In this day and age, sustainability is essential to the success of any business or enterprise. Has it been on your mind? Well the time is ripe for pausing to reflect to find out if incorporating sustainability into your business model might drastically improve your success rate. Here are some questions to ask yourself and explore through analysis if the answer is, YES.
“Is it the right thing to do?”
“Is it the financially rewarding thing to do?”
“Will bad things happen if we don’t do it?”
The Ultimate 10 “Whys” of Sustainability
To best answer these 3 “Whys” regarding sustainability, the Ultimate 10 “Whys” identified by Bob Willard author, speaker, and founder of Sustainability Advantage, must be explored.
Purpose activation: Will our company purpose, mission, and values be achieved if we improve our sustainability performance?
Revenue growth: How much will our revenue grow if we improve our sustainability performance?
Expense savings: How much will our carbon, energy, materials, water, waste, and other expenses be reduced if we improve our sustainability performance?
Employee hiring and retention savings: How will employee hiring and retention expenses be reduced if we improve our sustainability performance?
Employee productivity and engagement: How will employee productivity and engagement be improved if we improve our sustainability performance?
Bottom-line profit improvement: How much will our profit improve if we improve our sustainability performance?
ROI strength: Will the ROI meet our normal hurdle rate and payback period norms and by compelling enough to choose the sustainability initiatives ahead of other projects?
Balance sheet strength: Will the company balance sheet be improved if we improve our sustainability performance?
Stock market performance: Will company market valuation be improved if we improve our sustainability performance?
Risk avoidance: What will the financial risks will we incur if we don’t improve our sustainability performance?
On the journey towards sustainability, these questions are a resource to guide you towards building a more sustainable business venture. They will assist in the monetized assessment of all potential tangible and intangible benefit areas for each sustainability initiative and clarify how to best take the first step. Business entrepreneurs face so many unknowns in this world, from changes in staffing, fluctuations in the economy to social and political upheaval in parts of the world. Sustainability can be the framework to build and grow a business that is adaptable and resilient as well as one that not only generates profit but benefits people and the planet.
So what are you waiting for? Take advantage of this resource and go forth with making change for the “good of business.”
There is nothing like finding the right partnerships and collaborations to expand your reach fast. If you do it right, you not only increase your influence dramatically but your income as well.
Within a matter of weeks, by partnering with a local non-profit that was close to my heart, my company, Mind Over Markets, won a 24K Branding contract from one of their members. And that’s not all. Soon after, I was invited to speak at an event produced by the non-profit. My 45-minute presentation resulted in a robust marketing project a few months later.
It was inspired by all the powerful women of our “Women As Game Changers” Summit. After listening to their interviews, I saw an overarching theme in each of them. And here it is:
When you grow your business or organization from what you love most, you transform yourself – and the world.
That’s right. Women game changers are out to transform the world, and in the process they are transforming themselves! Now that’s paradigm shifting.
When I dug in even deeper to the interviews, what I also discovered were 4 simple, yet profound practices women game changers do without fail. In this video series, I bring to light each of them and show you how to weave them into your daily life.
“I didn’t classify myself as a game changer until I started working with Carolyn. I knew I was affecting change in the lives of people known and unknown, however, Carolyn’s coaching has greatly expanded my perception of the vastness of what I am already doing and the breadth of further possibilities. Within just three months the game and the “joy of playing it” has changed for me and those I serve. Thank you, Carolyn!”
— Karen Marie Jones Meadows, Artist & Entrepreneur, One Purpose Productions
Carolyn Parrs has been working with game changers her entire life. She has trained them, coached them, launched them, and marketed them through numerous vehicles such as Mind Over Markets, her strategic marketing communications and design company that builds brands and a better world. For over a decade, she has helped emerging and established purpose-driven businesses and organizations excel in messaging, brand presence, social media, marketing communications and more.
As a certified Marketing, Business and Life Coach, she works one-on-one and in groups with entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and small and large companies to make profound change in the world.
Carolyn is also the founder of Women Of Green, an robust online community and multi-media blog dedicated to “Turning Up the Volume” of the feminine voice in green. And most recently, she hosted and co-produced the global online summit “Women As Game Changers” featuring 27 powerful women who are changing the game on the planet for good.
In her home town of Santa Fe, she has a strong local presence as an environmental leader and advocate — and has been the past President for 3 years and Board member of their Santa Fe Green Chamber.
Her most important role however is being mom to her two children and pups, Heart and Soul. She loves to play hooky in the winter months to snow ski in the magical mountains of Santa Fe.
Want to keep your customers happy? Want to keep them coming back? Infuse some soul into your brand. Toms Shoes knows how to do it. So does Southwest airlines. They have taken the top-down branding model and turn it sideways. So instead of being in a hierarchical relationship like manufacturer/buyer or airline/customer, they have created a reciprocal relationship with their customers, or as I like to call them, their “tribe”. This brand mind-shift can happen when you infuse some soul into your brand.
What do I mean by soul? Seeing your customers as partners instead of someone to sell to. Becoming “one force with a common goal”. This mind-shift opens a whole new world for brands. This, in turn, helps you become meaningfully different in the marketplace. But remember, this is not a brand strategy or tactic, it’s a paradigm shift.
Here are 5 ways to begin.
1. Serve don’t sell
When I started my career on Madison Avenue, I worked for one of the largest advertising agencies in the world. I was a young copywriter in the creative department working on brands like Brim Coffee, Vicks vitamins, Zest, Ivory Shampoo, Tropicana and the list goes on. The agency’s motto: It isn’t creative unless it sells. Every commercial had to have 8-9 “copy points” crammed into a 30-second spot in order to sell, sell, sell the brand. The result: A culture that’s sick of getting sold to.
Smart marketers today know how much that can be a turn off to their customers. So instead of the sales pitch, they find ways to serve them instead. How can I really help you? What can I serve up to make your life easier or solve a problem? What can we do together? When a brand reframes their relationship as service, instead of selling, soul happens.
2. Give to give – not to get
This is a hard one for marketers. We were trained from the beginning that “if we give you this, we want that in return”. But just like in a relationship with someone you love, if there are strings attached, they know it. Now I am not saying that you give it all away all the time. What I am saying is when you give, let it be just that. Giving. That creates soul. And that’s a customer turn on.
The beverage company, Naked Juice, created a campaign asking their tribe to take a photo of themselves with their favorite fruit or vegetable and post it on social media. In turn, they would donate 10% of produce to charity. No strings attached. This campaign was wildly successful and engaged over 56K fans. Soul is good.
3. Engage, engage, engage
Social media has changed the game. Brands that stand on their ivory tower and drip out corporate messages in a silo, will be obsolete. Customers want to engage with brands. And the brands that create a community-like space to encourage that, get big benefits.
From the get-go Growstone, a growing medium made out of recycled glass, did that. They engaged with their tribe by asking them for help with naming products. Or giving away free t-shirts and encouraging growers to take a photo of themselves wearing it in cool places around the world. In under 3 years, their Facebook tribe went from 0-40K passionate fans. Why? Every communication we created was about eliciting a conversation, an idea, feedback, or a better way to do something. Our customers became brand advocates on their own. What could be better than that?
4. Commit to a cause or purpose
A Global Research Study called Brand Sustainable Futures polled over 30K people and revealed that 80% of consumers expect companies to play a significant part in resolving societal problems, from jobs to donations to minimizing pollution. Yes, people want brands to contribute to a meaningful purpose.
Now drive that home by taking this to a whole new level and become a purpose-driven brand. That means purpose, the “Bigger Why” you exist in the first place, is built right into your company’s culture. There are 7 essential questions to ask yourself to get to your Bigger Why. Stay tuned for that in right here in this column.
5. Let love lead the way
Now this may sound like the most unbranding thing to say, but it’s not. If you want to create committed, passionate, happy customers, love them up.
When I started my online community called Women Of Green, the Marketing Director of a green guide that showcased over 5,000 green brands asked me how I grew my tribe so fast. I immediately said to him, “Because I love them and they know it.” When your voice and heart are true, people know it. And that goes double for your clients or customers. They are human beings and can feel the difference between being talked at or talked with. Infuse your communications with a “feeling” of belonging, and you will infuse your brand with soul.
Carolyn Parrs is the CEO and Founder of Mind Over Markets, a strategic marketing communications and design company that builds brands and a better world. For over a decade, she has helped emerging and established green, sustainable, healthy, wellness and purpose-driven businesses and organizations excel in messaging, brand presence, social media, marketing communications and more.
She is also a certified Marketing, Business and Life Coach working one-on-one and in groups with entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and small and large companies to make profound change in their worlds.
Carolyn is the founder of Women Of Green, an robust online community and multi-media blog dedicated to “Turning Up the Volume” of the feminine voice in green.
She is the mother of two and lives with her daughter and pups, Heart and Soul. Carolyn loves to play hooky in the winter months to snow ski in the magical mountains of Santa Fe.
I know making an impact in your world is important to you. I also get how hard you work to build your business or launch an idea or project so that it can generate the income and the influence you dream of so you can give back BIG.
I want to make sure you don’t miss this event for visionary entrepreneurs just like you. I’m joining 28 transformational leaders who have built 6 and 7-figure businesses on exactly how they were able to achieve massive impact with their businesses. I will be speaking on “Creating a Million Dollar Message to Maximum Impact”.
My friend Lorna Li is the producer of this summit. She is on a mission to inspire 100K entrepreneurs to build businesses and create projects that make massive positive impact – it’s called 6-Figure Purpose to 7-Figure Impact on October 16 – October 31, 2015. All the speakers are going to share with you actionable, authentic, heart-based business strategies on how you can:
Inspire millions of people through social media, elevate awareness and transform our global culture
Adopt the success-oriented mindset that millionaires attribute to creating prosperity
The keys to overcoming failures and obstacles that have stood in the way of your big, beautiful vision
Cultivate leadership qualities you need to have if you want to be a world-changer
Take the first steps towards attracting a tribe of ideal fans, prospects and customers who will joyfully invest in your products and services
How you can create income NOW, if you are just getting started with your business or community project
The ONE THING you need to do if everything you’ve tried just isn’t working.
In this global, virtual event, I will share with you exactly what I did to grow my business, and how I love to give back. The world needs more heart-based entrepreneurs who are building businesses and creating projects for good, that generate profit…with principles.
You are the one the world is waiting for. Won’t you join this movement to turn business into an unstoppable force for good?
Hello Open Minded One That Can See the Forest for the Trees,
There is nothing more disruptive to the progress of the green movement than separating the so-called good guys (environmentalists, activists, green businesses, etc.) from the bad guys (corporations, capitalists, conservatives, etc.). After over a decade of being entrenched in green marketing and environmental work, I have seen enough barbs thrown at “them” – and where did that get us? As polarized as our government, that’s where. I must confess I too took shots in the early days. But like a one-night stand, it feels good in the moment, but leaves you empty in the morning.
The truth is we’re all in this together. We all breathe the same air. We all want our children to be happy and healthy. Why can’t we start there? Why can’t we come from the premise that we are one human family? Sounds too lofty? Not really…
The last few years, I have had the unique experience of consulting with a corporation some love to hate. What I found out is there are deeply devoted people inside working hard for the environment in every way they can. Go figure?
Nelson Mandela once said, “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”
Poet, David Whyte, ostensibly agrees, “…high quality conversations, held skillfully at the right time with the right people, are the foundation from which leaders are able to navigate complexity, stakeholder agendas and accelerating change. When a leader’s bright ideas, forceful edicts, and clever strategic plans fail, conversational leadership can open the gate for the emergence of cohesive and relevant possibilities.”
Here’s my advice: If the men and women in leadership positions (on both sides of the fence) can soften their hearts and drop their egos enough to sit at the table and listen, I mean really listen without holding hard and fast to their position or try to persuade the other to agree, then maybe, just maybe, together we can find a way. A middle way. By talking with one another to get clarification. By exploring possibilities that we can all live with. Not forever, but for now.
After all, the Russians love their children too. (Sting, 1985)
Oh Marketing Whiz That is Always Hungry to Learn More!
Back in 2013, The Santa Fe Reporter interviewed me and at the very end I was asked: “any final wisdom?” My last words were, “My hope is that someday we don’t even have to use the word ‘green’—it’s just the way it is.”
It’s been 12 years now that my company, Mind Over Markets, has been dedicated to helping green and socially-focused companies, organizations, and entrepreneurs take their products and services to the next level. It’s what we believe in, what we are passionate about. When we put that stake in the ground, we never looked back (even though back then “green” was used with caution in marketing because of its treehugger status and political connotations).
Well, those days are gone.
This week, the Shelton Group released a study on the effectiveness of eco buzzwords like “green,” “eco-friendly,” “sustainable,” “recyclable,” “renewable,” “low carbon footprint,” and more. The results happily report that green has gone from “niche appeal” to “baseline expectation.”
For instance, 65% of the 2,000 plus respondents said that “green was considered desirable.” And it really doesn’t matter what side of the fence you are on because 67% of them were Democrats and 62% were Republicans. Statistically insignificant.
What this really means is
green is for every business,
not just green business.
Green is quickly and steadily becoming “just the way it is” like I hoped it would. So what is your business or organization doing to be desirable, relevant, and useful in your competitive environment? Did you get your green on? And if you did, how meaningfully different are you? What story are you telling so you are really heard?
Many of you know from previous blogs that I have delved deep into a book called “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself”. What I LOVE LOVE LOVE about this book is it combines the fields of quantum physics, neuroscience, brain chemistry, biology and genetics to show you what’s truly possible in your life. It not only gives you the science, but the smarts on “how to” incorporate this potentiality into your everyday life. Real tools.
But what about your everyday business or beloved project?
For the last 25 plus years, I have worked in the marketing field (from Madison Avenue to Main Street America), and the last 12 of those I have been entrenched in green and health/wellness marketing. My company, Mind Over Markets, is the vehicle in which we help emerging and established brands excel in these markets. You’ve got to promote what you love, right?
But what my colleagues and even friends don’t know is for most of my adult life I have studied and even taught holistic healing and energy medicine. That’s right. At the University of Western Connecticut I was both the Marketing Director and an Adjunct Professor, and taught Body Therapy and Energy Therapy classes within their Institute of Holistic Health Science. I even became a certified yoga teacher to learn more about the anatomy of the body as it relates to energy.
Why am I telling you this?
Because the quantum field, which is 99% energy, is where it all happens – your life, your health, your family, your work, your business, you name it. It all exists there and when you get that, you get IT – whatever that IT is you are going for.
I am exploring this in my business and personal life with gusto, and will be sharing it with you here over the next bunch of months — how YOU can create the business or project YOU WANT by learning and working with the quantum field. That’s what I call “Quantumizing Your Business”. Sound fun?
Caution: I am by no means an expert in Quantum Physics. Just a lover of it. So we’ll be doing this together, OK? And I invite you to share your stories with me and others. I’ll even start a “Quantumize” group page on Facebook for us if you want.
If this sounds like the next great adventure for you, to apply quantum principles into your business, organization or project — and life course, then grab a copy of “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” and hang on for the ride of your life.
If I were to put the whole quantum physics thing into a single idea it would be that your mind (subjective) has an effect on your world (objective). In other words, where you direct your attention is where you put your energy. And where you put your energy is what affects your world. Make sense?
So if that is true, then what mind are you bringing to your market? How are your thoughts, habits and beliefs shaping your business?
I can’t tell you how many times during Brand Discovery Sessions, in-depth facilitated meetings we do at Mind Over Markets with new clients to learn what makes their brand so special, that I get a litany of why nots. Why this or that can’t work. Why no one really gets my brand. Why we tried that and nothing happened. And the list goes on.
When I start hearing the mounting why nots, I know exactly why their brand is not performing. The mind is a powerful thing.
This week, how about doing this single remarkable thing: Focus on what you want, not what you don’t. That simple shift can change your world. Enliven your brand. Make the phone ring.
Go ahead and try it. It works. Oh, and please Quantum One, share it with me here. I LOVE to hear and share good news from the quantum field.