SXSW Interactive 2011: A Responsible Business Recap

Mar 16, 2011   //   by Bradley Short   //   Blog, Company Profiles, Marketing & Communication, Social Entrepreneurship  //  1 Comment

Business and technology can make the world a better place, and some people are really starting to get it.  An overarching theme that I’ve seen at SXSW is that many thought leaders are realizing that social good is the best market to work in.

Of course, we have a long way to go to before everyone is on board the corporate-responsibility train, but entrepreneurs are coming up with new business models, new innovations, and new plans to help do their part while making money.

What happens here really means something

The great thing about SXSW is that it has a proven history of showcasing the best and brightest companies, technologies, and trends right before they take off.  SXSW attendees are the real doers of the idea world.  The companies and ideas that get their start here are the ones that take off in the months and years to come.  As environmental and social responsibility comes into the forefront of the SXSW consciousness, the rest of the business world will follow suit.

Innovative responsible business’s present

Blake Mycoskie, TOMS Shoes’s Chief Shoe Giver (Founder and President), gave the final keynote speech of the conference.  His speech was about all of the success that his company has been able to have by giving one pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair that they sell.

The part of his speech that was most interesting from a business standpoint was the idea that doing good turned his customers into his biggest evangelists, his best marketers.  “When you incorporate giving into your business, your customers become your marketers,” Mycoskie said.  The company exploded without a real marketing plan because customers were so excited about TOMS doing something good that they did all the marketing that the company needed.

Companies that better the future will win it

The most exciting thing is that it seems like the companies that are embracing these social ambitions are the ones most poised for unbelievable financial success.  Whether they’re embracing collaborative consumption-based business models, rebuilding their business with environmental resources in mind, or building charity into the core of a business like TOMS Shoes, the most innovative, full of potential companies seem to know that they are a part of something bigger than themselves.  When the world’s most innovative community embraces social betterment as a goal, an infinite opportunity for good arises.  As goes South-By, so goes innovative business.  Build responsibility into your company or get ready to be left behind.