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Leveraging the Power to Choose Products from Purpose-Minded Businesses

A recent collaboration among three Certified B Corporations transformed a trip to the grocery store for everyday items — butter, eggs, yogurt — into a consumer awareness campaign for purpose-minded businesses.

The three New England-based B Corps — Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs, Cabot Creamery, and Stonyfield Organic — teamed for a June in-store promotion that encouraged customers to consider the power of their everyday purchases, at the grocery store and beyond. In amplifying the B Corp community message to Vote Every Day by doing business with companies that consider purpose as well as profit in their decisions, the grocery promotion built awareness of B Corps by sparking discussion among consumers and creating new champions of business as a force for good.

The grocery collaboration had its roots in the Vote Every Day movement that B Lab launched last fall to encourage people to use their daily power to choose to change capitalism from a system that benefits the few to one that benefits all.

You have voice and power beyond the ballot box. By buying from, working for and doing business with B Corps, you vote for what you believe in. Every day is election day — Vote Every Day. Vote B Corp.

At Pete and Gerry’s, which partners with a network of small family farmers to sell organic, Certified Humane free range eggs, Brand Manager Libby Schwab and others wanted to build off the enthusiasm and energy of the Vote Every Day launch. “It delivered an impactful message around which all B Corps could rally,” she says.

The Pete and Gerry’s team began brainstorming how to share the Vote Every Day message with its egg-enthusiast audience and developed two campaigns to pursue.

“One was to utilize the artwork real estate on our egg carton inner lids, which proved quite successful with our consumers,” Schwab says. “It was a great way not only to further reinforce with our customers that Pete and Gerry’s is a B Corp, but also to educate on the Vote Every Day campaign message and mission. We saw lots of engagement, especially on our digital channels.”

The second idea, she says, was to band together with other B Corps that market dairy products at the grocery store for the in-store Vote Every Day promotion.

“That’s where we could encourage consumers to vote with their purchases,” Schwab says.

Finding Power in the Aisles

Pete and Gerry’s initiated the collaboration by reaching out to Stonyfield and Cabot and organizing a call to advance the project. From idea inception to execution, the process took about seven months, timed for June to align with dairy promotion month at the Big Y, the grocer where it occurred.

Marketing collateral included a half-page B Corp insert in Big Y’s weekly flyer and in-store displays to trigger consumer awareness and engagement.

Big Y played an instrumental role in bringing the promotion to life at its 70 stores, Schwab says.

From the store personnel up to senior leadership, Big Y was a true partner and understood and appreciated the message we were out to convey,” she says. “They helped provide us the platform to directly speak to consumers about the Vote Every Day message, in the moment in which they are making purchasing decisions.”

By using a time-tested promotional method — in-store display — the B Corps were able to catch the eye of modern-minded customers.

“We know people are placing more and more importance on the ethics and business practices of the brands they are bringing into their homes,” Schwab says. “What better place to force consumers to stop and consider their purchases than at the shelf?”

Related: British B Corps Partner With Grocer to Launch Online Shop

Collaboration ‘Not a Heavy Lift’

While the participating B Corps continue to gather and evaluate sales results from the promotion, Schwab says they’re pleased with the initial results — in sales and consumer awareness. “Store-level feedback was very positive with shoppers and store personnel alike, sparking questions and conversations around ‘What is a B Corp?’ and ‘What is B Corp’s mission?’”

Clay Whitney, specialty markets manager for Cabot Creamery, says the decision to participate in the collaboration was easy.

“We jumped at the opportunity to combine our brands in a unified message to Big Y shoppers about the value of supporting B Corps,” he says. “The ‘1+1+1=4’ value of combining our brand reputations did more to promote the B Corp message than any one of us could have done in that space.”

For Schwab, the promotion was another reminder of the inherent connections, resources and power in the B Corp community.

“The greatest lesson was that this collaboration was not a heavy lift,” she says. “These B Corp co-promotional initiatives are invaluable. It’s no secret that several voices banded together speak louder than a single voice.”

Schwab encourages other B Corps to pursue collaborations that connect with consumers and create business benefits.

“By virtue of the significance behind the B Corp certification, all B Corps are like-minded. It’s crucial that we work together to educate and increase awareness around what it means to be a B, while simultaneously building the B Corp brand,” she says. “There’s no question that we want to continue to leverage the power of B Corp by executing more of these collaborations in the future.”

B the Change gathers and shares the voices from within the movement of people using business as a force for good and the community of Certified B Corporations. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the nonprofit B Lab.

Consumer Choice in the Grocery Aisles: B Corps Collaborate for Vote Every Day Campaign was originally published in B the Change on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Originally posted on B the Change - Medium by B the Change.

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