Consumers—Let’s Use Our Influence to Make Business Better
Every business owner is also a consumer. And every consumer can help push business toward social transformation. We need to claim our power and influence through both our purchasing actions and our activist presence in the world (social media as well as the physical world of demonstrations, lobbying, media outreach, etc.).
We can and should support transformative businesses and put the brakes on business that has no higher purpose. And when we do this, we’re no longer just consumers—we’re citizens, participating actively to shape the society we want.
We can use
- Our dollars
- Our personal networks
- Our social media connections
- Our organizing and letter-writing abilities
- Our ability to be seen as newsworthy and get media coverage
- Our political influence
To start and support movements!
Consider a few demographic facts that show how much power we have when we act as a community:
- 76% of consumers will switch brands to support a cause
- 78% prefer green products and services
- Discretionary spending by ethnic or cultural group has tremendous influence. In the US alone, Latin-Americans control $197 billion, while African-Americans control $157 billion per year. (All of the above numbers were taken from the new book Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World.)
Think about how much informed, active citizens have accomplished in just the past 50 years. Here are just a few of the many amazing things people power has accomplished:
- 1960s: The civil rights movement that began decades earlier became strong enough to pass and enforce national legislation. UFW grape/lettuce boycotts made a significant improvement in conditions for migrant farmworkers.
- 1970s: An activist public forced the US government to end the Vietnam war. The safe energy was born and by the end of the decade, created a climate that said no to super-unsafe nuclear power in the US (followed several decades later by other countries including Germany and Italy). Worldwide, feminist consciousness changed the role of women forever.
- 1980s-90s: The South Africa divestment movement laid the groundwork for Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, his election as President in a free and fair contest, and the end of vicious apartheid. Citizens movements across Eastern Europe—including Poland’s Solidarity, led by a humble electrician who worked in a shipyard—threw out totalitarian governments.
- 1990s: The Battle of Seattle spotlighted repressive trade treaties and the oligarchy of multinational corporations that thought they could ignore governments and run roughshod over the populace. The movement around organic foods, decades old, reached critical mass and started changing the way whole nations raise and eat our food.
- 2000s: Building rapidly since the 1970s, LGBT movements started winning not just the right to marry, hold jobs, and raise children, but public acceptance. Millions of people around the world took to the streets on issues from the Iraq war to stopping catastrophic climate change.
- 2010s: Occupy (99%) and Black Lives Matter held governments accountable for economic and racial discrimination. The Climate Justice movement looked at the impact of fossil energy on poor people. Social media gave activists a powerful platform as the Arab Spring brought down oppressive governments.
If we all work together, the 2020s could be the decade when peace, plenty, planetary balance finally take center stage, because we as consumers, activists, and citizens have demanded it.
Two Useful Free Gifts to Help You Claim Your Consumer Power
Because you’re interested in the idea of consumer power, here are three resources for you. The first two are free gifts to you. The third is an organization that has done great work on many food, human rights, labor, and environmental issues—because we are so much stronger when we work together.
- A gift copy of the $9.95 ebook, Painless Green: 111 Tips to Help the Environment, Lower Your Carbon Footprint, Cut Your Budget, and Improve Your Quality of Life—With No Negative Impact on Your Lifestyle (copy and paste the code, transformpreneurconsumer).
- A sampler with several excerpts from the new book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World. This world-changing, easy-to-read book shows how business can thrive by taking on social transformation. Social change businesses don’t just go green. They don’t just have a philanthropy program. They develop products, services, and a core identity that helps turn hunger and poverty into sufficiency, war into peace, or catastrophic climate change into planetary balance. While aimed primarily at a business audience, this powerful book also shows how we as consumers have the power to encourage that path. (You’ll see the sampler link just to the right of the book cover, near the top of the page. The rest of the page has lots of information about the book and the ideas behind it.)
- The programs page of Green America, where you can get involved in one or more of their campaigns on issues ranging from opposing GMOs in our food to helping you buy clothing made without sweatshops or child labor.
If You Run or Own a Business—More Free Gifts for You
14 more gifts await you, from the slides from Shel’s popular presentation, “Impossible is a Dare” to a no-charge profitability assessment worth hundreds of dollars. Visit http://goingbeyondsustainability.com/freebies/ to claim yours.
Make it a great day for yourself by making the world better today. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels.