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Experts from Athleta and B Lab Share Brand-Building Advice

Featuring insights from B Lab’s Chief Marketing Officer Anthea Kelsick and other experts share insights.

What are the best strategies for telling the story of my B Corp?

What are today’s best practices for marketing a B Corp or social enterprise?

How can we grow our brand authority as a purpose-driven company?

Leaders of Certified B Corporations grapple with these kinds of questions all the time. At last year’s SOCAP conference, Justin Belleme of JB Media Group brought together a panel of industry experts to answer these questions and share their insights on today’s best marketing and branding practices for B Corps and other social impact organizations.

Session panelists included B Lab’s Chief Marketing Officer Anthea Kelsick and Emily Allbritten, manager of strategic initiatives at Athleta, an athleisure-wear B Corp owned by Gap Inc. Here are some of the valuable tips they shared.

JB Media Group and Athleta are part of the community of Certified B Corporations. Learn more about this growing movement of people using business as a force for good, and sign up to receive the B the Change Weekly newsletter for more stories like this one, delivered straight to your inbox once a week.

How to Tell the Story of Your B Corp Certification: Athleta’s Process

One big question that many B Corps are asking today is: How can we remain authentic while communicating our mission and our impact? Allbritten shared how Athleta tackled this challenge.

“After we went through the long process of attaining our B Corp Certification, the exciting next step was to go out and tell people about it. This was a bit of a struggle for us because the challenge and the amazing thing about the B Corp Certification is that it covers your entire business—everything from your factories, employees, products, and customers. This entire view is hard to synthesize and make digestible to consumers.

“The easiest sustainability marketing is to have one message and stand behind it: ‘Hey, many of our clothes are made out of XYZ recycled materials.’ Great, customers understand that, and it’s easy, but we wanted to encompass all the many factors that go into the B Corp Certification to our customers. The first thing we did was determine how to break the communication into areas of focus. We asked ourselves: What do we want to focus on? What do we want our customers to know about us?

“We decided to focus on three areas: sustainability of our products, reducing waste, and empowering women and girls. We’ve always had a focus on women and sustainability, so we pared our messaging down into these buckets of focus and added an education element about what is a B Corp.”

Read the rest of Allbritten’s advice here: Emily Allbritten of Athleta On Telling Your B-Corp Story with Authenticity and Heart

Purpose-Driven Marketing: Anthea Kelsick, CMO of B Lab

Kelsick has noticed that while the fundamentals of marketing certainly still apply in the impact space, B Corps and impact-focused brands face a few unique challenges that have shifted her approach to marketing in a few key ways. One of her tips was the necessity for B Corps to “engage other stakeholders to tell the story.”

“One mindset shift that is critical to marketing in the impact space is to open the tent and allow others to help you amplify your message. This is necessary for reach, but also often necessary to help supplement what are usually smaller budgets that can’t accomplish goals on their own accord.

“At B Lab, we often look to the B Corps as the megaphones for stories of the movement. Whether it’s telling their own stories or the story of the movement, as is the case for Vote Every Day, it’s the B Corps themselves who have the authenticity and the reach to carry the message. We are also exploring partnerships with other organizations and entities within our ecosystem to help drive the story.

“So a few questions to ask yourself: How do you engage all of your stakeholders in carrying the message? Whether it’s your investors or your investees, your community or employees within organizations around you — how do you actually allow others to take the message and tell it for you? There is power in engaging the collective voice to tell the story.”

Read the full article here: Purpose-Driven Marketing For Greater Impact: Tips From Anthea Kelsick, CMO of B Lab

Partnering to Build Your B Corp And Your Movement

In the Q&A that followed the panel discussion, one of the audience members asked Kelsick: “What are the differences between marketing an organization and marketing a campaign to catalyze a movement?” In her response, she emphasized partnering with a variety of allies to amplify your brand’s messaging while working collectively to build your movement.

“Movement building—and particularly purpose-driven, mission-oriented movement building—brings more credibility when it comes from a collective voice. It’s not always easy to craft a single message that can represent the voices of many, but when you do, the more powerful it is. The reason it worked for Vote Every Day was B Corps themselves were at the center of the journey, from conception to implementation. I think the tricky part of that is, how do you allow your brand to ideally live within that message?

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.

“For the Vote Every Day campaign, we were able to allow brands to have their unique voice represented in the campaign by design. We had a very tight but flexible framework that allows every brand to articulate how they allow their audiences to vote every day. And the simple iconic visual style had a flexibility that can work for any brand.

“The power of Vote Every Day is also as a communication platform that allows brands to speak to the conversations and issues that are most important to them through the lens of B Corps.”

Read the rest of her answer here: How Brands Can Work Together to Catalyze Social Change Movements: Wisdom from Anthea Kelsick of B Lab.

Mandy Gardner is the senior content writer and brand journalist at JB Media Group, a B Corp digital marketing agency that specializes in social impact marketing.

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.


What’s the Story? Tips on Marketing Your Purpose-Driven Business 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 Mandy Gardner.


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