Don’t focus on the frills, advised VR Ferose, SVP and head of SAP Engineering Academy, in a recent article in Forbes titled 5 Radical Ideas to Re-Imagine Conferences. “When a conference is all about free T-shirts, stickers and lots of giveaways, be a little skeptical. While a bit of nudging is always helpful, overdoing it can be counter-productive. Remember all those lanyards, plastic covers for IDs, plastic bottles, and other swags we got from various events over many years?”
Especially in these environmentally conscious times, turning your attention to a community project can attract more people or give them something more tangible to remember. “Audiences have an innate want to be a part of something,” said Nina Gomez, head of operations, Singapore, CWT Meetings & Events. “They don’t want be on the sidelines anymore, they want to be a part of something bigger.”
In all types of media—B2B, consumer, association—publishers are increasingly embracing the wider corporate trend of social purpose and standing for something bigger than just the business objectives.
In Connectiv’s latest podcast, Elizabeth Green, CEO of Tulsa-based Brief Media, which serves the veterinary industry, shared how investing in the success and well-being of others, from mentoring local entrepreneurs to traveling the world to eradicate disease with the Mission Rabies project, is also translating into business success, including partnerships and employee satisfaction and retention.
“At Brief, we are emphatic about placing the right people in the right jobs,” Green told my colleague Matt Kinsman. “We do an extensive amount of personality profiling, including looking at motivating factors. My personal number one motivating factor is altruism. That is also a predominant factor company-wide (followed by hedonism—we do like to have fun) but altruism is really what motivates the majority of people that work at Brief Media.”
In 2015, Brief Media teamed with Mission Rabies, which is working to eliminate the disease by 2030. “The fact is that somewhere between 50,000 and 100,00 people a year die from rabies in Africa and India alone,” says Green. “One hundred children die each day around the world from rabies. I was horrified by that. You hear about HIV, you hear about Ebola, but I had no idea so many people die each year from rabies.”
As part of the initiative, Brief sends volunteers on two missions per year, including one to Uganda earlier in 2019 and one to Goa, India in October, which Green herself took part in. Her group vaccinated 7,000 dogs in 10 days, including 4,000 strays that they had to catch.
The human mortality rate from rabies in Goa is now zero. “The beauty of this program is that we get to use our veterinary knowledge to save lives and do it more effectively and efficiently than using the human rabies vaccine because it can break the disease cycle,” says Green.
Not lost on Green or Brief Media is the necessity of business success to fund altruism. Three years ago, the company was 90% print-driven; today, Brief sees 45% of its revenue from digital media and audience data, 30% from Plumbs Veterinary Drug, a subscription data product, and about 25% from print advertising and marketing services.
“We’ve heard for years that content is king and all of a sudden we [as an industry] believe data is king,” says Green. “We have a different philosophy here —we believe data has content. What has made Plumbs Veterinary Drug so successful is the content—it’s credible and reliable and in a format that people can easily access. For those of us who have grown up in media, it’s refreshing to know that content is still king, even in a data platform.”
Listen to the full interview and subscribe to the Connectiv BizMedia podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Deezer, Spotify and SoundCloud.