A bright future for brands that do social good

Reflecting on some of the projects we’ve worked on in the past year has left us feeling pretty good. It’s good to be part of a world where it’s no longer enough to sell products that simply satisfy the want or need of the purchaser alone. Today, many people care about a product’s social impact, and this desire to do good while purchasing is leading to more and more companies including an element of social good in their brand or product.

What is social good?

Social good is when something has benefit for a significant portion of society. Traditionally you might think of brands like Toms shoes that give made-to-order shoes to children in need, support access to safe water and provide impact grants. These days, social good also extends to brands harnessing people to engage in actions that benefit society — a brand may run a social media campaign to encourage people to vote or to donate to a cause. A local coffee shop may offer a discount off your coffee if you bring your own keep cup.

Good figures:

  • According to Fair Trade, 1.9 million farmers and workers in 71 countries are members of 1,880 Fairtrade certified producer organisations. 209,000 Fairtrade certified farmers across the world are part of Ben & Jerry’s supply chain alone!
  • According to Accenture’s 2018 Global Consumer Pulse Research, 62% of global consumers want companies to take a stand on issues they are passionate about and 64% find brands that actively communicate their purpose more attractive.
  • IR Magazine’s 2020 Corporate Study reported that high-purpose brands will double their market value more than four times faster than low-purpose brands and will create much higher levels of total shareholder returns.

“In the new world of companies being less about profit and more about doing good for the community, it’s great to help grow someone’s dream.”

Phill Small, Creative Director of Watermark Creative

C.A.N changing the world one can at a time

C.A.N (Create Action Now) is a low sugar, low cal vodka + soda and 10% of profits go to Aussie conservation efforts.

Watermark Creative’s Loryn Engelsman was engaged by The Key Brand Agency to create a suite of illustrations that reflected a diverse group of people with a wide range of quirks and styles as a reflection of all the different people you would see day-to-day. A true ‘community of heroes’.

Loryn’s aim was to draw a range of characters that anyone could look at and see themselves in, to hopefully inspire them to pick up a box of C.A.Ns and support a charity while doing so! Her imagery has been used across marketing material including the website and packaging.

The brand launched with a contribution to Conservation Volunteers Australia’s ‘Sea to Source’ project – a community-focused scheme that aims to stop plastics and other litter from entering our oceans. C.A.N will also be donating 10% of all profits to other conservation organisations like Wild Ark. And as part of these partnerships, the C.A.N team will be volunteering their time to help with ongoing conservation efforts.

Bon Appe’Sweet — a proudly woke brand that believes in liberty and justice, for ALL

Bon Appe’Sweet is a range of artisanal cane sugar-free gelato and chocolate bars. Founded by Thereasa Black, a naval officer, attorney, entrepreneur, and single mum, the idea came to her while she was serving in Djibouti as a celebration of her daughter’s love for ice cream, with no added sugar. Brand packaging is used to help raise awareness of important social issues.

Bon Appe’Sweet believes that standing up for what is right, isn’t always easy, but it is always NECESSARY, and by engaging the community to stand together, positive change can take place.

“We have stood on the side of justice since our founding and each of our pints helps to raise awareness of important social issues. Together we can make change for good.”

Current issues being supported by the brand include restoration of voting rights to people freed from prison, redressing the underfunding of public defence attorneys, fixing the money bail system an decriminalising drug addiction. Read more about their stance on these causes via their company mission.

Phill Small and Anton Petrov were briefed by The Key Brand Agency to develop and refine the brand’s tree logo.

The tree combines brand history, brand beliefs and symbolism to create a rich graphic icon. Its branches incorporate three Adinkra symbols from West African culture — symbols that represent concepts or aphorisms. The Bon Appe’Sweet tree’s symbols represent wisdom, unity in diversity and the power of love. Intertwined within the leaves of the tree are hearts representing love for family and passion for causes. Forming the trunk of the tree is the image of Lady Justice, with a small hidden ice cream at the foot of the trunk.

Earlier this year Bon AppéSweet was chosen as winner of The Empower Project’s Power Pitch event. The Empower Project was created by a consortium of 11 firms with the intention of amplifying the voices of Black-owned businesses in the consumer packaged goods space — social good for social good.

Karma Kola – Good for the land, good for the people, good for you

Fair Trade brand Karma Cola uses cola nuts ethically sourced from a small village in Sierra Leone. The word ‘karma’ came from an idea the three founders had about forming a company to find ingredients that were good for the land, good for the people who grow them and good for the people consume them.

The brand has become a global ‘feel good’ success. Chris Morrison, one of Karma Drinks’ founding members was recognised in New Zealand’s 2021 New Year Honours list, which recognises Kiwis who have served the community and achieved great things.

To date the fund has been used to support farming communities in 8 villages in Sierra Leone and producers around the world. It’s helped to build 3 bridges, provided bursaries for 133 girls to go to school and established a revolving fund that has invested in more than 50 local entrepreneurs. It certainly feels good to have been part of this story!

WMC artist Joseph Qiu was briefed by Karma Cola to create illustrations for the brand’s Christmas campaign, which was run in the London Underground. Joseph did an amazing job of capturing the character and festive spirit of Chief Hindowa Kamara, Chief of one of the villages that grow and farm Karma Cola’s Cola Nut.

Chief Hindowa Kamara, Chief of one of the villages that grow and farm Karma Cola’s Cola Nut

The brand’s latest product is called ‘Too Damn Hot’. 100% of profits from the new product (described as an ‘extra hot soda) will go to The Karma Foundation to help rehabilitate 30,000 trees in the Gola rainforest in Sierra Leone, where we will work with our grower communities to fight for climate justice.

A 2020 global study analysing the business value of brands having a well understood “Purpose” revealed that consumers are four to six times more likely to purchase, protect and champion purpose-driven companies.

“These findings shed new light and unequivocal proof that the companies who lead with purpose will see stronger reputation, brand affinity and bottom-line results,” Alison DaSilva of report authors Zeno Group told Forbes magazine.