Profit with Purpose: Marketing for B Corps | Anna ColibrI
Marketing for B Corps often involves marketing the very concept of a B Corp certification, as part of your business message. Unlike related certifications, like “Fair-Trade” or “Organic”, B Corps haven’t quite made themselves a household name, despite the fact that there are over 2000 of them in 42 countries, across 120 industries. In fact, we’re San Francisco’s first and only full-service B Corp-certified digital marketing agency. We’ve been certified since September of 2016.
Marketing for B Corps is actually quite simple. A B Corp certification announces that a business has agreed to conduct itself in an environmentally and socially conscious way. This can involve eco-friendly business practices, inclusive hiring practices, and so on. In order to become certified, a business must score at least 80 points out of a possible 200, in a variety of metrics all relating to progressive, responsible, forward-thinking business practices.
No matter how progressive the conduct of your business is, the B Corp certification is a clear and incontestable way of announcing those practices to clients, customers, investors, prospective employees, and anyone else.
Why Is Marketing for B Corps Different from Other Businesses?
B Corps have a unique challenge, not faced by other businesses. A standard business needs to imprint itself upon a customer or client, increase awareness, and explain what they do. It’s a give-and-take between outreach and follow-up, and it has the primary aim of generating conversions (whatever they be).
For B Corps, the marketing process is a little different. A B Corp needs to cast a wider net. This will help make their business practices clear, so that the right kind of customer will be able to seek them out. In a way, you need to market the fact that your business is B Corp-certified. A recent Neilsen study demonstrated that close to two-thirds of customers would go out of their way, or pay more, to support a company that could be demonstrated to be making a positive social or environmental impact. By announcing the impact your business is making as a B Corp, the conversions may begin to come almost unbidden.
How To Market Your B Corp-Certified Business
First and foremost, the goal is to make your business visible in places where like-minded investors and clients are likely to be looking. If your digital marketing agency, for instance, sets itself apart from the pack, then you’ll be sought out by clients and investors who share your passion for social and environmental progress.
Don’t ignore the special avenues you have at your disposal, too. As a B Corp-certified business, you can join the B Hive, a social network exclusive to B Corps. B Corp-certified businesses, in any industry, stick together and help each other out. They tend to share business leads or networking avenues amongst themselves.
That’s the thing with B Corps — unlike most other corporations, they put their goals ahead of their shareholder interests. B Corp businesses put progress for everyone first. So, by helping another business in need, they advance the cause, even if it might drive profits to undercut the competition. In our case for instance, in a niche that doesn’t put profits first, finding companies that are large enough to hire outsourced digital marketing or hire full time digital marketers can be a real challenge, so working with other, like-minded B Corps is a great way to advance our cause and still do good business as a company.
As a corollary to this, B Corps tend to do better in times of economic downturn or financial hardship. With such a robust support network, B Corps tend to thrive even when other businesses in the same industry might be struggling. This is the sort of thing your business will want to market to potential investors. Marketing for B Corps often means attracting investors, and the double-whammy of progressivism and safe investment will be hard to resist.
B Corp status has a tendency to attract young, enthusiastic, loyal talent. This quality will make your business especially attractive to clients and investors as well. Marketing your B Corp status will make it clear what people can expect from your business, and it will tidily augment the talent and services of your business in all your marketing communications.
Why Colibri Digital Marketing is B Corp-Certified
Despite the challenges that result from being a B Corp, which include a rigorous certification process and constant accountability, becoming a B Corp was a non-negotiable for Colibri Digital Marketing founder and CEO, Anna Colibri. As a former social worker and yoga teacher, Anna’s focus has always been on service. Anna had this to say about becoming a B Corp: “In terms of career, nothing is more important to me than making a positive impact on the triple bottom line. As digital marketers, we are on the forefront of where technology meets communication. It’s up to us to create and communicate the best practices that inspire everyone to “do good while doing well.”
How To Become B Corp-Certified
As B Lab puts it, becoming B Corp-certified is as easy as 1–2–3. The process begins with your 150 question “B Impact Assessment”, passing grade 80 points our of a possible 200 (40%). Following this, once certain legalities are put in order, you’ll sign the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence and Term Sheet, thereby cementing your participation in the B Corp movement. For some businesses, this may be a relatively quick process, but for others, it’s not uncommon for the process of certificaton to take 1–2 years.
What Does the Future Look like?
“Triple bottom line” marketing, focusing on people, planet, and profit, in that order, isn’t going anywhere. It’s the future of responsible business, and it won’t be long before that philosophy has overtaken the dangerously outdated, industrial-revolution-era, exploitation for maximal profit approach that is so common in today’s corporate culture.
So, for today, marketing for B Corps means sticking together, and remembering to put the higher goals, environmental and social progress, above the raw need to profit. Conducting business this way makes your enterprise part of a like-minded support network, and to participate in that network is to take on the responsibility of helping other businesses toward shared goals.
At the end of the day, marketing for B Corps is about telling the world what you are, and how you will commit to being, as well as what you have to offer. It’s that focus which will separate your business from the rest of your industry, and it’s that philosophy which will bring your business the attention that it deserves.
Good luck. Remember, we’re all in this together.
Colibri Digital Marketing
We’re the digital marketing agency for the twenty-first century. Based in San Francisco, we’ve got our fingers on the pulse of Silicon Valley, we’ve got an insider perspective on the tech industry, and we get a sneak peak at the future of digital marketing. If you’re ready to work with the best B Corp-certified digital marketing agency in San Francisco, drop us a line or click here to schedule a free digital marketing strategy session!
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Originally published at colibridigitalmarketing.com on February 28, 2017.