Updated: May 20, 2022
We are often asked by our clients why, back in 2019, a lifetime ago, we chose to set up Good Karma Media, our social value communications consultancy as a registered Social Enterprise.
For us it was actually a simple decision. We consciously didn’t want to do business any other way. What we do is bigger than our business ambitions, it is actually about what we deliver for others, providing huge motivation and personal commitment on an emotional level.
As a team we have worked in social enterprise and on the fringes of the third sector for many years and we know what motivates us. We have our own deep desire to make an impact and this is the best way that we can think of doing it. Put simply we repurpose our talent and commitment and make sure that marketing budget spent with us works harder for our clients because we redirect our profits to help fix social and environmental dis-ease. This is hardwired into our business model as it is with every social enterprise.
Intrinsically we believe that business can play a massive part in addressing society’s biggest problems - in fact we would go further - it can actually solve them. Whereas governments are politic and systemic, businesses can be more flexible, innovative and pragmatic. Where governments can encourage and incentivise, businesses can act, with or without their blessing and at pace.
And then there are the externalities around the shifts in investor and consumer sentiment and a growing, powerful urgency that demands humans to address climate change and many of the social inequalities that pervade our society. This for Good Karma Media is agency enough. The good news is that our position and long-held beliefs are now starting to be supported by a raft of heavy-weight business academics and thought-leaders in works such as 'Grow the Pie' by Professor Alex Edmans (London Business School) and 'Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire’ by Professor Rebecca Henderson (Harvard) – both published in 2020.
We believe passionately that we have a role to play in growing the pie for all stakeholders and that reimagining the role of capitalism is not whimsical, it can actually be done. In fact the conversation is happening in boardrooms everywhere as you read this blog - the train has left the station.
We are a catalyst for transformation however difficult that shift might be, because in short, we believe this has to happen. Our role is to help the brands and the companies we work with to develop and demonstrate the scale of influence and impact that they can have so that they become leaders in social value transformation through their everyday business practices.
It is not difficult to see the brand benefits of market leadership but it is sometimes difficult to know how and where to start. We appreciate that tearing up a long adopted business strategy of profit maximisation and replacing it with purpose driven business objectives is very challenging. It requires a fundamental shift in the consciousness of leadership, the buy-in of investors, shareholders and employees, and an alignment (often through innovation) with markets and customers that is intrinsic to the commerciality of the business.
For many companies, of whatever size, this level of change presents a barrier to adoption, even in the wake of growing evidence that proves the commercial attractiveness of this business transformation.
For these companies we advocate what we call conscious social pragmatism, an incremental, planned, and measured shift that demonstrates the value of more purposeful business over time. This may include coaching topics like, conscious leadership and D&I, the media amplification of the good work that you already do, or through new innovative ways of operating that deliver measurable social impact. This approach is complimentary to ESG investment practices but crucially seeks to grow the pie for all stakeholders without leaving any one group behind. In the fantastic academic book 'Grow The Pie', Professor Alex Edmans notes, 'millennials want to be proud of their employer, to feel that their company's values match their own, and that the work they do is worthwhile'. In a Deloitte survey, only 27% of millennials responded that they intended to stay with their current employer for five years, but 88% said that they would do so if they 'were satisfied with the company's sense of purpose'.
Conscious social pragmatism reduces risk and resistance and allows the business case to evolve and become proven evidentially over time.
As such we have developed transformation frameworks that encompass all stakeholder needs with a flexible top-down, bottom-up approach to managing and delivering change. This phased approach can be throttled to manage the pace of adoption and can prioritise the most impactful changes that are relevant for a particular organisation.
What is critical is that change is not introduced for vanity alone but is aligned to deliver social and environmental benefits for all of the organisation’s stakeholders because it is through this alignment that the company will thrive over the longer term. As an additional benefit we work with many social enterprise partners so we immediately enhance the diversity and inclusivity of your supply chain.
Where we start is by helping your company to define a clear purpose that is aligned with all of your stakeholders and your fields of operation. From this we develop a route map that factors in all of your diverse business needs and market ambitions. The next phase is a master plan that maps out the what, how and why. The speed at which we help you to implement the transformation will depend on many factors - not least your commercial and competitive imperatives which are considered from the outset. This is not a 100 day project, or a sprint. We recommend a transitionary process that will serve your business for the long term with clear sign-posted proof-points and measurement.
You can find out more about Good Karma Media (GKM), our full range of marketing and communication services, and our approach to social business transformation on our website.
Crucially BAU budget spent through our social enterprise lens delivers inbuilt social impact and amazing brand narrative that can be repurposed through your social and digital channels. A cost neutral benefit that is hard to ignore.
GKM work across a broad range of sectors including; IT, construction & infrastructure, FMCG, publishing, professional services and energy.
Contact Jo or Dave on 01737 448018