5×5 is a new workshop series hosted by our good friends at BBMG, a Brooklyn based brand innovation studio, to gather professionals around 5 NYC start-ups for social good and help them solve their key branding problems.

The five start-ups that participated were Ignite Good, Thinx, Drive Change, Rally, and Upraised Learning. Emense was assigned to discuss Ignite Good. But we realized that each start-up shared in the same struggle: clarity of their massage, especially when communicating the relationship between their commercial goals and social missions.

Here’s what we think: a well-structured for-profit brand with a mission achieves the mission by selling the brand. Non-profits do it the other way around, establishing their brands by promoting their missions.  

So if your business falls into the first category, of a for-profit with a cause, you may want to consider the points below when deciding on what to say about your brand:

  • Saying everything at once only confuses people and drives them away. Create layers of messaging and adjust their priority rank based on your target audiences.
  • Customers care equally or more about how the product or service can help them than how it can help others.
  • Investors will always consider how the product or service can make a profit or financially benefit before they donate.
  • Media outlets love a good story behind the scenes, whether it’s the mission, the founding story, or how the brand is helping.
  • Always include a call to action. It might be obvious, but make sure people get it.
  • Stay positive and look forward.

The biggest mistake is to assume everyone cares as much as you do. People who really care do not have to purchase to help. That’s why your brand needs to give them a reason to work with you instead of only donating to non-profits. By doing so, you make money and save the world.