Social Impact is more important than ever. For the first time, purpose-driven shoppers have overtaken value-driven shoppers. Even amidst inflation. What is the difference between these two audiences? IBM Institute for Business identifies them as:

  • Purpose-driven consumers (44%) seek products and brands that align with their values and provide health and wellness benefits. They’re willing to change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact and they care about sustainability and recycling.
  • Value-driven consumers (37%) want value, convenience, and products and services that will simplify their lives. They’re less inclined to switch habits to reduce negative environmental impact.
  • Brand-driven consumers (15%) trust brands and prioritize the brand when making purchasing decisions. Compared to other groups, they have the highest average income, and they love staying on top of new trends.

Now imagine if you are a small business trying to compete in these trying times with costs + demand high. How do you grab the greatest share? Think about this—what if you could reach both purpose-driven and brand-driven consumers for your location?

The secret is to start behaving as a social impact store. Broadly speaking, social impact companies are organizations that prioritize doing work that consciously, systemically, and sustainably serves or attempts to solve a local or global community need.

The most obvious example that comes to mind is Patagonia. While you may not be able to donate all your profits back to saving the Earth, you can still do good in your own neck of the woods. Here are a few examples:

  • Bitty & Beau’s Coffee: Building a business on inclusion, the original Bitty & Beau’s Coffee: opened in Wilmington, North Carolina in January 2016. More than just a coffee shop, Bitty & Beau’s is dedicated to employing folks with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, employment can be a vehicle for independence and inclusion. With a workplace centered around community and education, Bitty & Beau’s has had incredible success, expanding from one small shop to five locations with over 120 employees.
  • Charlie’s Heart Foundation Uplifting Families: Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Charlie’s Heart Foundation seeks to help families stay together even through difficult life circumstances. The foundation makes grants to fund small non-profits doing work that aligns with their mission all around the world. For example, Charlie’s Heart has partnered with the Addis Jemari Family Empowerment Program to help families in the outskirts of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Addis Jemari Program builds relationships and provides support, including skills training, medical assistance, counseling, and financial literacy to families in need.
  • Steam Whistle Going Green: Steam Whistle, an independent brewery in Canada, is finding that sometimes doing more means doing less. To help combat climate change and pollution on a local and global level, the brewery has implemented green practices. Steam Whistle has elected to use clean, renewable energy, plus sustainable solutions for cooling and heating. The team is strategic about water conservation, and their delivery trucks run on biodiesel. By finding opportunities to go green across the company, Steam Whistle has become a brand the community trusts.

Long story short: Incorporating the pursuit of positive social impact into your local business can better position you for success in both the long and short term. Not only will you be part of creating a better world—you’ll have a compelling story that connects with your customers on a deeper level, making your brand stand out.

We’d love to dive deeper into this subject that is close to our heart (and brand). Contact us at