By: NATALIE TOPALIAN Brand Jul 5, 2016 Using Your Brand as a Force for Good It’s no secret that there’s been an overwhelming amount of tragedy and anxiety in the world lately. Every time you turn on the news, tune in to the radio, or even scroll through Facebook, you can’t avoid hearing about a mass shooting, foreign affairs, or the election. The constant reminder of negativity and strife happening around us can get to you fast—and can easily trickle into your personal life. But that doesn’t mean you have to sit back and let it happen without a fight. Be an Influencer For those of us who work in marketing, you and the brands you represent have the opportunity to influence change on a greater scale. The Marketing and Advertising industries are often discussed with negative connotations—usually muttered with a scoff and viewed with a critical eye. Are there deceitful marketing firms, ad agencies, brands, and products out there? Of course. But like most stereotypes, this isn’t true of all brands. Regardless of industry, you can use your business as a tool for positive change in the community. How to Influence Positive Change You may be thinking, “I’m just a small business with ten employees, how can I influence any positive change that can make a difference?” First of all, the positivity and good work you do don't have to be a grand gesture on a global scale; tackling issues in the community in which you live, work and play is an awesome place to direct your energy and efforts. Consider this: The Image Shoppe is a small business in a small-to-medium-sized city in the United States. We are one of twelve companies in Michigan to become a certified B Corporation (thus far)—companies whose ultimate mission is to use their business as a force for good for their employees, community and planet. Since becoming an official certified B Corp in March 2016, one of the many things we’ve been measuring is our waste. According to Duke University, each US citizen produces about 4.6 lb. of waste daily—3.25 times the amount that an employee at TIS produces per day! Since the first week of April, TIS has accumulated the following: 15.04 lb. of trash = 1.36 lb./person 65.6 lb. of recycling = 5.96 lb./person 97.42 lb. of compost = 8.86 lb./person The Impact is Real! Over the course of one year, an average American produces 1,679 lb. of trash. Based on the above calculations, a TIS employee would only produce about 497 lb. per year. That amounts to a combined savings of 13,002 lb. of trash from the landfill on an annual basis. When you look at it in the grand scheme of things, the positive changes become apparent. In addition to measuring the amount of waste, recycling and compost every week, TIS also works to make a difference in our community by volunteering with numerous local organizations, sourcing recycled and alternative fiber papers for print pieces, working with local vendors, among others. Learn more about our dedication to improving our employees, planet and community. So, Why Does it Matter? The way you make a positive impact on your community doesn’t have to be the same as ours, or your neighbor’s, or anybody else’s. Just as we are all unique as individuals, every company and brand are unique in some way, as well. And you have the opportunity to ignite change. Take this for example. Recently a few co-workers and I attended Creative Mornings at the UICA with guest speaker Carlene Pinto, Immigration Advocacy manager for The New York Immigration Coalition. Most people would argue that one single person can't make a significant impact in their community or the world, but one hour with Carlene will totally prove that assumption wrong. At age 28, Carlene has already served on more than 200 Community-Based Organizations in New York state, and also helped organize several national movements, including March2Justice and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Carlene is a prime example that to think one person can't make a difference is a crazy thought that will only hold you back from achieving greatness, or igniting important change in your community. Small steps turn into miles—don't let anyone tell you otherwise.