Why doing good is good business

steve taitoko unltdIn this guest post UnLtd CEO Steve Taitoko says media businesses need to look at how they are contributing in terms of social good in 2016.

Last week we received new Media i survey results, showing a record 88% of the industry believes we should be doing more to undo social issues in Australia.

It’s clear that there’s a social conscience within the creative and media communities that wants, and needs, to be acted upon. But for us to truly realise this sector’s potential to change young lives, there needs to be a shift. A shift in both; the way businesses view CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) programs, and the way individuals seize opportunities to get involved.

Why? Because “doing good” is actually good business. And it’s this realisation that will see significantly more people – and organistaions – coming forward to contribute in 2016.

From an organisation point of view, this will be fuelled by the desire and demand from employees to work for purpose that translates to meaning in people’s lives. As employers recognise their enormous potential to make a difference in the world, they’ll establish workplace cultures where people are encouraged to find the space for the important things.

For business leaders, connecting yourself and your teams to purposeful work might take some effort and reflection time initially, but the longer-term results will be evident, ie: more motivated, inspired and passionate teams.

As more and more millennials make up our workforce (by 2020, millennials will form 50% of the global workforce*) the total population of people that want to work for cause will mean purposeful work becomes non-negotiable. Every year that goes by it’s more and more of a must have – not a nice to have – for employers to weave cause-related work into people’s day jobs.

Essentially we’re talking about a growing demand for authenticity, which translates not only to CSR programs and employee culture. Company values are now guiding the way campaigns are delivered and the types of clients agencies take on board. Authenticity is key to the heart-punch because consumers are more discerning and far more selective, simply because they are more informed about what’s happening in the world.

There’s no better example of how our industry is already thinking differently than the MFA Grand Prix winner this year. The #laceitup campaign for charity Youth Off The Streets was delivered off a $12,000 budget – and beat out the likes of Coca Cola and other multi-million dollar promotions because it spoke to a cause. It put homelessness back on the national agenda. It tapped in to a real life insight around young homeless people who without a place to sleep leave their shoes on in fear of losing them.

Of the campaign the judges said: “As an industry, we talk about ‘living the brand’: this is it.

#laceitup shows what good thinking can do to your business”. And this is indeed a sign of things to come. At UnLtd we believe the pro-bono category is set to be a serious contender to take out more top awards in the future as campaigns that deliver powerful human results will continue to resonate strongly – with target audiences and judging panels alike.

When it comes to UnLtd and our mission: to undo youth disadvantage, we will start to see more open and thoughtful discussion around the underlying causes of social issues such as neglect, abuse, and youth homelessness in 2016. For our industry, a real desire to shift the public mindsets from not only “how can I contribute?” to “what are the things that matter?”

will see that the (currently unacceptable) increasing trend in youth disadvantage is reversed.

As the philanthropic foundation representing this industry, we at UnLtd have got a lot of work to do to move the dial to a point where we can say that we’re effortlessly transferring our industry’s resources to achieve major social outcomes.

It all starts with believing in the unlimited potential to change young lives. A belief we know is supported by at least 88% of the sector.

It also starts with a new mindset, and I can assure you that in 2016 we’ll see a lot more fun and celebration as an industry around the contribution we are making to undoing youth disadvantage. Not only because it’s good business – because it’s real.

  • Steve Taitoko is CEO of UnLtd

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