Why Millennials care more about companies that have a sustainable cause.
Sustainability has become an important word for CEOs and executives to understand, and it goes hand in hand with social capital. Social capital is the idea that the more value and contribution companies bring to society, the more they will be rewarded in their social and financial status.
Companies with a high level of social capital grasp the importance of pursuing sustainable communities for both their organization and, on a larger scale, the global environment. Rafael Gutierrez, Chief Revenue Officer at Terra Global Systems, states, “Sustainability is the new singularity from energy to organizations.” As today’s economy and markets are turning towards green efforts, companies must make sustainability a top priority. Why has sustainability become so essential to the corporate world, some might ask?
Many employees and consumers today, especially Millennials, demand corporate social responsibility from the companies they work with and the companies they buy their products from. They care deeply about the environment, and are experts at creating community around shared passions. Companies with little regard for anything except making money will not inspire these employees or consumers to advocate for their brand. Millennials will simply not engage with these organizations, and will be quick to find a more sustainability-friendly place to work or buy their products.
While attracting Millennial employees and consumers is obviously important for any company, the need for sustainability goes beyond wanting young people to engage with a brand that aligns with their values. Companies that make sustainable products and incorporate sustainable processes are vital within today’s market, because they are inherently extrinsic. Of course, they want to succeed financially, however, they are not only concerned with profit and loss. Instead, they also care about their reputation, legacy, and impact within the global community.
So, what should companies do to simultaneously gain social capital and build a sustainable organization? Here are four key principles of social capital that will help grow a sustainable business:
1. Be honest.
People today crave companies with an authentic voice. Sustainable organizations care for their employees and consumers enough to not feed them bogus stories. They are always prepared to provide the whole truth, whether it be positive or negative. More times than not, companies that are transparent are able to sustain their employees and consumers, because people prefer the hard truth over a deceitful pretty picture. Just as your mom [probably] says, ‘Honesty is always the best policy.’
2. Genuinely listen to your consumers.
Consumer feedback is extremely important, especially for companies that are attempting to sell sustainable products or promote sustainable communities. The voices of consumers are a sole driver of growth, and have the ability to make or break an organization. Therefore, sustainable companies should consider these voices to be the lighthouse guiding them through the dark. Consumers today are becoming more informed, and their needs are constantly changing. They consider every detail behind the companies they engage with and the products they bring into their home. A sustainable company must respect and adhere to consumer expectations. Otherwise, their consumers will quickly find a more relevant company.
3. Be a change-agent in your industry.
Many large corporate companies are fundamentally flawed. Their practices demonstrate nothing but a power-hungry drive to make money. And, their relentless standards harm employers, consumers, and, many times, the environment. Corporate agriculture and farming companies, for example, are infamous for implementing unethical standards. It is considered “normal” for them to mistreat animals and produce low-quality foods, simply due to efficiency and cost cuts. Thankfully, people are becoming aware of greedy industry standards, such as this, and are purposefully buying humane, organic products from small farmers they trust, despite the higher price. Companies that practice ruthless tactics are becoming irrelevant, because people can easily detect their motives. In order to build a sustainable brand, CEOs and executives must fight and replace these immoral industry standards.
4. Establish and follow a set of core values.
This is, perhaps, the most important tip for developing social capital and sustainability. CEOs must create their company and culture around a set of core values they whole-heartedly believe in and their employees and consumers can respect. Companies should adhere to these values in every situation they face. Following a strong mission gives consumers reason to believe in your brand and your word.
This is equally, if not more important, internally as it is externally. Many people do the minimum amount of work required to get a paycheck. But, employees that work under a clear set of values they are passionate about will work ten times harder, because they have been given a sense of pride and purpose. Companies that develop a business model around respectable values, rather than solely making money, will sustain their employees and consumers, and inevitably scale their company the right way.
SoCap Agency is a full-service marketing and consulting firm that helps organizations connect and build community around Millennials. The leaders behind SoCap are experienced in working with sustainable companies to further build social value and scale their growth. Our team of marketing experts can certainly help you successfully position your company within today’s green economy. SoCap is passionate about pursuing sustainable communities and is proud to partner and work with sustainability-friendly organizations.