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#BizTrends2020: Don't wait for customers, create them

The concept of sustainability is a huge one, and can be quite tricky, and perhaps difficult to execute. More often than not; a focus on sustainability from a business point of view requires a change in operation and how its leaders think about almost everything. This requires one to let go of the old, and adopt the new.
Bogosi Motshegwa is a Brand Builder at Thinkerneur.

I love this definition of sustainability from Wikipedia: 
The ability to exist constantly… the capacity for the biosphere and human civilization to co-exist.
The above definition involuntarily links to the concept of the Triple Bottom Line (TBL/3BL); “…which posits that instead of one bottom line, there should be three: profit, people, and the planet.” (Investopedia, May 3, 2019).

Based on the above, sustainability is about finding the perfect balance between taking and giving. The planet and people should not suffer at the expense of profit accumulation; all of these need to co-exist harmoniously. With the same breath; profits cannot suffer at the expense of trying to save the planet or people. Let me explain:

If the only thing you want to do is to save people or the planet and not be profitable, you can run an NGO or NPO. Even then, NGOs survive on donations, and so who is going to fund them? A business needs to be profitable in order to be sustainable, so that it can add value to society by creating jobs, thereby contributing to the growth of the economy, creating financially active citizens.

Responsible brands are big business in SA

The 2015 Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report shows that 68% of South African consumers are willing to pay more for brands that come from companies who are committed to positive social and environmental impact...

Issued by Nielsen 9 Dec 2015

Doing good genuinely (DGG)

But I’d like to focus on a particular topic that I think is very important. Social investment by brands. Corporate Social Investment/Responsibility (CSI/R) has literally run its course of ‘relevance and impact’ as a concept. I also don’t think that CSI is approached with the genuineness that it deserves. Make no mistake, many companies spend a lot of money giving back and doing good for people and the environment, and there are certainly many people who benefit from these efforts.

For many; CSI is a grudge and reluctant must-do tick-box, that is mostly executed by demotivated staff as an afterthought. I believe that social investment needs a new lens.

#YPOEdge: James Barty on brand humanity and doing good business, beyond ticking the 'CSI box'

Leigh Andrews speaks to King James founder and YPO member James Barty about what he gains from his involvement in YPO and how all businesses can make a better impact...

By Leigh Andrews 14 Mar 2019

Doing Good Genuinely (DGG) is the new CSI.

The people’s point of view

CSI is naturally from a corporate’s point of view, and therefore the new lens needs us to look at efforts or initiatives from the people’s point of view. Usually, there’s little time invested in establishing or discerning what’s needed by people.

Helping through the people’s lens enables you to do good genuinely.

There’s no budget for that

People are in so much need, and there’s a lot that can be done, and yet, brands never seem to have the budget to help. The #KFCProposal revealed one thing, and that is the fact that if brands really wanted to help; they could assert themselves positively, and invest in people.

This is the exact reason why AKA decided to organise the #FeesForAllMegaConcert. He has been giving away his money to help students get through their studies, and therefore the concert proves that his actions are genuine and not for clout or relevance.

The only reason that most brands jumped onto the #KFCProposal bandwagon was out of FOMO; missing out on being perceived as relevant and “doing good”. The risk of not participating was actually greater than the cost of pledging.

Don’t wait for customers, create them

Above, I defined suitability as the act of finding the perfect balance between taking and giving. Our economy is not growing, people find it difficult to find jobs and corporates are constantly retrenching, and yet, brands expect to penetrate new markets and grow their profits. This makes no sense. Brands are not stimulating or planting investment seeds into people, and yet, they eagerly wait to harvest when people become financially active.

Banks for example; all expect people to bank with them, and yet more and more people are losing their jobs. This basically means that the bankable pool is getting smaller and smaller. My assumption is that the majority of people who have opened TymeBank accounts for example (congratulations to them for reaching 1 million accounts), are already banked. If they all switch to TymeBank, that will not be an indicator of growth in the economy, it’ll just mean that the bigger market is still the same if not smaller, and the only difference is that market share will shift from other banks to TymeBank.

Customer experience will make or break traditional banks

This is a watershed year for the banking sector as traditional banks face intense competition and disruption from new entrants such as Discovery Bank, Bank Zero and TymeBank...

27 Mar 2019

What if; what if banks, or any brand, instead of doing traditional advertising; they stimulated the economy by investing in people so that they can be economically active through the production of value, and the quid pro quo is that those who have been helped get to bank or do business with those who helped them? What if, instead of always trying to fish from the same pond, brands started creating new ponds?
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Great article.I'll read up some more on the concepts presented.
Posted on 6 Jan 2020 12:45
I always enjoy reading your perspectives. It’s true we need to create new ponds, start thinking creatively as to what is needed in the market.
Posted on 6 Jan 2020 18:03
I agree 109 percent,great minds think alike,that's how I always felt the whole situation should be handled,some organisations just want to harvast with out replanting the seeds back on the ground so they can harvast some more in the near future
Posted on 6 Jan 2020 19:12
Bogosi Motshegwa
Hi Anon', Thank you for reading. Thank you for the lovely feedback.
Posted on 11 Jan 2020 15:05
Bogosi Motshegwa
Hi Anon', indeed. We just need to think creatively. And thank you such great feedback. You are too kind, Anony'.
Posted on 11 Jan 2020 15:06
Bogosi Motshegwa
Absolutely. Totally illogical. Hopefully, brands and mostly the private sector will adhere and do something great for people, whilst benefiting.
Posted on 11 Jan 2020 15:08


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