Over the past ten years, we’ve seen a surge in social-good companies out to change the world through the power of business. Today, the market is flooded with all sorts of products that include a “giving” narrative as part of their brand promise and we welcome them all with great expectations. Nevertheless, during that same decade, our society has become more skeptical. In fact, some reports show that, when polled, the millennial generation forms the least trusting group of consumers than any of the previous three generations combined.
The road can be long and hard…it’s slow until it gets fast.
Whether it’s due to pop-culture, politics or the state of chaos in our world, the most challenging part of starting a social enterprise is the all-important “trust” factor – the very basis of any socially-focused brand’s ethos.
From the inception of THX, we have had to jump through hoops to get people to believe in us. Be it the nonprofit organizations we’ve wanted to support, the customers we’ve met at events or retail and distribution partners we’ve reached out to, the road has been tough. This has obviously created doubts and generated fears about the mission we’re on. Since the birth of THX, our aim has been helping people with the greatest needs on a massive scale. We wanted to do something radical – to “Give it All Away” – and even something as genuine as that is scrutinized every step of the way.
1. Simplification is Key
Simplifying your message is imperative to the success of your venture. Starting a company that educates customers on the social importance of their existence can be difficult. Honing down that message to a simple and seamless communication is difficult but important. At THX, we’ve had to simplify, simplify, simplify, and we’ve seen dramatic improvements as a result of applying the “Keep It Simple, Stupid” (KISS) principle to every aspect of our business.
2. Transparency is Your Greatest Ally
In serving a marketplace that lacks trust, transparency is your greatest ally in growing your brand. Sharing as much information as possible about how your products are made, how they are priced and where all the donations are going will only help to increase that level of trust. Beyond an ally, transparency can become your greatest competitive advantage and the one that customers appreciate the most.
3. Patience Really is the Mother of all Virtues
The road can be long and hard, but as in most cases, it’s slow until it gets fast. If you have gone through the process of researching the market, identifying your target audience, creating a great line of products with an even greater purpose, pricing them fairly, and then working through the distribution, fulfillment and logistics of getting them into the hands of your customers, then hold tight. Stay the course. Remaining calm, cool and collected in these moments when everything seems to be going sideways can be your biggest test yet. Take a look in the rear view mirror and go back to the days when you first believed in your concept. Remember the what, where and why behind your social enterprise. This will help when things start to feel cloudy.
Ultimately, it’s important to stay motivated, on-track and laser focused on your mission. Always remember there are no shortcuts to greatness and what’s at stake is far too valuable for compromises. Never lose faith in what you’re doing because failure is not an option