For her keynote talk this morning titled Mission Critical: Social Good as a Core Business Principle, Elizabeth Green (pictured), CEO and founder of niche publisher Brief Media—“our purpose is to care for veterinarians”—drew immediate positive vibes by quoting the great Jane Goodall.
“What you do makes a difference; you just have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
The happy occasion is AMPLIFY, AM&P Network’s Content & Marketing Summit—our much-welcomed and well-attended dive back into in-person events. (Yes!) Green has made making a difference a core principle of Brief Media, most specifically through a partnership with Mission Rabies, an organization working to eliminate human deaths from rabies throughout the world.
“We had an audience in the U.S. [and the means to] vocalize and educate our veterinarians.” Green said, recalling her initial reaction to a partnership. With a sponsor in hand, Brief Media has done six drives to places like Malawi and Goa—where rabies has been eliminated—over seven years (with a pause the last two) and vaccinated 65,000 dogs, saving countless lives.
She spoke of employee excitement and retention, and sustained revenue growth. “Ever since we’ve been involved in Mission Rabies, our bottom line has gone up,” she said. “I can’t say it’s tied to that, but we are seeing that growth within our organization.”
Data from a recent Axios/Harris poll found that public perception of companies is deeply impacted by how much those companies can promise a better future for society. According to the poll, companies with the most momentum included those brands putting those commitments front and center—like Brief Media.
Green offered six tips for organizations looking to follow this path.
Make it matter for you and your stakeholders. And do something that’s sustainable over a long time.
Be authentic. This is not a check box; it’s something you have a passion for, Green said, telling how she got involved with Mission Rabies. “It wasn’t a big strategic process; it was much more organic and serendipitous,” taking place at an overseas conference where she was told about the problem of rabies and that it could be solved. “I then saw someone wearing a shirt with the Mission Rabies logo on it. ‘I need to talk with you. How many people from the U.S. come on these?’ ‘No one.’ ‘I can help you.’”
Form partnerships. That discussion led to the partnership. “Partnering with a not-for-profit was among the best things we ever did,” Green said.
Look for sponsorships. “You can have a coalition of sponsorships around what you do,” Green said. She told about her initial sponsor, Merck Animal Health, which withdrew after initial doubts but then came back in strongly after seeing the impact.
Measure the impact. Take a step back from “we are making a difference” to look at the overall impact your commitment is having—on staff, company growth, retention, recruitment.
Tell the world. “It really made a difference in our profession and now for Mission Rabies, where the number of volunteers from the U.S.” increased greatly,” Green said. The more you can get volunteers to tell their stories—videos work well here—the better. “So it’s not just us saying how great this is.” Their next trip will be in January.
“We’re not seeing the Great Resignation at Brief Media,” Green said, adding they’ve been recognized many times for being one of the top small businesses to work for. “The younger generation is demanding [this type of action] in the workplace.”
It matters to customers as well. Almost 85% of millennials say it’s important that companies they buy from also align with their values, and 73% of 35-54 year olds and 60% of 55+ year olds agree—so it’s not just younger folks. In a Disqus survey, people said they pay for content to “support a publisher’s mission and success.”
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you,” Goodall said.
“Believe in what you’re doing,” Green said. “And find something that really matters. We could take the knowledge of our veterinarians and save lives in the human world.”