MM Memo 05.05.18

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Each week, we compile and summarize the top articles on corporate social impact, impact investing, and conscious capitalism from around the world, and deliver it to your inbox every Saturday morning for you to enjoy and digest.  

Feel free to shoot us an email with any feedback, insight, tips or suggestions. If you like what you are reading, we would love it if you would share it with your friends.


WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM B CORPS' BIG BETS ON CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT

Today’s customers are choosing how to spend their dollars based on one of two factors: convenience or shared values. For example, Blue Apron, a grocery delivery company that makes it easier to cook healthy meals, is winning on convenience. But when you have the option of choosing between convenience services, as many customers do in the ride-hailing market, values determine the victor. Lyft is riding (pun intended) on the sharing-economy movement and gaining market share because of its commitment to fair practices with customers and employees. Customers tell their friends they “took a Lyft” as a signal of shared cultural values.

Values alignment is increasingly important to customers. In fact, two-thirds of customers are more willing to spend money on brands that take a shared stance on social and political issues they care about. Alignment means a nearly automatic uptick in customer lifetime value, enabling marketers to worry less about churn and focus more on authenticity. But the strength of this initial spark of connection must be reinforced by layers of trust built over time. Brands that link arms with a bigger-than-business purpose are, in subtle ways, trading marketing influence in favor of trust building. Is this scary? It doesn’t need to be.


 
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THE FEMALE FOUNDERS FUND IS CHANGING THE STARTUP GAME

In the U.S., 93% of the venture capital industry— the money behind most tech companies — is male, and only 11.3% of VC partners (re: the real decision makers) are female. With numbers like that, it probably comes as no huge surprise that liquor delivery apps are thriving, while a smart breast pump can’t find serious investors. When you think about it like that, this problem isn’t just about female entrepreneurs, but female consumers as well. Thankfully, Anu Duggal and Sutian Dong, partners at the Female Founders Fund, are trying to change that.


SMALL BUSINESSES THAT CONSIDER SOCIAL IMPACT WILL SEE ONE TO THEIR BOTTOM LINE

A recent survey from America Marketing Association reveals that consumers are exposed to over 10,000 brand messages per day. And anybody with a brain understands that such revelation means for developing brands what desertification means for local farmers. Across the globe today, countries struggle with various disasters -- both natural and man-made -- that bring about insecurity and scarcity and repeated scenes of war. While these things represent the gloomy reality we live in today, it is also a test of our social obligation to be our brother’s keeper.

In response, the concept of “social impact” began to gain currency. And today, it’s hard to tell of any global leader or organization that does not in one way or the other profess a world-changing agenda. We have plenty examples of people and organizations that do this without pursuing any business objective whatsoever. But we have also seen world-changing companies that pursue social impacts and business goals simultaneously. In fact we are fast entering an age where it may be almost impossible to divorce social impact from business goals.


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