A SOCAP Guest Post by Justin Belleme, Marketing Manager for SOCAP
Social ventures and nonprofits face a unique set of branding and marketing challenges and opportunities.
Innovative business models and positive social and environmental impacts make for compelling storytelling and messaging. Engaging digital content can attract the people you need to your organization or movement while spreading stories that move hearts, minds, hands, and feet.
On the other hand, digital marketing tools and platforms have multiplied. Best practices are changing rapidly. New technologies have presented a host of new complex ethical and legal hazards. Budgets are tight. Many social entrepreneurs know they need to do a better job of communicating who they are and what they do, but don’t know where to begin. Many lack awareness of what stories they should be telling or who they should be trying to reach. Founders and leaders are often too close to their work to see what sets their organization apart.
Over the last few years I’ve had the opportunity to organize and moderate panels at SOCAP focused on marketing and branding for social impact organizations. In these sessions I have heard entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders mention these same challenges again and again.
To give social impact organization leaders the opportunity to explore these options in more depth, this year we are offering The Impact Growth Workshop, a half-day event focused on branding and design, marketing and communications, campaign analytics and reporting, and the ethical issues concerning big data and consumer privacy that are coming up around those topics.
This workshop is a separate, ticketed event happening at Fort Mason on the morning of Tuesday, October 22nd, just before SOCAP19 officially kicks off. Experts will share their knowledge and lead conversations on all aspects of branding and digital marketing. The goal of this event is to teach social impact organizations how to use these tools to their best advantage.
What You’ll Learn
At the Impact Growth Workshop we’re going to help organizations uncover your best stories, discover whether or not you are in a position to build a movement, and build effective branding and digital content marketing that will help you create a greater impact.
Experienced panelists will share their knowledge on all aspects of branding and digital marketing and teach social ventures how to use these tools effectively. Here are a few of the topics we will touch on at the Impact Growth Workshop before SOCAP19:
Are You Building a Movement and Expressing your Brand’s Soul?
The marketplace is too crowded today to build your business on your own–there is too much noise to cut through. In order to accelerate growth, create excitement around your brand, and take your company to the next level, your brand must become a movement. It must become a collective effort by everyone in your community, from suppliers to employees to customers, to promote your brand and its products or services.
Simon Mainwaring, Founder & CEO of We First Branding and a New York Times bestselling author, will will deliver an address on the topic of How to Turn Your Brand Into a High-Growth Movement. In a following workshop, he’ll explain exactly how to do that so that it’s not just you building your business, but everyone who touches your brand.
Not all brands are ready to build a movement. Businesses must first identify, understand and fully embody their brand both internally and externally. As workshop leader, Thomas Cumberbatch of Godzspeed Communications puts it, “can we fathom the new worlds of opportunity that arise when we can live into our deepest identity at every level of our business every day?” After Simon’s presentation, Thomas will be leading a workshop about getting to the core of your brand called Building a Brand with Soul.
To wrap up our content on movement building, Anthea Kelsick, the Chief Marketing Officer of B Lab will moderate a panel discussion with leading figures from two B Corps, Allbirds and Revolution Foods on growing the B economy movement and how telling your story can be part of that growth.
How to Make Sure Your Marketing Aligns with Your Values
In the current digital marketing landscape, it is harder than you might realize to align your marketing and advertising with your values. There are growing ethical pitfalls found within the platforms, targeting, and reporting tactics of digital advertising. In my opinion, many well-intentioned organizations and marketing teams have critical blind spots and pressures that lead them to overlook major ethical issues.
Many of the current best practices utilize tools, technologies, and platforms that aren’t transparent about how they work or what data they’re utilizing. So if you’re just going along with what you’re reading online, or what most marketing consultants or vendors are suggesting that you do, you might be doing things that are not ethical, or even legal, without realizing it. The Impact Growth Workshop will dig into these issues through two panel discussions, one focused on audience targeting and one covering reporting and analytics.
It’s not only a lack of understanding that is driving unethical marketing decisions, it is also the pressure that comes with running a social venture. For-profit social entrepreneurs still have to hit their numbers and get to a certain scale in order to attract their next investor. They have to reach a certain number of customers in order to break even and be able to pay themselves. The same can be true for nonprofits in reaching their fundraising goals. And when you have that pressure coming from your investors, your board, your own team, your family, all the stakeholders who are relying on you to bring in the money that you need to keep your business or nonprofit going, you may be willing to sacrifice the ethics of your marketing to get to the goals you want to achieve.
I’ve even heard people say we’re going to have this amazing impact when we’re at scale. So I’m fine with targeting people by any means necessary. I want to have that conversation in a place with people who understand the technology, the ethical dilemmas, and the changing landscape of regulations.
Impact Media and Communications
Our panel on impact media and communications will bring a unique perspective on the topic of how to make impact data interesting. The content teams at NextBillion and Devex have put a lot of energy and effort into understanding how to write content about impact metrics in a way that is appealing to readers. Others on the panel have been on the other side where they’re trying to get communication strategies implemented and are working with the media. Media experts on the panel have all been in this industry for many years and have seen a lot content and pitches and have done investigative reporting content as well as brand features. They’ve seen a lot of publications come and go and rise and fall in the space.
There will be content that’s really relevant for entrepreneurs and leaders who are running impact organizations, executive directors, founders, CEOs, as well as internal marketing people, marketing communications, brand managers, and product managers within organizations of any size. We’ll have a lot of good content for people who are providing services, consultants, freelance designers, and freelance creatives.
Learn How to Make a Greater Impact: Join Us at The Impact Growth Workshop
We have brought together over 20 workshop leaders, panelists, moderators, and speakers to produce a total of 10 sessions. We’ll start with a big picture movement building and branding conversation. We’ll also talk a little bit about journalism and communications and how to get your message out beyond your own channels. We’ll move into conversations about strategy, design, and targeting and then we’ll wrap up with a discussion about movement within the greater economy, towards social impact reporting and tracking as well as the related ethical concerns.
We hope attendees will walk away from these sessions more knowledgeable, inspired and activated to do the work.
Explore today’s best practices for branding, marketing, and design at the Impact Growth Workshop on Tuesday, October 22nd at the Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture just before the kickoff of SOCAP19.
Learn more and get your tickets for the Impact Growth Workshop
The following resources share insights from a few of the experts that will be participating in the Impact Growth Workshop:
What’s the Story? Tips on Marketing Your Purpose-Driven Business Experts from Athleta and B Lab Share Brand-Building Advice
Discovering Your Brand’s Soul: Thomas Cumberbatch on How to Solve Your Identity Crisis
Watch keynote speaker Simon Mainwaring on stage at TEDxSF:
Justin Belleme has led SOCAP’s marketing team since 2015. He is the Founder and Director of Strategy at JB Media Group, the B Corp Certified digital marketing agency that has served as SOCAP’s marketing partner since 2015