This article is part of a series I launched at Social Change Nation – I interview social entrepreneurs from around the world for my podcast, and now you’re getting the inside scoop on the lessons they are teaching me…I’m sharing these with you so that we can learn together from these change agents. I’ll publish a new one of these 3x per week for at least a month – and even longer if you all love it & comment on it. Want to keep up? Then follow me on umano.me, subscribe to my podcast, or just link up with us at socialchangenation.com.
I recently interviewed the founder of the outdoor supply biz Cotopaxi – the way I came about the interview and incredible story of the founder is a blogpost for another day… for now, let’s talk about happened to me after chatting with Davis – Cotopaxi’s founder…
After my interview, I was so sold out on Cotopaxi and its mission, that I immediately bought – and my entire purchase process was a joy. Here are the five ways Cotopaxi turned me into a raving crusader for their business:
1.) They made me part of something larger than myself. Every product line at Cotopaxi is tied to a unique social mission – for example, the water bottle I bought is tied into a charity: water project in India. Not only is that painted on the bottle, it had a little card attached to it explaining exactly what my purchase meant. WOW. When’s the last time your Nalgene bottle did that???
2.) They provide an excellent product that is second to none. True, I ordered with my heart, but, if I had received a shoddy product, the truth is, my enthusiasm for the whole idea would’ve evaporated…this is true of any social biz: social mission does not compensate for a bad product. You must still deliver amazing quality that smashes that of your competition – that in combination with a social mission leads to rabidly loyal followers and healthier margins.
3.) I didn’t have to dig to see their heart. A lot of companies have some kind of a social mission, but (for reasons that I cannot fathom…) they don’t sell it. As a result, I have to dig through 20 webpages to figure out what social causes other companies are involved in…by then I just don’t care anymore. Cotopaxi displays its story prominently from page 1 and weaves it through every interaction with the company. That’s how it’s done – make it clear to me right away why I should be loyal to you. Cotopaxi did this, and you‘ll have too as well if you want to have successful cause based marketing.
4.) They have a story. Most businesses just choose some charitable cause to support that has no direct connection to their biz… why would you do this?? Tell me your story – explain to me how my involvement with your company fits into that. Explain to me why you chose that issue, and why it should matter to me. Cotopaxi does that insanely well. You must too if you want to market your cause.
5.) They brought me into the crusade. My package included a handwritten note, and card on my water bottle sharing the movement I had just joined – who does this??? People who truly have their heart in the right place and want to engage their fan base, that’s who.
Cotopaxi sets the standard for how cause based companies can and should bring in customers. They set the standard for how to lead with your heart and bring people into a movement. And they’re setting a new standard for a new quality of outdoor gear.
Want more stories of purpose-driven entrepreneurs? This story originally appeared in our Social Good Guide – 50 businesses. 50 causes. 50 ways to change the world. You can find them all at socialgoodshopping.com.