Red212 named Certified B Corporation

Red212 is very proud to announce that it has been named a Certified B Corporation.

The agency is just the third Greater Cincinnati-area business and ninth in the state of Ohio to earn Certified B Corp status.

Certified B Corporations are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

Currently, there are more than 1,600 Certified B Corps from 42 countries and over 120 industries who are part of the global movement to use business as a force for good, including Stonyfield, Patagonia, and Method Products.

“We are proud to be a part of the B Corp community. It is an honor to be listed among the many great companies across the U.S. and around the world whose mission is to use business as a force for good. It is part of our DNA here at Red212 and our team could not be more excited,” said Anne Chambers, co-founder and CEO of Red212.

For more information on B Corp, visit www.bcorporation.net.

Why We Celebrate Bill and Warren Day

On June 25, 2006, Warren Buffet, one of the most successful investors in the world and the world’s richest person at the time, made a huge announcement. Buffett pledged to give the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 10 million Class B shares of Berkshire Hathaway through annual contributions. The first year’s donation was equivalent to about $1.5 billion.

Red212 celebrated. This extremely successful businessman was making a commitment to create a better world, using business as a force for change.

One year later, no one was talking about it. We thought, “This is crazy.” So, we created Bill and Warren Day, a national holiday that honors the spirit of giving back.

In 2008, we hosted our first Bill and Warren Day celebration. Since then, we’ve welcomed a number of esteemed guests from other mission-driven companies to help us celebrate the holiday including Jonathan Greenblatt, founder of Ethos Water, and Neil Blumenthal, Co-CEO and Co-founder of Warby Parker, who even set up a pop-up shop in our conference room.

In 2010, Gates and Buffett created The Giving Pledge, an effort to help address society’s most pressing problems by inviting the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to commit to giving more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes, either during their lifetime or in their will. The idea behind it was to encourage people to talk about giving more openly and create an atmosphere that will encourage philanthropy.

There are now 158 pledgers, including notable names like Richard Branson, Diane von Furstenberg, George Lucas, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg.

Bill and Melinda Gates recently published their 2017 Annual Letter, titled “Dear Warren,” thanking Buffet for his contribution in 2006 and reflecting on the impact it has made on issues ranging from malnutrition to women’s rights to polio.

“This expanding capacity gives us a chance to solve mysteries and save lives – and that lets us end our letter with a bright look ahead,” the couple wrote.

We look forward to celebrating Bill and Warren Day again this June and further encouraging and atmosphere of giving and social consciousness. Stay tuned to find out more about our celebration, and we invite companies and individuals to pledge to celebrate at their place of business as well.

Red212 in Rio

We had an inside scoop at one of the biggest marketing events in the world: The Olympic Games. Our Social Media Coordinator, Katie Normand, visited Brazil during the games. Here’s her take on what she saw…

brazil-rio

When the 2016 Summer Olympics kicked off a few weeks ago, Brazil shocked the world with a controversial Opening Ceremonies, addressing colonialism, slavery, and global warming. It was a portrayal of the greater theme that’s plastered all over the streets of Rio: “Um mundo novo” – a new world.

Before visiting the country, I would’ve scoffed at the idea. Brazil has been notorious for corrupted business, political unrest, deforestation, and, of course, the Zika virus. But I have to admit: the country really surprised me.

I traveled around for about a week and a half until finally ending up in Rio on the day of the Opening Ceremonies. One of the stops was Bonito (which translates to “beautiful”), a small town, but a major hub of eco-tourism in Brazil. From the town, we were driven on dirt roads out into the country to snorkel in the river, climb waterfalls, and explore caves.

We were told that we were not allowed to wear bug spray or sunscreen while participating in these adventures, as the oils would contaminate the water. I was shocked, but when I saw how beautiful and clear the water was, I understood. This was not something I expected from a country in which you can’t drink the tap water.

brazil-snorkel

brazil-cave

(And for all those who are curious: even while swimming in a river with no bug spray, Zika was not an issue. I never got so much as a mosquito bite, and my sister, who constantly gets bitten, has lived in Brazil for a year and has never gotten the virus.)

When I finally arrived in Rio, strangely, one of the first things I noticed was how many trash receptacles there were in the airport. They had different sections for every type of recycling, and one section for non-recyclable trash. I’d seen this in the US, but not to this extent. As I explored the city, it was actually harder to find a trash can than a recycling bin. Coca Cola, one of the biggest sponsors of the Olympic Games, even had a Recycling Team that walked around Olympic Park collecting litter.

brazil-recycle

brazil-coke-recycle

Then, right in the middle of the Olympic Boulevard, just around the corner from the Olympic torch, stood a funky looking building called Museo d’Amanha, or “Museum of Tomorrow.” The museum was all about our world’s progress. In their own words:

“We live in a new era in which all human activity has become a force of global impact. We are capable of intervening at the molecule and continent levels. We deal with atoms and create microorganisms. We divert the course of great rivers, change forests, influence the atmosphere, and transform the climate…The Museum of Tomorrow, offers a narrative about how we can live and shape the next 50 years…Guided by the ethical values of Sustainability and Coexistence, essential to our civilization, the Museum also seeks to promote innovation, disseminate the advances of science and publish the vital signs of the planet. A museum to expand our knowledge and transform the way we think and act.” – Museo d’Amanha

The museum was fascinating, discussing where we’ve come from and where we’re going as a planet. Though seemingly hypocritical from the country responsible for some of the worst deforestation in the world, it sent such a powerful message and reached a huge number of people from all over the world, as the crowd from Olympic Boulevard poured in.

brazil-museum1

brazil-museum2

When I was asked to keep an eye for efforts in sustainability, I was worried that I’d have nothing about which to write. But Brazil came through for me. Even the Olympic medals are also the most sustainable they have ever been. These are small steps, but it was nice to see that the message they were trying to send with Opening Ceremonies and the “New World” theme weren’t just for show. Overall, despite their current issues, Brazilians really do love their country. It was nice to see there are still good people working hard to preserve what they have left.

 

 

A few marketing observations:

  • Visa was the official card of the Olympic Games, which means it was the only accepted card within the stadiums and parks. No Visa card? No food, drinks, or souvenirs.
  • McDonald’s had full restaurants in the Olympic Park.
  • Nissan had cars whose doors and hoods opened and closed, in sync with music and the dancers out front.
  • Coca Cola had the most disruptive marketing by far. As people waited in a line for a half hour or more to get into their booth, they had entertainers running through the line dancing, pretending to play different sports, singing the “Taste the Feeling” song from their commercials, and shouting “Isso e oro!” (“This is gold!”) They got their hands on 3 of the Olympic torches used to bring the flame from Greece, and allowed visitors to take photos holding them. Plus everyone got a free, “exclusive” gold bottle of Coke.

brazil-coke

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Social Entrepreneur Spotlight: Daymara Baker

“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.” – Dolly Parton

In April 2015, Daymara Baker noticed some changes taking place at a company where she held a corporate role. She didn’t like what she saw. She repeated to herself the Dolly Parton quote about paving new roads and decided to take a leap of faith.

She left her job on a Friday and by Sunday, she was on a plane to see her family in Venezuela. On the last leg of the trip, as she thought about what her next move would be, she had a vision.

“It was like a movie playing in my head,” she explained. “I wanted to do something different – something more sustainable.”

She had a dream of a bakery that would bring in revenue through the baked goods sold, but would also have a way to help others.

“As soon as I made the decision, stars began aligning.”

In her previous job, Daymara had worked with and become friends with Red212’s CEO Anne Chambers. When Daymara made the decision to make her vision a reality, she called Anne. Anne connected her to the Sixteen Bricks Artisan Bakehouse in Cincinnati, and after a bit of formalized training, Daymara spent a week with Sixteen Bricks, learning the ins and outs of the bakery business.

“I was quite aware of my weaknesses,” Daymara said. “I’ve never worked in a restaurant. To minimize the risk, I surrounded myself with people with knowledge.”

Along with the Dolly Parton quote, Daymara also uses an Eleanor Roosevelt quote as a source of inspiration: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

“It’s about using your mind, but also following your heart,” Daymara added. “I had a vision without experience. Every time I start thinking, ‘What am I doing?’ I think about that quote.”

Thus, the Rockin’ Baker Academy was born.

daymara bread

The bakery has two arms: a benefit corporation (a for-profit business driven more by a mission than profit) and a non-profit arm which trains “cadets.”

Daymara partnered with the local university to allow students in the culinary program to earn credit hours working with her, and she also works with local groups like Good Will to provide internships to people who are economically challenged. It’s a nine-month program, allowing those who come through to learn valuable life and job skills, so they can eventually get better jobs to support themselves.

“There is an opportunity for organizational businesses to take a more proactive role to be change-makers in their community. In the end, we all live in the community and have to make it better…We have a big social mission of helping other people.”

Sound familiar?

“The biggest roadblock was to overcome the fear,” Daymara explained. “I have to confess I was uncomfortable. Anne [Chambers] was one of those people that really encouraged me to make the jump. She said, ‘It’s going to be hard but you’re going to be fine!’ and she was right!”

Daymara Baker exemplifies the idea that one person, one vision, can make such an impact on the world, and we could not be more excited for her and all involved with the academy.

The Rockin’ Baker Academy is currently undergoing the last few renovations, and is set to open at the end of September.

starry night bread

 

Making Moves to Close the Gender Pay Gap

Gender Parity

The numbers are sobering. Though women make up half the workforce and receive more college and graduate degrees than men, on average, they make only 79 cents for every dollar earned by men. In fact, the annual report prepared by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research reveals that women earn less than their male counterparts in virtually every occupation. That gender pay gap extends even into the hallowed, oh so modern, and—one would expect—enlightened halls of the tech industry. One woman, however, has put the pay disparities of the Silicon Valley giants directly in her sights.

Recently, Forbes magazine profiled the efforts of Natasha Lamb, director of equity research and shareholder engagement at Arjuna Capital, the activist arm of Boston investment firm Baldwin Brothers Inc. and a shareholder in many of the country’s biggest tech companies. Prior to proxy season, Lamb filed shareholder resolutions with nine tech giants proposing equal pay transparency. Amazon, Expedia, eBay, Google, Adobe, Facebook, Microsoft, Intel and Apple were the companies in her crosshairs. Their reactions to the possibility of having to publish their internal gender pay data were, as you might expect, mixed. Some revealed their data preemptively, prompting Lamb to withdrawal Arjuna’s proposal. Amazon filed a petition with the SEC seeking permission to leave the proposal off its annual ballot. It lost and released its figures six days later. Others dragged their feet in responding. Will they allow the proposal to go to ballot?

Natasha Lamb’s goal was to shine a spotlight on the gender pay gap while illuminating the power investors have in advancing social causes. As she stated in the Forbes article, “Our clients are interested in investing in such a way that they’re having a positive impact on the world with their money.” Here at Red 212, we’re always interested in celebrating strong women who are taking actions that can really make a difference. Thank you, Natasha Lamb, for your hard work on this important issue.

Happiness & Cows: Mental Health on the Job is Good for Everyone

If your boss handed you stock options in the company, would that make you happy? 
 
The stock is based on your years of service, with the goal of providing you a stake in the company you helped build. The owner believes your contribution is important and wants you to enjoy the benefits of your labor. 
 
The 2,000 employees of the Greek yogurt company Chobani had that happen in April. All full-time employees received a stake in the company, calculated by tenure. If the company is sold or goes public, those shares can be retained or sold. The staff was surprised (there was no advance announcement) and most were decidedly happy. That, according to scientists, is good for mental health…and business.
 
This kind of thing doesn’t happen often, so it got a lot of attention. But Chobani is a rather unusual company. Their approach to business? “A cup of yogurt won’t change the world, but how we make it might.”
 
·         Chobani donates 10% of its profits to charity
·         1/3 of their workforce is made up of refugees 
·         They purchase from a local network 900 cooperatives and farms
·         They work to ensure humane treatment of cows
·         They use hormone-free dairy products
 
This commitment to people (and cows) is an important part of job satisfaction and overall mental health, because it reflects how a company and its employees connect: shared values and guiding principles. Employees are more engaged, and therefore happier, in an environment that reinforces their own values and beliefs.
 
Research proves that people who experience job security are healthier – mentally and physically – than those who worry about losing their jobs. Depression, anxiety and insomnia are some of the common mental-health issue employees struggle with when financial worries loom large. One way to mitigate that stress is “allowing greater employee participation in workplace decision-making,” according to the Institute for the Study of Labor, a non-profit economic research institute that analyzes global labor markets.
 
Employees who share their expertise and participate in developing workplace policies are happier and more productive. Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and chief executive of Chobani, is leveraging that concept to make sure his staff is happy. The privately-held company doesn’t disclose financial data, but it’s estimated that up to 10% of its future value of could end up in the hands of employees if it goes public or is sold. The money is good, but it’s the tangible commitment to his employees that research says is the game-changer.
 
There are any number of ways employers can improve the happiness-quotient within their corporate culture. But it can only happen when employee satisfaction is truly valued. Happy people are more productive, committed to their work and more likely to stay. 

If stock options aren’t a possibility, here are some steps any company can take to ensure the happiness of their entire staff – from CEO to interns:
 
·         An effective recognition and reward system that promotes employee engagement. Recognition is frequent and recognizes worthy actions of employees.
·         Shared values and guiding principles: Engaged employees thrive in an environment that reinforces their values and beliefs.
·         Demonstrated respect, trust and emotional intelligence on the part of the employee’s direct supervisor.
 

Check out a fun infographic here

For Mental Health Month, Our Tip of the Cap

 
It’s positively dizzying to think how profoundly the titans of Silicon Valley will change the way we approach healthcare over the coming decades. Alphabet alone has its Calico division researching the biology of aging, Life Sciences wing developing smart contact lenses capable of monitoring bodily functions, and Google X working on a Baseline Study of the human body. Just months ago, Google Ventures invested in a gene-editing platform that will allow scientists to easily cut and paste DNA. If this all sounds like Star-Trek-Bones-McCoy-Final-Frontier-type stuff, well, … it is. They’re truly going where no man has gone before. But they haven’t gotten there yet.
 
Interestingly, here in Red 212’s own backyard, there’s a rapidly growing tech company that’s transforming the way health care providers treat patients with mental health disorders—and it’s doing it right now. Heard of Mason, Ohio-based Assurex Health and its GeneSight genetics test? You will.
 
Administered with a simple cheek swab, the GeneSight test uses advanced algorithms and informatics to analyze how a patient’s genetic makeup will respond to 55 different mental health medications and indicates the best possible genetic match. Then, all of that incredible science gets boiled down to an easy-to-read report.
 
This is life-changing stuff.
 
And if you’ve ever had a family member or friend struggle with depression or another mental health disorder, you know why. Finding a medication that actually works and has no side effects is a massive, massive issue. Stunningly, right now, over half the time, the first medication depression patients are prescribed fails. Hello, medication rollercoaster. But by determining the meds that are most genetically appropriate, GeneSight helps patients get on the right ones faster. And that can make all the difference.
 
Transparency alert: Assurex Health is our client. So, yes, we’re bragging on family. (If this were a wallet, we’d be sharing pictures.) But since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, we thought there was no better time to do it. These guys are doing phenomenal work in the mental health space. 250,000 patients tested, and counting.
 
Congratulations, Assurex Health! You deserve every accolade. 

 

Combatting Gender Inequality in the Workplace

Huge news for women in business! Last week it was announced that in 2015, five percent of government federal contracts were granted to women-owned business. This goal was established in 1994, and it’s taken 21 years to finally achieve it.

Professional women’s organizations are making a concerted effort to advocate for greater gender equality in the public-policy arena. Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) is a coalition of 4.7 million women business owners and 78 organizations actively addressing changes to the Small Business Administration’s revision of the certification process for Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program. Red212 CEO Anne Chambers is an active WIPP National Partner.

Another significant challenge they’re fighting is the everyday gender inequality in the workplace. Individual companies can dismantle internal inequities when they recognize problems, and the easiest way to find them is by reviewing corporate culture. It drives everything from policies and procedures to advancement and lunchroom gossip. Looking for biased business practices is difficult to do personally and professionally, but it’s the only way to gather facts.

Patricia Valoy, an engineer and advocate for women in STEM, believes systemic sexism is something most people don’t see. In training sessions, she uses her own experience as an example. She’s frequently the only woman in meetings and is regularly asked to get coffee and perform clerical tasks. There are junior, male staff in the same meeting, but they aren’t asked to do that kind of work. Does this happen in your company? To find out, ask the women.

One practical way to start an internal review is to begin with an analysis of staffing ratios – how many women does your company employ? Then look at pay rates based on gender. Are your male employees making more than equally or more qualified women? Next consider advancements – are women moving up in equal numbers or are they leaving more often than men?

“There might be some women who are highly successful, and other women never (experience) sexist comments. It doesn’t mean that it’s not there,” Valoy says.

Numerous research studies show that diversity across ethnicity as well as gender has a positive impact on the bottom line. One Massachusetts Institute of Technology study analyzed eight years of data that “included both single-gender and mixed-gender teams.” Economists found that shifting from a single-sex office to one with an even split along gender lines could increase revenue by about 41 percent. It’s going to require some careful evaluation and planning, but isn’t that the kind of return-on-investment your company would like to see?

Momentum is building; hopefully we won’t have to wait another 21 years for significant progress. As a woman-owned agency, we at Red212 are excited to see the advancements for women in business.

Women Empowering Women: Red212’s Allison Chaney

When Allison Chaney, Founder & Managing Director of Bare Knuckle Digital, graduated from college, the world of digital marketing and SEO didn’t exist yet. She got her start right when websites were really taking off as a marketing tool, and the company she worked for threw her in the deep end to figure out how to get their site ranked on search engines. Google Analytics didn’t exist yet, so they created their own proprietary analytics software to understand where their traffic was coming from.

“I found that although my background was in marketing in the traditional sense,” Allison described, “all of those concepts still applied in this space. Even though a lot of the things I was doing were really technical, there was still that bigger strategy behind it. We were really ahead of our time, because we were looking for solutions that didn’t exist yet.”

She also freelanced on the side in social media and other verticals that the company wasn’t really working in. She found that an integrated package was the best way to get her clients found on search engines. “I really enjoyed the journey of taking a client from having no idea what’s going on with their website to using it as tool that’s driving the right kind of sales,” Allison said.

Despite having a job at a company she loved, like most entrepreneurs, Allison reached a point that she decided it was time to “take control of [her] own destiny” – time to move on to the next challenge. She left the company to freelance more and eventually start her own business.

She got connected with the SCORE Association who provided her a business mentor to provide advice as she started from ground zero. He guided her towards Bad Girl Ventures (BGV), which helps women-owned businesses get the education & funding they need to launch and run a successful business.

“At the time,” Allison described, “my business development strategy was: if I can get in front of people and teach them what I do, some of them will be able to walk away and be able to implement it, and that’s great. But some of them will realize they need this, but don’t have the time or knowledge to implement it themselves, and they will hire me.”

With this in mind, Allison attended a BGV meeting and met Candace Klein, founder of BGV. “I just thought, ‘Wow, this is an amazing woman,’ and the energy in the room was fantastic…As I was walking out the door I told Candace, ‘Hey I want to teach a class!’”

Candace told her to apply for the classes online. “No, no you don’t understand,” Allison replied, “I don’t want to take the class; I want to teach it!” But Candace saw the “Bad Girl” in Allison, and told her that’s great, but she should also sign up for the class.

Allison became the first person to teach the class and take it. Other classes she took through the program taught her how to get serious about starting and running a business, including how to approach a bank for a loan.

“I’ve taken lots of business classes since then,” Allison said, “but what really made this different was just the energy in the room. It was so powerful. All these women were there to encourage each other, do business together, help each other. You can’t fabricate that – it’s the energy of the right people in the right place. The first time I really knew I was onto something was when Candace and I were having lunch, and she looked at me and said, ‘I believe in you.’ I’d never had anyone look me in the eye and say that to me. And I believed she believed in me. And that was powerful.”

At the end of the BGV program, the candidates compete for a business loan. There was another woman in the class that had a product that saved lives. “I remember we were all sitting there at 4 a.m. the night before the final decision. We were all emailing each other saying that she’s saving lives – she’s the one that deserves to win. We’ll figure it out later, but she needs this money. I just remember thinking how cool it was that we were all competing for the same things, but we’re all pulling for her. That’s a beautiful thing.”

That woman won, and now has a thriving, successful business affecting the lives of so many people.

But Allison still got her loan. Through the BGV classes, and the support from Candace and all the women, Allison gained the confidence to put herself out there and go for it.

“I never in a million years thought I could go to a bank and ask for a loan.” Allison said. But taking the BGV classes totally changed her mindset. She used her new confidence with Candace in her mind saying, “I believe in you.” She went to a bank for a loan, and got it. Bare Knuckle Digital was born.

 

Check back next week to find out how Allison and Bare Knuckle Digital became a part of Red212!

Podcast: Red212 CEO Anne Chambers on Social Consciousness & Relationships

Patrick McGilvray is the owner and creative director for Focus 5 DesignFocus 5 Design is a one-man creative shop that specializes in modern website design and in his new podcast he interviews our very own Anne Chambers, co-founder and CEO.  Red212 is an ad agency whose mission and passion is to create measurable marketing campaigns for socially conscious companies. Businesses are addressing many of the most pressing societal issues these days. And the more successful these businesses are, the more they can do for our world.

 

Red212 CEO Anne Chambers

 

Highlights of the Interview:

Brand Spotlight

Anne mentioned Warby Parker as a brand that has turned her head recently. Warby Parker is an eyewear company that partners with non-profits like VisionSpring to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need.

Call to Action

Remember to keep and cultivate all of your relationships. The act of doing business with someone creates a very trusting and sometimes very intimate relationship. And as we know, we’re all in the relationship-building business. So, if you want to build a thriving business, hold a space and keep nurturing all of your relationships.

Links

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy

More about Warby Parker and their socially conscious purpose can be found here.