Impactful storytelling is rooted in meaningful action taken by companies
B Lab is transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet. A leader in economic systems change, our global network creates standards, policies, tools, and programs for business, and we certify companies—known as B Corps—who are leading the way. To date, our community includes 400,000 workers in over 5,500 B Corps across 80 countries and 155 industries, and more than 200,000 companies manage their impact with the B Impact Assessment and the SDG Action Manager. B Lab has created and led efforts to pass over 50 corporate statutes globally that enable stakeholder governance, with over 10,000 companies using the legal framework. To learn more and join the movement, visit www.bcorporation.eu.
Can you tell us more about why B Lab developed a resource guide to help companies communicate their inclusive economy story?
More than just resources on storytelling, B Lab is focused on helping companies take meaningful action to benefit all people and the planet. We create global resources but also work locally with organizations to create changes from within. Some of those resources range from The Climate Justice Playbook for Business: How to Centre Climate Action in Climate Justice to locally-organized Masterclasses on How Companies can Recruit a Diverse Workforce. Alongside the B Impact Assessment (a free tool and framework to measure a company’s social and environmental performance), these resources help inspire companies to embed justice, equity, diversity and inclusion into their workplace and take those principles into consideration in their storytelling as well.
Why is it important to include a range of voices when telling your company’s story?
The road to building a more inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy requires all employees to lean in. Everyone should have an opportunity to be engaged in turning purpose into practice. Including a range of voices in your storytelling ensures all the people who are committed to continuously improving your business feel accepted and included in your company’s journey, and recognized as key stakeholders driving those changes. It also fosters inclusivity beyond the walls of your organization, inspiring potential hires and customers to connect with your business on a deeper level. Diversity in your storytelling helps promote diversity in the industry and the workforce for future generations to come, opening more doors and challenging biases that are still prevalent today.
What are some key lessons learned from companies that have shared their stories?
Stories need to be rooted in meaningful action. Start with the policies and initiatives you have introduced to ensure stories are not tokenistic and that your key stakeholders are given opportunities to drive change within your organization.
Inclusive storytelling should be incorporated into a company’s messaging year round. B Corp isahit is an ethical data labeling platform that not only offers job opportunities and training to women across the world, they also highlight and amplify their underrepresented voices across their social media channels.
Lend your platform to the voices that need to be heard. B Corp WeTransfer dedicated 30% of its advertising space for creatives and causes they care about. Patagonia works with hundreds of grassroots organizations, not only supporting them with resources, but amplifying their voices and causes through films, campaigns, protests and more.
Be transparent, honest and humble. No company is perfect, and sharing your journey and your learnings along the way is important to inspire others to continuously strive to improve themselves. While it is not a story about inclusivity, we’re proud to see more and more B Corps like Ace & Tate recognizing mistakes, sharing the areas they need to improve on and the progress being made.
What advice would you give entrepreneurs in terms of best communication practices for increasing your social impact?
Increasing social impact needs to start with actions rather than communications. The most effective communications are rooted in specific impact and personal stories. B Lab US & Canada has created some resources on How to Measure Diversity Internally and Build Inclusive Workplace Practices in Pursuit of Racial Equity.
How important is storytelling for helping B corporations scale, for example by attracting investment?
Effective and impactful storytelling helps the rest of the world understand and engage with your mission. It not only opens new investment opportunities, but it also attracts new partnerships and alliances as well as recruiting new employees. We are bombarded by stories every day, and vague stories about impact will get lost in the clutter. Being able to articulate how your business is making an impact while empowering and showcasing the people who are making it happen is an invitation for others to join you on your journey.
How does storytelling enable inclusive businesses to reach a broader audience and build their brand, from a marketing perspective?
People want to buy, consume and promote companies that they love – and increasingly over the past decade, that love comes from companies that they can trust and that are doing something good for the world. Building a connection with people through authentic messaging, stories, and the people behind your organization can be the difference between attracting a new customer and a brand ambassador. Storytelling in marketing is not only a mechanism to drive sales, it also creates loyalty and can inspire action, inviting your audiences to join you in making a difference.