We recently had occasion to enter our business model for a BITC award – relating to ageing workforce and ageism. As you know this is one of the aspects that we try to address as a social business. Whilst we didn’t win (perhaps some way to go as yet), there is some lovely feedback which I am sharing in the spirit of our collaborations on all things Social.
“Social and Local is an impressive business with a great social mission. The assessors were impressed by the all-encompassing purpose that drives Social and Local to solve societal issues, particularly in areas that the sector is lacking. There is strong business case which is unique to the business. It is clear that Social and Local have very strong leadership from the top, which is necessary for responding to the ageing workforce and ageism. It was clear to the assessors that Social and Local lives and breathes their brand, and have strong engagement with key people both within their sector and beyond. There’s no denying that this business model is innovative and has had a positive impact on the advertising industry. The overall approach the business has taken in its sector is admirable and a beacon to the wider industry. Social and Local’s work is very inspiring, with clear evidence of both high-level impact on government policy and the wider sector, and lower level impact in terms of the individual support given to entrepreneurs.”
“Charities cannot ignore the impact the wider economy is likely to have. Continuing pressure on public finances is likely to be passed on to charities which rely on government contracts or grants. At the same time fundraising charities may struggle to raise money from people as cost-of-living increases put pressure on disposable income.”
Civil Society, 2 January
We set out to attract big names in the Charity Sector to whom our social status would appeal. Early success came in the form of Barnardo’s
and Action on Addiction
. Six years on these fantastic organisations are still with us joined by Shelter
and most recently, Royal Voluntary Service
, Marie Curie
and Breast Cancer UK (BCUK)
We have learned that our appeal goes beyond our shared values. Our flexible, IT enabled business model recognises the third sector is increasingly working with lean structures and competing financial pressures. Charities find in us an affordable, thinking partner, able to work right across the UK (and beyond), providing strategic yet practical solutions to their communications and service design challenges which help them drive income.
We are equally interested in delivering Social Value for our corporate clients as we are for delivering commercial success for our Charitable clients. So, our win to deliver a refreshed CSR Communications platform and strategy for IT Services giant TCS has given us yet another opportunity to look at things from the other perspective. Watch this space for the launch of a ground breaking strategy that will blow the socks off those stakeholders driving interest in Technology skills amongst our future generations.
Following a competitive pitch, we’ve developed a 3 – 5 year strategic and sustainable communications platform, activation plan and associated identity to support the launch of seven core business services within National Grid.
Supporting a wider culture change programme to leverage great colleague and customer experience, the focus is in demonstrating the value and worth of NGBS in contributing to the success of the business.
Aligning with the NG’s corporate brand proposition ‘Bring Energy to Life’ the brand communications platform we’ve created #TheEnergyInside
leverages the team as helpful and human – responsive, reliable people who help enable the company to fulfill its purpose.
Much still to be done, but meanwhile our client seems pleased…
‘National Grid Shared Services needed re-invigorating to build engagement and enablement within our teams and also build confidence with our colleagues. Our new Business Services identity created with Social & Local has kicked us off to a great start; bringing focus on improving our currently services and building potential for new services to support National Grid in its efficiency challenge.’
Lynsey Kitching, Head of Service Quality & Communication, National Grid
The Award is for the Institute of Internal Communications (IoIC) Central & North Awards 2018 – Most Effective Culture Change Programme, shortlisted for National Grid Business Services #TheEnergyInside
Last night we had the privilege of attending the 2017 Creative Conscience Awards. The quality of the creative work was as ever outstanding – below you will be able to see what we mean. Social & Local is as ever proud to be partnering CC and sharing 50% of our profits to leverage impact by enabling this talent to get out there into the World and make it a better place.
There’s a gap in education for chronically ill students who are not well enough to attend school. While these students receive support from the government for core subjects, there is little in place to help with non-core subjects.
As a result, Class Cast is a program that would bring the classroom to the student using video, VR and live streaming. Not only can Class Cast help chronically ill students, but it has the potential to help students around the world who lack access to education.
An interactive wellbeing exercise and learning book for children ages 7–11, helping children from a young age to learn and manage their emotions.
The book itself contains a range of exercises from breathing exercises to distraction exercises, diary entries and worry trees.
Each emotion has different coping methods and ways for the children to understand the emotion and learn why they feel this way.
The book highlights how important it is for children to be growing up and feeling comfortable talking about their emotions and expressing them as both a child, a teenager and an adult.
Billy Homan one of our sponsored Social Entrepreneurs launched his Vantola brand in July with its first ever product, the “cyclists” Rucksack. Designed by cyclists, created for explorers, the design is unique allowing users to customize to their individual need.
Vantola has charitable giving running through its DNA –
5% of the profits made from its range will go to brand connected charities offering educational travel trips for children. Perhaps one day they will mirror the success of Tom’s Shoes. I’m optimistic!
So, if there are any avid explorers amongst you then to find out more or buy a superb, British made Vantola rucksack please visit his support page here.
and …give our Billy a headstart.
Yesterday we had the privilege of being invited to share how our Social Business model works with the full team at the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. We sometimes forget that Social Business as the new black has yet to take hold and be understood as a concept for the many. Our talk was designed to inspire others to take the model seriously, not as a philanthropic gesture but as a true commercial opportunity.
Of course, Social Businesses come in a whole range of shapes and sizes, but they share a mission to use business to generate profit and to solve some of the world’s biggest problems. It’s encouraging that NatWest reports that the top 100 fastest growing social businesses worldwide achieved record-breaking 951% average growth in turnover in 2015/16 and recorded £1.3B in profits in the most recent financial year. (This of course far outstrips the sales growth posted by Britain’s top FTSE 100).
It’s interesting too that the Social Business model is beginning to take hold in the media sector, with companies like oneOeight TV growing like topsy. We note with glee that the UK Government has recently (October 16) developed a cross-governmental strategy to position the UK as a global centre for the social economy.
Our mission is to demonstrate that a Social Business in the brand communications industry can be profitable, mainstream and sustainable. It is rooted in the belief that there are big commercial prizes to match the social benefits offered by such a model. And by doing things holistically, with social value running through everything we are and do, this kind of model can also answer some of the problems our industry itself is facing. How can the industry reclaim its magnetism as having long term strategic vision, work-life balance and job security? How can a world that is overtaken by big corporate beasts offer a flavour to its clients that is not vanilla – and avoid being commoditised? How does the ad industry recruit, develop and retain the right new talent when millennials want to change the world and make an impact by doing something meaningful?
And finishing on that note, perhaps we can inspire you by sharing some stories of our own – examples of how our profit share goes to fund young creative talent to make a difference in the world. How Billy the Rucksack has been given funding support to set up his new online Social Business, how Damiano the filmmaker is creating a conversation about hate crimes in the UK with our support, how we are helping Fatma to captured the attention of the design world with her creative work on female genital mutilation – and so on and so forth.
Two years ago, the Indian Government passed legislation mandating Indian companies to set aside 2% of post-tax profits to deliver social advancement. The ruling applies to companies with profits of circa £50,000 or more. This is a significant shift given that a number of companies tell us that they are currently sharing 1% through CSR programmes.
The Indian Government has determined the key qualifying themes for funding as: Healthcare, Employment, Bio-Diversity and Gender Equality. There has been a three year lead in to allow companies to get their policies and approaches sorted. So companies will in theory be publishing their actions and focus within the next 12 months.
However, whilst window watching is useful, there’s no substitute for talking to those responsible about their progress and the challenges and how work in India is correlating with social purpose advancement in Europe. Thus in February this year, we travelled to India to meet with business leaders and learn more about how the new legislation is influencing their work and whether there were learnings for us, our clients and our own social focus.
We were fortunate to be able to speak with a range of experts – the majority, face to face in Mumbai, Pune and Chennai. We are deeply grateful to the likes of Tata & Sons, HSBC, Dow and Sandvik. We also caught up with ad industry peers Bates CHI and a number of social purpose champions.
We learned that the market is grappling with its responsibilities, not least due to a lack of understanding about the detail of compliancy. There are numerous CSR consultants on the sub-continent working to support industry, but as yet clarity is not determined. Moreover, whilst models in the West are shifting towards an integrated perspective of social purpose – their inherent customer offers and operational re-alignments, described best as ‘profit from purpose’ – India appears wedded to a focus on profit funding philanthropy.
The largest of the Indian conglomerates appear to be addressing the operational frameworks across their business interests, often setting up internal consultancy units to advise their family companies on how to proceed. Meanwhile, the Indian Oligarchy remain rooted in family control of philanthropic work as a response.
Those companies that are regional divisions of global corporations are to a great extent at the mercy of the pace of their parentage and global policy, which as yet has not necessarily recognised that India’s trading environment is going to be different.
For those immersed in purposeful work, a challenge they recognise is that social change cannot be one dimensional. Whilst they fully embrace their ability and responsibility for funding big infrastructure based initiatives, there is no co-ordinated approach to changing behaviours as yet.
So, from our perspective we learned that there are opportunities to talk about our experience and skills in behaviour change campaigning and in delivering public/private sector partnerships to leverage the best results. From a social funding perspective, we see potential to use our own social fund to finance and train up micro-local communications champions who can support and lead campaigns within their communities.
From our own corporate clients’ perspective, we see opportunities for them to bring together their peers in South East Asia and share their approaches to social purpose integration, to encourage knowledge share and capacity building. This might be amplified if mirrored Government to Government by our Public Sector faithful. For the Not for Profits for whom we work, there are new opportunities to co-create new and innovative support services and to engage with Indian companies as their activities expand.