Issue 100

In March we celebrated B-Corp month across the world. In the North East we came together with other certified B-Corporations to share our own stories and how becoming certified has impacted our organisations. As a personable, professional impact-led sales and marketing organisation, we measure impact in equal parts to return on investment.

Embedding ESG into the overall organisation’s strategy and doing the same for our clients has seen profound impact across all elements. It ensures that every aspect of environmental, societal, governance is addressed and in addition customers and our people are built into our everyday lives and business.

The danger has always been that ESG remains a tick box for many with impact rarely measured or reported on. By building this into each and every role within the business and all our activites, we come to live and breathe the philosophy. And we have done the same for many of our clients, bringing ESG to life through appointing charity partners, engaging with local communities, providing enhanced training, tree planting, litter picking, fundraising, volunteering, creating a local supply chain and supporting local businesses.

And when it comes to sales and marketing, this is represented appropriately across the organisation to ensure the brand reflects the activities and philosopy in house. With many brands facing scrutiny for celebrating events and themes yet not practising what they preach and rightly so. You cannot celebrate IWD and have a gender pay gap, nor plant a few trees to offset CO2 through excessive travel but many do.

We are no longer accepting these shows of volunteering sessions at face value – we have to believe an organisation is taking its responsibilities seriously; and not just when the PR opportunties arise. Aligning your strategy and reality is essential to creating a trusted brand and one your customers will stay with, and prospects will flock to. The way in which your business represents itself online and in person has to match and do so consistently .

Why your customers first chose you and why they stay with you could be a completely different reason. Why prospects come to you now and why they convert could hinge on the above. So how is your brand and organisation perceived?

It’s a remarkably self-refective question and one we should all ask ourselves, and every stakeholder – frequently. It’s uncomfortable (I’ve done it) and forces you to look at the values on the wall, the version you want to be, versus who you really are. Alignment of what you say and what you do is the most critical part of any structured and successful sales and marketing strategy, with ESG embedded in every aspect.

I liken it to sitting in active wear eating chocolate talking about running a race or watching sport on TV…you have to do it, not just talk about it for the impact to be evident and meaningful.

Operating in a saturated market as many of us do, I’m often asked about USP’s (unique selling points) which I long ago dismissed as extinct. However if you do not embed ESG into your overall strategy and brand positioning, that is a USP in a way – and not a good one! Perhaps we should rename it UFP (unique failing point) and create a new acronym – because the world needs more of them…

Just Williams is an impact-led sales and marketing organisation working with owner managed businesses to raise brand profile, lead generate and embed ESG.

Just Williams – Sales and Marketing

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