It has become very clear to us at Move Minds Global that the independence of social purpose and capitalistic profit is a myth. In fact, businesses and brands that are more socially responsible and connected with their stakeholders can find greater economic success than those companies that only focus on returning profits to their shareholders.
According to the 2013 Cone Communications Echo Global Study we see the following statistics about how consumers would feel about a social good company:
Businesses need to recognize that they have a connection and a responsibility that goes beyond profit to its stakeholders. Business stakeholders include: Employees, customers, investors, vendors, communities, and benefactors.
They also need to recognize that there is an interdependent function at play here where businesses and their stakeholders are fused together. A mutual trust and dependence on the success of the other.
This interdependence of life and of good, both within business, and out into the community, creates value with and for its stakeholders. This then can lead to the fostering of a more sustainable business model, and happier and healthier stakeholders. Social purpose organizations and businesses are fundamentally different in that they will engage with its employees and other stakeholders to set up social good goals and programs that go beyond the traditional profit at all costs business model.
Here is the key: They don’t push aside the goal of profitability - they enhance it.
They add momentum and speed to the venture by inspiring its stakeholders to have a higher purpose to drive business success and individual fulfillment by creating solutions to pressing community problems. This approach gives all of its stakeholders new and deep reasons to care and to be connected to each other’s success.
We then embrace a holistic view of how meaning can be established. We literally redefine what it means to be successful on our own terms. This social purpose culture permeates every aspect of the business model, and real meaning is established for individual workers, their families and their communities. Stakeholders become emotionally connected to the success of the idea, not just the product.
The social purpose business model has now fundamentally changed to include ideas instead of just products. We bring social purpose culture to business, employees, consumers and communities by focusing on the interdependency of empathy, purpose, emotion and profit, that comes to life as a new social purpose economic engine.
Social Purpose Businesses and Their Stakeholders
Companies and organizations will be able to attract and retain employees that are more engaged and interested in the mutual success of the companies, themselves and the communities they serve. Those employees and other stakeholders throughout the supply chain and community will enjoy a higher purpose and meaning in their lives, be more emotionally connected to their communities and enjoy a level of happiness that has eluded them for far too long.
Business leaders must recognize the vital role of creating a social purpose culture for its stakeholders, and purposefully cultivate that culture inside their organizations. In order to be a force for change they must promote this culture outside of their own organizations, throughout its own supply chains, and out into the local and national community. We must be able to harness the power of mission driven private enterprises to create social purpose solutions.
These have long been independent of each other in the marketplace of ideas, and have only come together as if by some coincidence. What the emerging social purpose economy dictates is that these independent ideas are in fact becoming increasingly dependent on the other to be truly successful, as well as fulfilling for all of its stakeholders.
When capitalism and profit ideals fuse together with social purpose values, the perfect blend of non-profit organization values and capitalistic innovation occurs. We call this the Profit with Purpose Hybrid.
The Politics of Social Purpose
This idea fits in perfectly with both progressive and conservative principles for business. While it seems impossible to imagine in today’s political climate, a closer look indicates that we may be on to something with this idea.
In fact, one of the main functions of a social purpose business model is that it would use product sales to help fulfill its social mission. Here is the key idea: In doing so you reduce dependence on donations, grants, subsidies and taxes that would otherwise fill those needs.
Conservatives have long argued for less reliance on government programs that support social programs. Less regulation and less interference will allow business to grow, and a stronger economy would emerge to lift folks out of poverty and create a higher level of opportunity for all.
Progressives, however, believe that government is necessary to solve big issues like clean water, poverty, access to healthcare and so forth. With a strong social purpose culture and its foundation being an emerging social purpose economy this may provide us with a vision moving forward.
A social purpose culture where we all work together, outside of government to solve these problems. Furthermore, it may even give us an opportunity to make the solutions to these issues more successful. They will be deeply rooted into the fabric of our lives where mutual success is the only option.
It is the values, principles, relationships, and practices that underlie the new social purpose economy that will foster innovation, collaboration and partnerships to solve some of our biggest challenges. As each contributor of a social purpose culture it gives us a deeper meaning and purpose in our own lives. It connects us, the stakeholders to each other. It binds us to a common vision of purpose, hope, problem solving, and mutual success.
There is a debate as to whether a social purpose culture is fostered from the bottom up. Organically implemented by each contributor and stakeholders that eventually force companies and organizations to react.
The other view is that companies and organizations need strong leaders in place with a vision of social purpose at the top, and that this vision will guide that company to its purpose, and all the stakeholders will climb on board.
Of course the answer is both. Here at Move Minds, if we didn’t believe that change could happen from the bottom up, well, we wouldn’t be here. Strong leadership willing to embrace a social purpose vision is necessary. Business leaders must be able to strike a balance between social and economic goals.