Stop marketing. Start mattering

Date: 21/08/2017 Written by: Kelly 5 minutes to read.
Corporate Social Responsibility. Otherwise known as caring.

A lot of people ask me how I started Social Change UK, and how I have grown my business. For those who don’t know, we are a research and marketing agency based in Lincoln and London, working across the UK and beyond. I’m not going to talk about us or me – you can find out more about us here. I’m going to share a little secret about our success... we don't do marketing. We do mattering.


Mattering, simply put is giving a damn about something other than profit and money. Our growing obesity problem, poverty, homelessness, student unemployment… And before the money mad business people reading this blog click the back button, you might want to hear this. Businesses that do ‘mattering’ generate five times the revenue of those that don’t AND 55% of consumers globally are willing to pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact – up 10% from 2011.

Do you have a purpose?

Ask yourself, what do you do. What is your purpose? Is it to sell software, do you make clothes, do you sell cakes, do you sell accountancy or legal services? Whatever you do, and no matter how big or small you are, profit making or not profit making. You should be doing more mattering.

Why? Well, before the financial meltdown, the fastest growing trend in business was the move towards social responsibility. And although price has been a key driver for businesses since the 2008 financial meltdown, we are becoming even more intolerant towards bad practice.

In fact, the ruthless pursuit of profit at all costs almost led to a total collapse of the global financial and economic system. And this was completely unacceptable. To you, to me. To your customers.

I do a lot of research. In fact everything we as a team do is steeped in evidence and insight. So when I discovered that most people would not care if you (your organisation, business, brand...) disappeared for good, I was quite shocked. As a Xennial (you need to read Emily's blog on the different generations to find out who you are) I was upset when Woolworths shut its doors. Sentimental old me. But today you are likely to disappear quietly with no tears shred if you represent no value beyond profit making. Even established household brands cannot escape the 'I don't care' mentality. If you think because you are big people will care then think again. 74% of people to be exact do not care if you fail. Why? Because most businesses and organisations do not make a meaningful contribution to people's quality of life.

You do not matter.

In fact, only 3% of UK consumers feel that businesses are important and ‘matter’ in some way.

Stand up and stand out.

The latest research says that 86% - yes 86% of consumers believe it is important that companies stand for something other than profit. You can’t just exist to make money – well not for long anyway. I see too many businesses trying to interrupt people with adverts or emails. Buy this, buy me… and they come to me and ask me how I can help them cut through the noise. And I could talk for hours about marketing tools and techniques – about how you should be fun, easy and popular, and we can get a good return by doing this and doing that but the strategy that brings high engagement - and ultimately brand love - it is mattering.

Stop telling me you have great customer service, high quality products, fast delivery, lower price. I EXPECT this. Tell me something else. How can you help me? How can you help others? The thing is, people do not want to be interrupted by marketers or harassed by salespeople. They want to be helped. And they want to know that you help others. People want businesses to pay tax, to not use children in Indonesia to make clothes for 10p an hour... We want businesses to reduce waste, not fund crime and terrorists… and so on.

The world has changed dramatically. People no longer live, work, shop and buy as they did a decade or two ago. And yet, businesses are still trying to market and sell like it’s the 1990’s. People are not opposed to business making money… they just demand that it is done in the right way.

How do I start mattering?

You need to talk to us. We are all about mattering. but to get you thinking, let me start you off with a few tactics that you should have embedded within your business strategy. Firstly, take a look at your organisation. Even if you think you are doing everything right, are your suppliers and the people you work with doing the right thing? A lot of companies have been caught out in the past because although they had a 'good strategy' the people they commissioned had a 'bad strategy'. It's no good just recycling the waste in your office if the people you pay to take it away is chucking it into landfill. Nestle got a 'public' battering when Greenpeace found out that their suppliers in South America were using palm oil that contributed to the cutting down of rainforests. To start mattering you need to start asking questions. Of everyone.


Secondly, can you give time, develop ‘good’ products and services, deliver change programmes… If you develop software, can you develop something to help people get more active, to reduce waste at the same time as developing your core products. You might be surprised to find that in a few years your 'good' product starts to actually make your business money. There are so many problems that need solving using either technology or time - both of which is in short supply in the public and third sector.

Talk to us about mattering. Or join one of our webinars to find out what tactics you can employ to get people to love you and your brand.

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