From the start of 2016, a record 80 businesses have been cropping up every hour. That is on top of the 608,110 businesses that were set-up in the UK last year. Yet, statistics show that half of these new businesses will fail within the first five years. Of these, approximately 70,000 of all start-ups are social enterprises. What if that number achieved 100% success? Imagine a world of social innovation on a level that we have never seen before. A world where entrepreneurial start-ups with a wide range of social focus are able to convey their vision and ideas to audiences that will engage and help them to make real social impact.
According to a 2014 government survey, 40% of consumers felt that there were not enough socially responsible businesses available to buy from in the UK. Globally, 81% of consumers say that they would consider social responsibility when deciding what to buy or where to shop. Although this does not take into consideration the breadth of social businesses being built, it serves as a litmus test for changing consumer demands.
With over a decade of experience in studios and big business, I wanted to help support social enterprises to build a future of positive change. I spoke to them about the challenges they faced and about what they were hoping to achieve. I listened to their concerns about financial limitations and time constraints, and I was inspired by their ambition. Many of these entrepreneurs wished for something that would enable them to get their core brand in place, as they either found it difficult to identify what was required or did not have the time to make it happen.
By offering some quality tools and processes I hope our 'Brand Optimist Branding toolkit' will enable start-ups to grow, thrive and ultimately achieve social impact.
The toolkit is a step-by-step process that includes:
- Defining branding and what it can do
- Identifying key target audiences and the issues they face
- Looking at your competitive landscape
- Looking at the current state of your brand
- Exercises for building your brand
- Evaluation tools for getting feedback on your new brand
- Your brand on a page
- Optional live Q&A with us
Imagine if you were able to build a powerful brand for your social enterprise; a brand that would not only speak for itself, but more importantly, for the cause that your enterprise champions.
With the feedback from this beta stage we aim to develop the kit further with insights from those who have tried it.
Over the coming weeks and months, we will also be offering tools that we believe are crucial for social enterprises. Some of these may be simple items such as a design brief, which outlines and ensures that all parties are on the same page, with clear objectives and output for projects that require design. We are also going to create a naming resource, as this process can seem a little unclear for many start-ups and organisations.
UPDATE: 5 December 2016. We have taken down and are reviewing the current toolkit to improve it for the next version. Stay tuned.