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Marketing for Good

Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

Purpose-driven companies come in all shapes and sizes but we typically think of the big brands like Patagonia, TOMS, and REI when thinking of companies that do good. While there’s nothing wrong with these examples of companies that lead with purpose, we overlook the companies in our own communities that operate this way on a smaller scale.

We recently chatted with Christine Bunker Deye about what Marketing for Good looks like for smaller companies like our community of entrepreneurs and freelancers. As a result of that conversation, we pulled together a list of local Ohio companies that showcase that it isn’t just big brands who can lead with purpose. We organized our list around the 7 principles outlined in Afdhel Aziz’s book Good is the New Cool: Market Like You Give a Damn.

12 Local Columbus Brands that Showcase Marketing for Good

  1. Know Your Purpose: know what you care about and prioritize it

    • Roosevelt Coffee House knows their purpose and brings it front and center in everything they do. Whenever you buy coffee from Roosevelt, you know you’re supporting more than just the coffeehouse. You’re supporting the “efforts of those working to fight the local and global injustices of unclean water, hunger, and human trafficking”. Learn more by downloading their impact report.

    • Aunt Flow is on a mission to ensure everyone has access to menstrual products. Founder Claire Coder started the business after getting her period in public without the supplies she needed and has been on a mission to make sure everyone has access to quality menstrual products. These products are expensive and not covered by other government programs, so for every 10 products purchased, they donate to menstruators in need to level the field. Support Aunt Flow by stocking their products at home, the office, and school. Its purpose is the business.

  2. Find Your Allies: brands and nonprofits can join forces to collaborate in ways that increase their impact

    • Reuse Revolution is a local zero waste shop in Dublin that aims to make sustainable living accessible. They multiply their impact by partnering with other organizations like Terra Cycle and One Tree Planted. By working together, they’re able to divert more waste from landfills and plant more trees than their small shop could do on their own. To live more sustainably, check out Reuse Revolution.

    • Jeni’s + The Lox Bagel Shop recently teamed up to bring a favorite ice cream flavor to life as a bagel (Limited time only, sorry if you missed it!). It was magical and garnered tons of excitement and local press. By joining forces, they were able to bring attention to a local non-profit in the Linden area as well as raise, much-needed, financial assistance for St. Stephen’s Community House. By using their platforms and creativity for good, these two local favorites were able to make a big impact. To read more about their collaboration, check out this article.

  3. Think Citizens, Not Consumers: your customers are citizens first, so think of them as more than a transaction

    • Ghost Label Video. During the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, Ghost Label video used their expertise and platform to raise up voices of color from our community. They knew their customers cared about the movement and chose to create a series to share stories instead of sell services. This provided transformational value to their customers and allowed them to connect on a deeper level beyond the sale. Watch one of the videos here.

    • Snowville Creamery cares deeply about its customers who care about the treatment of animals and consuming healthy, delicious products. Snowville has created dairy products that support the lifestyle of their customers while also providing their dairy cows with the best treatment possible. By going above and beyond, Snowville is able to connect with its customers as citizens of the world with shared values and discussions around GMOs, organic labels, sustainability, and more. Learn more about this special company here.

  4. Lead with the Cool: inspire people with great design and a compelling story, then bake in the good

    • Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has come a long way since its humble start in the North market. Today, you see Jeni’s Ice Cream being eaten coast to coast. Their pastel marketing catches your eye. The flavors make your mouth water just hearing about them. And, they do amazing work behind the scenes that doesn’t get talked about often enough from zero-waste scoop shops to partnering with local suppliers to non-profit collaborations and community support. They lead with the cool and bake in the good like no other. Try one of Jeni’s amazing ice cream flavors here.

    • Spritz Tea produces sparkling teas that are effervescent and delicious; bringing a smile to your face. They also want to help women in our local community, so they devote a percentage of every sale to women-focused non-profits as a way to give back. Women supporting women is baked into their company at the foundation. Try a Spritz today.

  5. Don’t Advertise, Solve Problems: where does useful and delightful come together for your business?

    • Hot Chicken Takeover goes above and beyond serving tasty Nashville hot chicken. They use their restaurants to solve a problem in our community. “HCT provides supportive jobs to men and women who need a fair chance at work. No matter the circumstances — homelessness, previous incarceration, or other barriers to employment — HCT is focused on the future and is dedicated to offering team members meaningful benefits, such as financial stability, personal growth, and professional development.” Now, isn’t that incredible? Taste their offerings here.

    • We are all in this together. This sentiment became a collaboration between local companies at the beginning of the pandemic to serve meals to those in need. HOMAGE, Pelotonia, Roosevelt Coffee Roasters, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, and Hot Chicken Takeover joined forces to reinvest in our community at a time when their own livelihoods were compromised due to shutdowns.

  6. People are the New Media: this is straight-up word-of-mouth marketing.

    • Pelotonia wants to end cancer. They use the power of word-of-mouth marketing to gather riders for their annual fundraising event as well and helping each of those riders raise money for the cause. They create experiences for each participant (rider and virtual) that can be used on social media. They provide emails for each rider to use to spread the word and make it easy for everyone to feel connected to the cause. Ride this year to help end cancer.

  7. Back Up the Promise With Proof: don’t just talk about it, act on it.

    • Crazy Richard’s Peanut Butter has beyond the previous 6 principles to become a Certified B Corporation. [link:] They’ve chosen to back up their promise with proof. B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability meaning that you can rest assured that by buying Crazy Richard’s delicious nut butter products, your money goes towards supporting more than just the company itself. Learn more here.

What other Central Ohio companies come to mind when you read through these examples of doing good? We’d love for you to share their stories with us.

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