On November 22nd 2021, NY NOW hosted a webinar titled “Developing Social Impact-Driven Brand Stories,” the first of a three-part social impact series titled “Balancing People, Planet, and Profit.” The webinar was hosted and moderated by NY NOW’s Senior Producer Dondrill Glover, with special guest Elizabeth (Liz) Ngonzi, Founder and CEO of The International Social Impact Institute® (ISII). The series is designed to help achieve balance across people, planet, and profit, with the first session focused on helping participants and organizations develop social-impact driven brands.
Liz Ngonzi highlighted the importance of an organization’s brand, noting that brand is the primary driver of purchasing decisions in the mind of consumers. According to a survey from PwC, Liz Ngonzi shared that 92% of consumers choose brands they trust, 85% of consumers actively seek out local producers and stores for their purchases, and 76% of consumers focus on environmentally and socially responsible brands. Liz Ngonzi went on to explain the importance of an organization’s ESG story for their consumers, with the following being most important according to the same PwC survey: socially and environmentally responsible retailers, labor practices of suppliers, environmental impact of production, environmental impact of delivery, and retailer’s diversity and inclusion practices.
Liz Ngonzi recommended a focus on long-term results, especially with respect to driving sustainable profits. She described how organizations can do this by investing in the communities where they operate, and by taking care of their employees. Liz Ngonzi also believes that organizations should understand their environmental impact, whether related to product, packaging, or process; having a balanced approach across these areas is critical.
Liz Ngonzi showcased six organizations that have successfully balanced people, planet and profit, with strong brands that reflect their commitment:
- Little Words project
- Edtex Ghana
- Buzzee Food Wraps and Bags
- State of Being
- Conscious Step
- ESW Beauty
These companies are in different industries and geographical locations, however each has been able to balance people, planet and profits in its own unique way.
Liz Ngonzi concluded the discussion by introducing GivingTuesday, and highlighting how organizations can leverage events like GivingTuesday to integrate their values into their brand. She described how organizations can do this immediately, including through matching donations for a particular cause, designing a “challenge” for customers and employees, donating a portion of sales, or simply closing for the day to encourage volunteering. Liz Ngonzi ended with a preview of the upcoming sessions in this series, integrating generosity into social impact-driven brand stories, and activating social-impact driven consumers online.