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Why Making a Positive Impact is Essential

for Today's Businesses. Unpack the reasons behind why your business should endeavor to be a force for good.

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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EXPERT OPINION BY HEATHER WILDE, CTO, THEDIFFERENCE@HEATHRIEL

What does your brand stand for? It's a pertinent question for any entrepreneur and one that has become increasingly worth considering in today's business environment. It is now more important than ever for businesses to find ways to be a force for good.

While finding a way to be a force for good can sometimes seem easier said than done, it can be well worth the effort. Here's why this should be a point of emphasis for any business.

Your customers want to make a difference.

Today's customers are increasingly conscious of their impact on the world around them -- and this extends to their buying choices. According to research from the Adventure Travel Trade Association, Ninety-six percent of consumers feel that their actions can make a positive difference in the world -- and 88 percent want the brands they do business with to help them in these efforts.

Notably, 91 percent of consumers are even willing to change their buying behaviors if they can buy from a brand associated with a good cause, while 90 percent say they would boycott brands that behave irresponsibly.

While these sentiments aren't always carried out in such large proportions, the fact remains that aligning a brand with a "good cause" can be a powerful motivator for consumers who share similar beliefs and values.

For example, workout and athleisure apparel brand Born Primitive made headlines by donating 100 percent of its Veterans Day weekend profits to veterans-related charities. The brand's co-founder and CEO, Bear Handlon, specifically cited the response from customers who also valued veteran-affiliated causes in helping it achieve its goal of making a $100,000 donation.

A more sustainable future benefits all.

Many brands increasingly focus on sustainability measures that help the environment and society as part of their effort to be a force for good. Efforts such as going green don't just have the potential to help the planet -- they can also directly impact your business operations.

For example, research from McKinsey & Company found that improved resource efficiency and sustainability efforts can improve a company's operating profits by as much as 60 percent. 

Doing good through inclusivity and sustainability efforts is also important for attracting and retaining top talent. Research shows that 51 percent of business students in the United States are willing to take lower pay to work at an environmentally responsible company. Deloitte notes that "inclusive" companies achieve 22 percent higher productivity than their competitors -- which also correlates with a 27 percent greater profitability.

As such, the efforts a brand makes to do good can directly improve its operating efficiency, setting it up to be better able to compete within its niche.

Finding ways to make a difference.

Because "doing good" can directly impact a brand's operating costs, employee retention, productivity, and even its ability to attract customers, finding ways to make a difference should be a top priority for any brand. 

Brands should look for causes that align with their brand identity, including their customers' and employees' beliefs and values. Consider which causes are most important to you individually, as these are the causes to which you will authentically be able to give your best effort.

This could entail donating to a nonprofit, having your team volunteer at a local charitable organization, or committing to (and following through on) key environmental practices. Consider your business's current and future capabilities. You may have to start relatively small, but you can grow your impact as your business grows.

Finally, carefully evaluate the potential impact of your chosen option for doing good. These efforts need to be able to produce more than a one-time PR statement about how your brand is trying to make a difference. Long-term impact yields better results for the world and your company.

Become a true force for good.

Moving past the traditional business mindset of focusing on the bottom line can be challenging. Yet the most successful companies increasingly recognize that they can (and should) be more than another provider of goods and services.

By actively striving to do good in the world, companies and their customers can have a sizable impact on various causes. At the same time, businesses will set themselves up for a stronger future.

Photo Credit: Getty Images.

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