There’s something beautiful about human nature in the face of adversity, seeing people rally behind causes that appeal to the good in all of us. During uncertain times, it’s all too easy to fall apart, but we still find ways come together to fight the odds based on hope that we will overcome.
Since COVID-19 first gripped the nation, there have been stories of restaurants turning into soup kitchens and thousands of food drops made to hospitals to feed our frontline workers. Rather than shutter their doors, restaurants have leaned into the cause and shifted their business to remain not just relevant but helpful. That social impact in turn makes business stronger by building a loyal and inspired customer base.
It’s that simple: do good, do well.
In fact, there’s a growing mountain of evidence to support this approach. Brands with a cause build stronger, more loyal customers—which often translates into sales. A 10-year study of 50,000 brands found that a business built upon ideals outperforms the S&P 500 by four times.
Find the need, and you’ll find the cause. You can see it happening in real time: restaurants all over the world stepping up to fill a void, feeding those who can’t feed themselves. But this short-term business model could become a long-term investment, if brands continue building on those authentic consumer connections rather than writing it off as a marketing gimmick.
People are empowered by value AND values.
Consumers see their wallets as the most effective way to drive change, whether that’s via making donations, buying products with social or environmental benefits, or even boycotting a company whose actions they don’t condone. Millennials are leading the charge—84% donate around $500 to charity every year.
Social media reinforces the idea that people want to give back, get others involved and get credit for doing so. It taps into a collective mindset of “together, we can make a difference,” calling out to the intrinsic goodness in everyone, while still fulfilling the emotional need for donors to be recognized for the act—without having to actually say it out loud. Donating money aligns easily with America’s mentality, letting us “spend” to contribute to society.
Buy into it.
The truth is, doing good makes you feel good, no matter how small the act. And that good feeling can even be addictive, as repeated small effects compound over time to make a huge difference. Businesses that have committed to that mentality—businesses built around their causes, like Patagonia, Warby Parker or REI—are able to cultivate loyal customers with an allegiance to their product. This understated business model is proven.
It’s never too late to find your cause. Or if you have one already, strengthen it. Just consider doing good as a long term investment.