Today, consumers, investors and even employees expect more from the companies they support. It doesn’t take a lot of social media browsing to read about brands that have earned widespread ire for falling short. About half of all consumers admit they pierce companies in public† Even if those brands are profitable, they face a potentially devastating loss of reputation that could impact their bottom line.
In other words, it’s a whole new type of environment. A whopping 62% of chief experience officers told Deloitte they were just like that focused on positive return as well as increasing profits. That’s why some business leaders are working hard to bridge the gap between doing good and doing good. What they discover is that through innovative thinking and problem-solving skills, they can take a stand without losing financial momentum.
Consider the case of CVS. In the mid-2010s, the pharmacy chain made the decision to stop selling tobacco products. The company lost an estimated $2 billion in revenue, but turned a profit in the long run significant annual gross profit increases year after year.
Sure, it can be difficult for businesses to know where to start. Balancing tax returns with the needs of communities and consumers is not easy. One way to start is for organizations to find out what other successful business entities are doing. Below are examples of how world-class companies align goal with profit.
1. They reinvent products to meet the changing needs of the end user.
An easy way to realize more benefits for stakeholders and end users is through a product refresh. Redesigning packaging to be more sustainable or sourcing raw materials from an eco-friendly supplier can be an incentive for shoppers. Of course, it’s not about changing a product for no reason. Nevertheless, it can make sense to renew the offer so that it is tailored to the needs of modern buyers.
Take Instructure’s investment and the introduction of newer assessment tools and methodologies, which are designed to enable teachers to create a level playing field for students. Rather than force overburdened, overburdened teachers to make their own assessments, Instructure has done much of the work. This allows educators to have a plug-and-play experience when using Canvas to conduct assessments.
2. They get concrete about sustainability commitments.
About nine in ten S&P companies have started preparing annual sustainability reports† This move is in line with what consumers say they want, which is more corporate environmental responsibility. However, not all organizations have set out a comprehensive mission statement or constructed a framework for their sustainability goals. Instead, they talk the talk, but may not walk. And they only cause skepticism among consumers wary of big promises.
Equifax has chosen to break the system of making empty promises by providing tangible evidence and numbers of its sustainability goals. The consumer credit reporting giant has committed to achieving net-zero emissions within 18 years, and it explains how. Equifax not only tracks its impact, but it is Investing $1.5 Billion in Cloud Technologies† Equifax leaders have emphasized that by moving more practices to the cloud, their company will be able to reduce energy consumption. At the same time, team members can still work efficiently and serve customers.
3. They use technology to make what was once impossible possible.
In the effort to “do good by doing good,” many companies enlist the help of powerful technologies. Example: fintech leader FIS is experimenting with new ways to use integrated payment technology† For example, FIS focuses on cashless options and improving the experience of participants in The Washington Nationals competitions. Visitors can quickly pay for everything from tickets to food and place bets on BetMGM Sportsbook. The integration provides full real-time personalization of any in-game experience by leveraging data through its unparalleled analytics platform.
Technology can really become an important resource for all organizations looking to move the corporate purpose needle. When applied carefully, technologies have the ability to alleviate common stressors for consumer businesses. In addition, technology can stimulate different ways of thinking. And different ways of thinking can become the fodder for revolutionary solutions that change our everyday experiences.
4. They emphasize the triple bottom line.
The past decade has seen a resurgence of companies focusing on a triple bottom line made up of the ‘three Ps’ – profit, people and planet. Essentially, triple bottom line accounting provides a comprehensive view of a company’s full measurement of impact. Yes, dollars earned are critical. But triple bottom line reporting shows both the ripples below the surface and what’s on top.
With 69% of investors interested in put money into socially responsible organizations, the triple bottom line is becoming increasingly important. Some experts believe it will become the standard way of evaluating a company’s true success, beyond raw numbers. After all, triple bottom line accounting makes it possible to objectively measure a company’s compassion and caring.
With the next industrial generation and possibly the metavers looming, companies are being asked to act. They will always have to make money, but now they are expected to give back in meaningful ways too. Those who take on this challenge will be rewarded at all levels.