Can Good Business Solve The Connection Crisis?
We need to do the work to create a tidal wave of action. But how?
Here’s how I think businesses can work together to awaken, galvanise and become the brand activists that they can be.
This One Wild and Precious Life
There’s a passage in This One Wild and Precious Life by Sarah Wilson (the title is based on the Mary Oliver quote, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with this one wild and precious life”), that says: “Many of us are living with the sense that things are not right with the world and are in a state of spiritual PTSD. We have retreated, morally and psychologically; we are experiencing a crisis of disconnection from one another, from our true values, from joy, and from life as we feel we are meant to be living it. Sarah Wilson argues that this sense of despair and disconnection is ironically what unites us that deep down, we are all feeling that same itch for a new way of living.“
During lockdown, after reading this book and reevaluating life, I certainly felt like this. How could I use my skills and experience to do some good, rather than keep rolling in the capitalist circle I was in? How could I give more back? Despite feeling like an imposter in a world of “sustainability” I felt shame too, for all the global brand work I’d taken on over the years.
So this book really struck a chord with me at the convergence of my work life and real life and how I could align them in a ‘feel more me’ kind of way.
I was, if I'm honest, on the verge of doing something new with my career. Having burned out badly owning my last content agency, I was exploring other options. But reading this book was a catalyst for self-questioning and reflection. Is there a way I can use my skills to make a difference?
I feel like the art of quality storytelling has been lost in a world of TikTok and Reels.
I’ve been growing businesses, including my own, for more than twenty years. Helping people articulate values, live them better, and be purposeful through the form of storytelling, a hark back to studying Film at University. Helping not just the ‘already eco-conscious but showing others the way too. Doing my bit to help people buy less but buy better because it does really make a difference.
But there is so much hope if you just look for it, and a lot of opportunity. An opportunity to get outside of the echo chambers and tell powerful, purposeful stories that change on a pavement level, and through our small businesses can be a wave of impact.
The rise of the B-Corp movement is brilliant and necessary, especially here where it’s very strong, however, there are thousands, hundreds of thousands of smaller businesses that haven’t heard of B-Corp (there are 5.5 million small businesses in the UK).
Can we inspire those people to learn from brands like Patagonia:
“Earth is now our only shareholder.”
If we want to change the world, we have to tell better stories
If we're going to change the world, we absolutely need to start with telling better stories.
We want to feel seen, heard and safe. At the most basic of fundamental needs, these three things encapsulate the human experience, wrapping us up to feel worthy, and understood, like we’re learning and like we’re teaching the people of the future too.
Stories change the human brain, creating empathy and compassion and helping us make sense of what is a terrifying and crazy world. They comfort us, they help us understand and most importantly they help us feel more connected.
The mainstream media of course doesn’t want this, so it feeds us fear. This is why I think we need quality conversations outside of this. There is a place for small businesses and brands to learn from the B Corps and other "good" businesses too and I want to shine a light on them.
To help business owners put purpose first, to focus on creating impact both in terms of being an activist and also to learn how to avoid greenwashing, and how to create real and lasting conversations, not just with customers, but with everyone in your community.
I will be sharing insights, examples and inspiration for founders and businesses who want to find and articulate more purpose, to be educated and aware of how storytelling can help them grow in impact as well as profit, and how they can reach the level of impact that they’d really like.
One Love, Ruth