? What value does it bring to customers? Even if your business has been around for years, go back to the core, sit down, take some time and answer this again, you might find out (new) valuable information.
Where can you have the biggest impact? Do you treat your employees well? Are you making their lives easier and more enjoyable? I'm not talking about an annual lunch or party with "team building exercises", that's a work-technique kinda thing. I'm talking about their personal life: income, health, schedule, flexibility, engagement, sense of purpose, open communication, equality, safety... The list goes on, and you might find out there's be plenty of room to improve and engage with them better, even if this is done in tiny little steps over time.
Can you make your production more eco-friendly? Whether it is how you manufacture your products, the packaging, the materials, or the shipping and storing system. There are tons of resources out there that you can research. Talk to your printer, see if the format you use is creating too much leftover paper, see if the type of paper and/or the inks can be more sustainable, or maybe the technique. Your printer knows this more than anybody, and you can always ask for a designer’s help to guide you though it.
How is your immediate community doing? Not only your neighborhood, but your town, or even your local industry. How can you help them improve? Can you share some knowledge? Get involved, engage, care, connect.