Digital Marketing, SEO and My Life as a 20-Something

Tag: social impact

Social Enterprise Brand Feature: Who Gives A Crap

In my previous post, I talked about how social entrepreneurs can create strong social business brands and effective marketing campaigns. This week I’ll be highlighting a social enterprise who’s brand and marketing activities put all of my social enterprise marketing best practices into action. (DIdn’t read my last post? Don’t worry. Scroll to the bottom of this page for a checklist that will get you caught up!) Who Gives A Crap is a fantastic social enterprise with a unique, memorable brand and an important social mission. Keep reading to learn more about them, their work and their marketing!

Introducing Who Gives A Crap

Who Gives A Crap is a social enterprise that sells toilet paper. Yes, you read that right, toilet paper! When their founders learned that 2.3 billion people in the world (about 40% of the global population) don’t have access to a toilet, they were inspired to act. Who Gives A Crap sells toilet paper made from environmentally friendly products, with 50% of their profits donated to non-profits working to improve access to toilets, clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in developing countries.

Who Gives A Crap Toilet Paper

Their Brand

I fell in love with Who Gives A Crap’s branding the moment I saw it. The funny, attention grabbing name. The bright and eye-catching, yet simple colours and design. The humorous brand voice. This unique, colourful branding remains consistent across their website, product packaging and social media accounts so you always know what to expect. When I discovered Who Gives A Crap, I knew I had to include them in this article because they are such a memorable, unique brand.

Their Product and Packaging

As I mentioned above, Who Gives A Crap sells primarily toilet paper, but also other household products such as tissues and paper towels. They offer a high-quality product comparable to, if not better than traditional toilet paper brands (they were Australia’s #1 toilet paper, after winning the award for most satisfied customers in Canstar Blue’s 2017 toilet paper review!). As far as pricing goes, it wouldn’t beat the bargain brands but has a reasonable and competitive price point that makes it a strong contender when shopping for toilet paper. They even have a subscription service so you can get your toilet paper delivered to your doorstep.

Each toilet paper roll is individually wrapped in paper packaging with a colourful design. Their customers often share pictures of their toilet paper rolls on social media…I can’t say I’ve ever seen that for any other toilet paper brand! Beyond being eye-catching and insta-worthy, wrapping each roll individually in paper helps them avoid using plastic packaging (which we all know is bad for our earth).

Their Digital Marketing

Who Gives A Crap is not a social business who is afraid of marketing; they have an excellent website and use both social media and e-mail marketing. Who Gives A Crap does an effective job of balancing sharing and leveraging their social impact story with putting their product first in their marketing messages. Visitors to their website are certainly aware of the positive impact the product has beyond meeting their own needs. As they say themselves, “Good for the world, good for people, good for your bum.” But their value proposition is not centred on the social impact, it is simply an added bonus of the customer’s purchase.

Who Gives A Crap keeps their colourful and humorous brand consistent across all of their digital marketing platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. They share both owned and curated content with a focus on being funny. They utilize lots of images and graphics that stick to their colourful brand, often using their own products and packaging in the posts themselves (sometimes with a dog thrown in!). In the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom they use paid social media ads that focus on driving conversions by advertising free shipping on most orders and sharing their subscription service.

Who Gives A Crap isn’t afraid to be funny! This humorous tone is consistent across all of their marketing channels.

 

Transparency

While they may not make their model of change their unique selling point (remember, that’s good!), they do an excellent job of being transparent about their model of change, their business activities and their social impact. In clear and easy to understand language, they explain and provide proof of how much they donate to charity and what it’s for and how their product and packaging itself minimizes its impact on the environment. They also explain how the 50% of their profits that are not donated to charity are used to grow the business. In addition, Who Gives A Crap shares regular social impact reports that go into more detail about company activities and how they are creating a positive change in our world.

The Verdict

Overall, I definitely give a crap about Who Gives A Crap! Their colourful, humorous brand pulled me in and stuck in my mind. I really felt that while buying their toilet paper would support a great cause, there was no doubt in my mind that I would be getting a high-quality product that would meet my needs just as well (if not better) than anything I would find in a local store. What more can you ask for from your toilet paper?

This post was supposed to highlight multiple social enterprise brands, but Who Gives A Crap is such a great brand example that I just couldn’t stop writing about them. Their unique and consistent brand, excellent digital marketing strategies and transparent business practices and model of change are an A+ example of good social enterprise marketing that all social entrepreneurs should learn from . Keep up the great marketing Who Gives A Crap!

Social Enterprise Brand Marketing

Does your social enterprise use these marketing best practices? It’s never too late to get started!

 

Social Enterprise…What Does It Really Mean?

 

This is the first in a four-part series where I explore marketing and branding in the social enterprise industry. Today’s post demystifies the world of social enterprise and lays the groundwork for digging in from the marketing angle. Check back on Tuesday for part two!

Social enterprise. Charity. Social innovation. Corporate social responsibility. Non-profit. Social impact. Systems change…if you have a desire to make our world a better place, then you’re probably familiar with these terms. You’ve used them yourself, you’ve probably donated time or money to organizations who label themselves as such. But do you really understand what these terms mean? Does anybody really know what they’re all about?!

Keep reading as I lay out for you what a social enterprise really is, what a social enterprise is not and why marketing for a social enterprise needs to be approached a bit differently.

First Thing’s First: What is NOT a social enterprise?

Before we get into definitions, let’s start off by clarifying what is not social enterprise. They may have elements of social innovation or social change, but the organizations and activities below are not social enterprises.

  • A non-profit organization or charity that is funded through donations, grants, government funding and/or service or membership fees
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Social programs
  • A non-profit that charges a fee for membership or goods/services offered
  • A business that donates to charity
charity donation box

If an organization is funded primarily by donations, then it is NOT a social enterprise

So, What IS a Social Enterprise?

Social entrepreneurship as a whole can be described as any sort of entrepreneurship or business that creates social value or seeks to address social issues. Therefore a social enterprise, in its broadest sense, is an entity with profit-generating activities that simultaneously work to affect positive social change.

But if only it were that simple! There about as many definitions as there are social enterprises, also known as social businesses. This is due to the varied nature of social business activities, with many different social missions and models of change, numerous revenue models and various legal structures (which are different in each country or jurisdiction). I won’t be getting into these nuances, as this is ultimately about marketing. Now, what are others saying about social enterprise?

The BC Centre for Social Enterprise says:

“Social enterprises are revenue-generating businesses with a twist. Whether operated by a non-profit organization or by a for-profit company, a social enterprise has two goals: to achieve social, cultural, community economic and/or environmental outcomes; and, to earn revenue.” -BC Centre for Social Enterprise

MaRS’ definition takes a more nuanced approach, with a distinction between social enterprise and social business. In MaRS’ view, social enterprises are strictly part of a non-profit organization, while social businesses are “commercial for-profit entities, created by social entrepreneurs to address social issues. SPBs maintain their social purpose at the core of their operations, while existing in the market economy and delivering shareholder value.”

A social enterprise, according to MaRS, is:

“ Social enterprises are revenue-generating entities generally owned and operated by a non-profit organization (which may or may not also have charitable status). Since there are no shareholders, any profits from the operation are re-invested into the work of the organization.” -MaRS

Is your understanding of social enterprise more clear now? Great, now let’s throw one more thing into the social change mix…corporate social responsibility.

Are Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Enterprise the Same Thing?

Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Enterprise often look similar, but don’t be fooled! They are two separate activities that should not be confused.

How do you distinguish between them? It’s important to ask what the role of social change is in the organization as a whole. If social change is their primary goal, then they are a social enterprise. If financial profit and delivering financial value to their shareholders is their primary activity and purpose, with social impact as a secondary or less important activity, then they are simply engaging in corporate social responsibility.

How can you determine this? Remove the social impact activities from the organization’s operations. What’s left? If removing the social impact activities removes all or most of the organization’s operations and revenue, then they would be a social business. If removing the social impact activities leaves a fully functioning and profitable operation, then what they do for the world is simply corporate social responsibility.

volunteers corporate social responsibility

Many organizations have their employees volunteer in the community. This is a great form of Corporate Social Responsibility

Is Social Enterprise Marketing Any Different From Business or Non-Profit Marketing?

If you take away the ‘social’ then you’re left with ‘enterprise’, so wouldn’t the regular rules of marketing apply?

Yes…and no.

Social businesses have incredible, unique stories that can and should be shared with the world. Stories are excellent for raising awareness of important causes, as well as brand awareness and driving sales. A social enterprise should never shy away from telling their story and sharing their impact.

But their story, I would argue, is not their value proposition. It cannot be their unique selling point. Pulling on heartstrings and making people feel good may encourage initial sales, but if the product or service you offer isn’t of high-quality or isn’t priced appropriately, will they repeat that purchase? Some will, but many won’t. And that doesn’t bode well for the long run.

To be truly sustainable long-term, social entrepreneurs need to find an optimal balance between their model of change and a high-quality end product that is competitive in the market against other businesses lacking a social mission.

As far as marketing goes, social business marketers must put product and quality first in their marketing strategy and use their story as additional leverage instead of making it the core value proposition or marketing message.

social enterprise marketing product

To succeed in marketing a social enterprise, you need to put your product first, and then tell your incredible story

 

Social enterprises are on the rise, with many social entrepreneurs finding new ways to apply business principles to social problems. Social innovation has existed for centuries. Now, the increasing number of social businesses are creating new models of change and having a positive impact on millions of lives around the world. As social entrepreneurs market their businesses and causes, they need to find a better balance between leveraging their stories and putting their product first to create sustainable business models that will expand and sustain their positive impact that our world needs.

How can they find this optimal balance? Stay tuned for next week’s post as I dive further into the world of marketing for social enterprises with best practices and strategies for building a social enterprise brand and marketing it successfully.

Sources

https://www.centreforsocialenterprise.com/what-is-social-enterprise/

https://socialenterprisestuff.wordpress.com/2011/09/25/charity-vs-social-entrepreneurship-5-differences/

https://www.marsdd.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/MaRSReport-Social-Enterprise_2012.pdf

https://www.innov8social.com/2016/07/difference-csr-social-enterprise

https://www.marsdd.com/mars-library/social-enterprise-business-models/

https://www.marsdd.com/mars-library/being-a-social-entrepreneur/

https://www.innov8social.com/2016/07/difference-csr-social-enterprise

 

 

 

 

The Friday File: February 23rd

The first in a new weekly series sharing some of what I’ve been reading and watching throughout the week.

The Power of Sharing Your Story With Students by Beth Pandolpho

Educators are human beings too, the more you show this the more successful your students’ learning experience will be. Being honest about my experiences learning French with my former ESL students helped them see me on a more human level, especially as I was pretty much the first English speaker within their community they had met who wasn’t perfectly bilingual.

Can You Afford To Risk Not Aligning Corporate And Social Purposes? by Christopher P. Skroupa, Forbes

Nope, you can’t.

The Purpose-Driven Marketer: How Patagonia Uses Storytelling To Turn Consumers Into Activists by Jeff Beer, Fast Company

Social impact and mission driven brands have been capturing a lot of my ‘I should be textbook studying but it’s alright because I’m still learning’ time lately. Career goals, right there.

Millennials’ prolonged stay at Parents Inn is having a profound impact on housing markets by Murtaza Haider and Stephen Moranis, Financial Post

Honestly this one just made me really angry because it paints an unfair picture that ignores the struggles and obstacles my generation faces in affording basics such as our own housing. I WOULD BE 100% INDEPENDENT AND NOT LIVING WITH MY MOTHER IF I COULD. But worth a read nonetheless.

Advertisers warn social media to step up, or they’re out by Ramona Pringle, CBC News

Levels of trust in various forms of media has been changing in recent years, and Canadians feel it’s increasingly difficult to trust what they read online. It will be interesting to see how social media platforms continue to respond to problems of abuse, fake news etc. and how we can find an optimal balance between personal content, brands, news and paid ads as we move forward in this constantly changing and developing landscape.