Power to the People

It’s been almost two years since we began covering the charitable endeavors of optical businesses in A Greater Vision and one year since we addressed the proliferation of social purpose for business at VM’s last Global Leadership Summit.

Nonetheless, the trajectory of the trend has been slower in our industry as some optical players remain on the sidelines quietly observing what other corporations are doing before deciding on a social purpose strategy of their own. Fortunately, there are more optical companies now that are incorporating philanthropic programs into their business models. In this month’s Cover Story (Page 53) we spotlight three companies who have come up with resourceful ways to weave “profits with purpose” into the fabric of their day-to-day business plans. For those who are still considering the leap into social purpose, here are a few pointers:

You don’t have to be a multimillion dollar business or 10-location practice to effect change while connecting with your customers. Start small with a limited time project and build from there (see page 22). Select a cause that makes sense for your brand. Make sure it’s something that you as a business leader are emotionally invested in. Your efforts must be genuine and need to fit your business model in order to make that all-important customer connection. Include employees in the dialogue when selecting and executing a program. Get feedback from your customers. Stick with successes and do away with failures.

Remember, when it comes to “profits with purpose,” it’s all about building an image, setting an example and, ultimately, making a connection that is true and authentic. If customers believe purchasing your goods will effect social change, be it breast cancer research or eyecare for the needy, they will return to your business and hopefully, they’ll bring their friends and families with them.