Every business even if it doesn’t realise it, does marketing, and when it comes to marketing, we often talk about the 4 P’s (7 for the hardcore marketers among us – but we’ll come back to that). Product, Price, Place, and Promotion plus more recently Purpose as so many businesses look further than their commercial goals and start with their why. The term People, Planet, and Profit has been doing the rounds for a while but at Local Life, we hope they’re here to stay. With the term ‘Triple Bottom Line’ being coined to cover the trio, this makes up the official framework for measuring sustainable businesses!
Despite first being coined almost 30 years ago, the Triple Bottom Line has grown in popularity in recent years thanks to the growing war on plastic and thus making many businesses think more seriously about our planet! As well as the growing publicity for equality, diversity, and mental health, so many businesses (big and small!) are now demonstrating a greater need to consider people more broadly than simply ‘consumers’.
Whatever caused the trend towards being more sustainable and well-rounded businesses with purpose, and whilst it’s great for People, Planet, and Profit, let’s face it, it’s also a great thing for brands to shout about. Whether it’s a new approach to how (and from where) you source inventory, your approach to branded merchandise, or the materials that your staff uniforms are made of, it’s worth reviewing how as a small business you’re communicating these changes to the world! It’s so important to ensure your brand is balancing its content appropriately between what’s wanted and what’s worthy… here are a few ideas to get you going….
Sometimes known as the social equity of the business, in this context, this refers to all stakeholders including suppliers, staff, shareholders, and of course customers with the objective to have fair and transparent relationships with each. Moving beyond ticking the box of CSR, businesses know there’s a need for them to have long-term, sustainable strategies to support the needs of the people around them. Safe in the knowledge that sustainable businesses attract and retain good customers and talent, if you’re a great employer, supporting apprentices, or are on a mission to drive great company culture, make sure you’re talking about it!
Whether it’s reducing the carbon emissions of the business by having a ‘green’ shop or thinking about doing this, saving the planet is a joint responsibility. Increasing genuine efforts to work more sustainably and encourage others to do the same can only improve the reputation of your brand among your customers. If you’re making progress in controlling how ethically source your business inventory is, the quantity of packaging used in the distribution of your products, your energy usage, and the radius of your customer base (the more customers closeby means less travel which means a reduced carbon footprint) then make sure you’re talking about it. Every little helps!
The traditional bottom line of measuring profits still stands because investing in people and the planet will usually involve being a profitable business in the first place, but you can still consider how you communicate your commercial results. Could you be more transparent about what you’re investing in?
And for those who are unconvinced about this broader view of measuring the business, don’t panic, being a sustainable, ethical business (with purpose!), can also be financially good for business! Not only is it easier to attract great customers and talent when you’re an ethical business, but recent studies show that on average companies that pay active attention to their wider social responsibilities are more profitable than those that don’t.
Local Life exists to bridge the gap, to enable businesses to be found by customers who are local to them, and to reduce unnecessary packaging, postage, and petrol! We’re aiming to be sustainable and enable others to be more sustainable too! Join today for free!
Something to think about, and just think, 674 words ago you’d never even heard of the ‘Triple Bottom Line’…!