Millennials are leading the pack in terms of impact investing, with more than three-quarters of millennials and nearly the same percentage of Gen X investors getting involved in the $230 billion impact investment market, compared to just 30 percent of Baby Boomers.
Increasingly, however, young people aren’t just investing in existing impact ventures: they’re even creating their own.
But launching a successful social good venture — and distinguishing it in an increasingly crowded field — isn’t easy for newcomers. This is where a few high-profile individuals and agencies are stepping in.
In 2013, Managing Partners Beth Doane and Kelly Gibbons launched a leading female-owned and led branding firm where they work with numerous affluent millennials who want to increase their philanthropic legacies, in addition to some of the world’s leading companies, governments, executives, and non-profits that are focused on the social good.
“Today, more and more of the world’s ultra-wealthy are eager to give back, particularly young people, who are increasingly being exposed to impact causes because of social media and want to find new, exciting ways to use their money to create positive change,” explains Managing Partner Beth Doane. “A major part of our work is partnering with younger philanthropists who are asking us to help them create for-profit entities designed to make a difference in the world.”
The first step for these young, affluent clients is often their personal branding.
“So many people and companies are still stuck in a 20th-century mindset when it comes to branding. They try to market their products and services, not realizing that they really should be selling their stories,” Managing Partner Kelly Gibbons says. “The truth is, people don’t want to buy things, they want to be inspired by a narrative – and today the personal narrative is what people are bonding with more and more. And that couldn’t be truer in social impact-oriented fields, where investors want to be part of a cause that inspires them.”
There’s no one way to build a personal brand. Doane and Gibbons have crafted strategic branding plans for clients that involve everything from hosting summits on private islands, securing book deals, setting up investment opportunities, launching TV shows, building an online presence and eradicating negative press from the Internet. But there’s one common value that runs through everything they do: authenticity.
“In the digital age, it is even more important than ever that we focus on maintaining the personal touch,” explains Beth. “People are craving personal connections, and we try to tap into that in our work, whether we’re working through a digital or a traditional platform, and focus on real, human engagement. It’s absolutely vital that young philanthropists go the extra mile and create a strong sense of personal connection and community if they want to do well.”
Gibbons and Doane see Main & Rose as a more than a company; for them, it’s about driving a paradigm shift.
“We’ve always been interested in social good, and we’re always looking for how we can be the most powerful catalyst for change, says Gibbons. Simply, we want to build a future where considering social impact is the norm for young businesses. We know that it is possible to ‘do well while doing good’ and we want the rest of the business world to share our passion and commitment to advancing positive change on a global scale.”