Social entrepreneurship is loosely defined as “identifying or recognizing a social problem and using entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a social venture to achieve a desired social change.” Rather than simply measuring performance in profit and return, social entrepreneurs take into account a positive return on society. Creating a social platform within your business model can be a game changer.
One of the biggest breakthroughs in my company came when my family and I decided to implement a nationwide gifting program to children in the hospital. We offer an interactive line of personal empowerment jewelry better known as Zymbol. For every Zymbol sold, we gift one to a child in the hospital. This platform has attracted major media attention, as well as celebrity partners.
…this coverage ended up catching the attention of Real Housewives of New Jersey star Melissa Gorga and NFL Quarterback Vince Young…
Having a story, cause, or mission that evokes emotion is extremely relevant in today’s entrepreneurial landscape. Consumers are constantly barraged with various marketing messages through social media, blogs, TV and online radio. In today's market you have to ask yourself, “Is your marketing message built on dry facts or is it emotionally compelling?”
If you're not sure if social entrepreneurship would be beneficial to your company, consider my top five reasons for implementing a social platform into your business plan.
1) Word of Mouth
There is no denying that word-of-mouth is one of the most credible forms of marketing available. When giving is implemented into your business model, customers become “foot soldiers” who help market your product. Every chance they get they will sing your praises to friends, family and co-workers. This results in “tribes” of fans being created who attract more people and help you to build and promote your brand.
2) Build Your Brand
The word-of-mouth marketing you receive has a direct link with building your brand. When you give your business a mission larger than your bottom line, people will remember it. This provides a solid foundation to build your brand on. When people think of your brand they will associate the social change you’re working toward.
In my own business, people have been so motivated by our story and mission that 18 of them actually tattooed our Zymbol!! I was floored the first time someone emailed me a picture of their tattoo. I realized then that we are selling more than just another piece of jewelry – we’re staring a movement!
3) Influence the Buying Decision
I implemented the popular “one-for-one” model into my business. You buy one, we gift one. Value added propositions like this can have a major influence on the buying decision. On top of already loving our product and story, their purchase will result in helping to inspire a child in the hospital. What can you do in your business to influence the consumers buying decision? Gifting a percent of sales to a certain cause is great. However, I want to challenge you to create a more innovative giving platform. Unique = memorable.
4) PR Buzz
Give the media something to talk about! Your social cause gives you a “hook” when approaching various media outlets. Our Children’s Hospital gifting program resulted in a four-minute news segment on FOX 7 just months after launching it. We’ve also been mentioned in outlets such as The Huffington Post and the Spanish version of PEOPLE. This coverage ended up catching the attention of Real Housewives of New Jersey star Melissa Gorga and NFL Quarterback Vince Young. We’ve partnered with both of them as a result of our gifting program. The possibilities are truly endless on this front. Every company wants publicity. What’s newsworthy about your business? Would a social endeavor increase your chances of getting picked up?
5) It Feels Good
At the end of the day this matters most. At times, being an entrepreneur can be quite the struggle. Adjusting to the mindset of a social entrepreneur can help alleviate the day-to-day stresses by helping you work toward something bigger than you and your bottom line. Pick a social mission close to your heart and you will see greater returns and rewards than you ever imagined, personally and professionally. When I go into the hospitals and see the kids using our Zymbol to trace out inspirational phrases like “never give up” and “you're a warrior,” it makes all the headaches of being an entrepreneur melt away.
Dane Short started his first business days after graduating from UNLV with a degree in marketing. Dane took a “doodle” that his Mother created, and developed a line of interactive empowerment jewelry with a social mission, Zymbol. Dane works closely with his family as they've expanded from their beginnings in Durango, CO to an up and coming nationwide commodity.