Altruistic behavior is common throughout the animal kingdom, particularly in species with complex social structures. For example, vampire bats regularly regurgitate blood and donate it to other members of their group who have failed to feed that night, ensuring they do not starve. In numerous bird species, a breeding pair receives help in raising its young from other ‘helper’ birds, who protect the nest from predators and help to feed the fledglings. Vervet monkeys give alarm calls to warn fellow monkeys of the presence of predators, even though in doing so they attract attention to themselves, increasing their personal chance of being attacked.
For over 30 years, Yonkers, NY-based Greyston Bakery has maintained a policy that encourages anyone to apply for employment, regardless of his or her education or criminal record. Profits from their organization support daycare centers, health clinics and counseling services. Its cakes have been served in the finest restaurants and at the White House. As Rebecca Leung reported in her article, “Greyston Bakery: Let ‘Em Eat Cake,” “The bakery doesn’t hire people to make cakes. It makes cakes to hire people.”
Mike Brady, the bakery’s CEO, is committed first and foremost to helping people succeed in life. Greyston’s commitment to human growth and potential gives people a first and second chance in life and it is winning because of it.
“We are seeing a tipping point in consumer and business interest in buying from mission-based companies, and our sales have grown by over 50% in the last 4 years,” Brady said.
Social innovation is a major business model disruptor, and Greyston Bakery’s open hiring model is a perfect example of how social justice can drive competitive advantage.
Showing how your brand has concern for the community and similar values is a powerful way to build creditability. Organizations that are involved in giving back to the community and actively participate in the brand community are perceived more creditable. Sometimes called corporate citizenship, corporate social responsibility, or social good.
Studies have shown that the vast majority of Americans are more likely to trust and remain loyal to brands that are trying to make a positive difference by supporting causes.
Doing good is great for your brand. Nice guys sometimes finish first.
“Biological Altruism.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. First published Tue Jun 3, 2003; substantive revision Sun Jul 21, 2013 https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/altruism-biological/
Efron, Louis. A Company That Demonstrates the Power of Altruistic Leadership. Forbes.com. Aug 12, 2015. https://www.forbes.com/sites/louisefron/2015/08/12/a-company-that-demonstrates-the-power-of-altruistic-leadership/#4fa042ae2cba