A question often asked…
You probably can’t
But what you can do is run an intentional business, a business that aligns with your values.
I run a creative agency, that means by the nature of the business we build websites, design flyers and run advertising all in an effort to get you to engage with a company, and that engagement with a company generally means buying something.
I read an article where a marketeer who considered herself a minimalist was feeling upset, because passively The Minimalists had criticised her (at least in her opinion) when they criticised advertising, she continues to say how we all advertise, from the use of the social media to the man selling apples on the street corner. End of the day we do live in a society built on consumption, we need to keep feeding our economy. But minimalism isn’t about not buying anything, not advertising anything, it’s about intentional living, it’s about thinking about what you are doing, it’s about deciding that selling a cell phone to a 5 year old is wrong and that you don’t want to do it anymore. Furthermore that economy can be fed very well with services such as restaurants and leisure, and it can be fed in a way that doesn’t destroy the environment and make much of the population unhappy.
Where we differ as an agency is all but one of our clients sells a service, we work heavily in the sports sector, we specialising in taking small underfunded sports to the next level, increasing exposure, participation and ultimately funding.
Most sporting organisations are not for profits (even Fifa) so the more money they make the more they plough into the sport (not Fifa) creating education programmes, increasing grass root gateways, building new facilities to support further participation and supporting athletes at a performance level.
And I think we can all agree the more people participating in Sport can only be a good thing, participation in sport at a young age can have untold positive effects in later life, from team work skills, discipline, fitness, health and friendships, the list goes on.
And circling back to that client that sells something, they sell an item that you’ll buy every few years at its most frequent and has a lifespan of decades. Additionally the work we have done for them has help them grow to be a larger employer of staff than we could hope to be, it has provided opportunities for their family members and local community.
Some mornings I wake up and I see the news, a mass shooting here, a gruesome execution there, a terrorist attack again and I think “What’s the point, how can I do anything to change that” but the reality is you don’t know the effect you might have on someones life and the subsequent effect that they might have on someone else’s etc etc.
Maybe we help someone grow a business sufficiently, so that they can send their child to university, maybe that child grows up to cure cancer, create an unlimited clean energy source, or just takes a summer off to dig wells in Africa. Maybe that business employs a disenfranchised youth, feeling lonely or undervalued, maybe this job gives them hope, a purpose, friends and that intern stops them being radicalised through internet propaganda or joining a gang or selling drugs.
The only thing that will stop stupid acts of violence and all acts of violence are stupid, is education, maybe that education comes from a volunteer running a Friday night hockey club, or a small business owner giving a school leaver a chance.
End of the day I don’t know, I don’t know what effect if any my efforts will have on this world.
But what I do know is we don’t help businesses sell tat, we don’t help businesses sell things that hurt people, we don’t sell businesses anything that won’t help them and we don’t lie about what we sell and every day I think could we…. I be doing more.