Social impact storytelling: two powerful examples
By Rebekah Mays
Social impact stories can be a powerful form of the “social proof” that’s so important in e-commerce.
There are, of course, different kinds of social impact. There’s the direct impact of your product or service …
And there’s the impact you might be making through nonprofit partnerships.
Today, I wanted to share with you two examples of companies that are telling compelling social impact stories about their nonprofit partnerships.
The first example is from a big and established brand (Patagonia), while the second is from a much smaller brand based in Amsterdam (O My Bag).
Let’s learn from these brands and think together about how these ideas might apply to your content.
Patagonia: Vjosa Forever
Outdoor apparel company Patagonia is clearly proud of their Vjosa River project — and they should be.
The project is the result of an activist campaign to protect the Vjosa River in Albania, one of Europe’s last wild rivers. Patagonia got involved in the campaign and even created a powerful film to highlight why we need to protect the “blue heart of Europe.”
Since then, the new Albanian government has asked Patagonia and environmental organizations to make Vjosa the world’s first wild river national park. Amazing, isn’t it?
For a time, Patagonia showcased this story on their home page, linking to an article that shares a written update and the short film “Vjosa Forever.” The film in particular dramatizes the impact of this wild river, and how it’s become a symbol of the remaining wild places that we must protect.
What are the takeaways from this inspiring project?
If your brand is mission-oriented, video storytelling is a powerful way to highlight the meaning and emotion behind what you’re doing.
Tip #2: O My Bag: Naz Foundations's LGBTQIA+ advocacy
Amsterdam-based O My Bag sells naturally tanned leather bags. From the beginning, they’ve been committed to making a positive impact in India, where their factories are based.
O My Bag has partnered with the Naz foundation — an NGO that supports People Living with HIV and AIDS and the LGBTQIA+ community in India.
For Pride this month, O My Bag is selling rainbow-patterned bag straps and donating profits from the sales to Naz. They published a blog about the initiative, with striking images that help tell the story.
To take it a step further, they invited folks from Naz to do an Instagram takeover. In Naz’s posts on Instagram, they tell their story, including how Naz played a major role in getting homosexuality decriminalized in India. (Did you know that only happened in 2018?! I didn’t.)
O My Bag is not making it about them — they’re very intentionally elevating Naz and giving them a voice on their platform.
What I love about O My Bag’s approach is that they’re not making it about them — they’re very intentionally elevating Naz and giving them a voice on their platform.
This approach of telling social impact stories is quite practical from a budget perspective. O My Bag / Naz spread the word with well-written content that includes compelling photos and graphics — something I think most brands can pull off with even just a few content people.
Spread the word with well-written content that includes compelling photos and graphics — something most brands can pull off with even just a few content people.
If your brand doesn’t have the budget for high-production video, you can still do a lot with text, photos / graphics, audio, and of course low-production videos. And consider when and where it makes sense for your partners to help with content creation.
Get ahead of the wave
These are just two examples … and of course there are others. But not as many as you might think!
My prediction is that in the coming years, there will be many more brands partnering with nonprofits, and wanting to tell their success stories.
Why not get ahead of this wave and start telling your impact stories?
Do it with the right intentions, and it will only help you expand your impact and inspire others to do the same.
The sustainable e-commerce content specialist
Rebekah Mays is a content strategist and writer for sustainable brands. She helps marketers and executives cut through the noise and focus on the areas that will make the biggest organic impact.
Ready to get help with your content optimization? Get in touch.