Redefining purpose through brands to empower the change makers of tomorrow
July 18, 2023
Embracing the work of social changemakers
In 2018 Taylor & Grace’s Managing Director, Darren Taylor was invited to join a newly created network of consultants dedicated to supporting social changemakers – The Xfactor Collective. “We had done a little bit of work in the social impact space previously and enjoyed it so much. Because we loved that type of work and I was impressed with founder, Julia Keady’s vision, we jumped at the opportunity to be more involved with them”. The opportunities presented to us through The Collective marked a turning point for Taylor & Grace as we started working with great clients like Fight Parkinson’s, Australian Sports Foundation, Youthrive Victoria, Social Traders and Social Enterprise Australia.
A turning point came in 2022 after working closely with Social Enterprise Australia on their preparations for hosting the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) in Brisbane and attending the event. “I had a real come-to-Jesus moment, listening to the speakers at SEWF”, explains Darren. “Inspirational business leaders like Daniel Flynn (co-founder of Thankyou) and Kate Raworth (Author of Doughnut Economics) drove home the urgency around the kind of change businesses needed to take the lead on, to help solve the critical problems of our time”.
Recognising the potential for change
There were many intelligent, innovative people in the sustainability space attending SEWF, all reinforcing the fact that trust in those in traditional positions of power had declined considerably and it was up to business now to take action. “It struck me that businesses and brands have such potential to make real change through what they produce, how they serve their customers and clients, and the stance they take on the big issues of our time. I instinctively knew we needed to double down. I knew that we as an agency needed to step up in our for-purpose activities, but we also had to make it our mission to empower and amplify other organisations who feel similarly”. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer 2023, around 63% of consumers buy or advocate for brands based on their beliefs and values. Similarly, 69% of employees have strong expectations when it comes to the company they work for making a societal impact – in fact for many the lack of it is a deal breaker when considering a job.
We knew we had to get our own house in order first though. We needed to be strategic and think long term to ensure we created a sustainable business model. It needed hard conversations and questioning of the status quo. We interrogated the ideas until we all got to the same place. By taking this deeply personal approach we became empowered as a team to move forward and reposition our own brand. We rewrote our business plan and redefined our brand strategy to centre the agency around a new purpose greater than any we’d defined for ourselves before. We’re now driven to harness the passion and ingenuity of good people to ignite change for a fairer, better tomorrow. We’re dedicating ourselves to bringing the true purpose of brands to life so they can achieve the change that’s needed in the world. We’re now embedded in the development of a road map that deeply defines how we deliver this purpose and promise for our team, our clients, our partners and our industry.
A creative movement with impact as the defining feature
“We as brands need to take the lead here”, explains Darren. “The social and environmental challenges we’re facing affect all of us, so everyone has a role to play – from the highest levels of government to the smallest community organisations”. A lot of brands have the potential to have a much greater social and environmental impact, but many are lacking the focus, the imagination, and the full spectrum of tools required to create the change that’s needed in the world. We believe this represents a magnificent opportunity for a new kind of creative movement. The ability to tap into clarity, creativity, and collaboration is at the core of being able to truly transform our collective social and environmental impact. Radical ideas and divergent thinking are essential to identifying and understanding what the problems are and unpacking how we can help solve them. We’re passionate about the potential for creative ecosystems and how they can be tapped into to solve problems for brands and by brands, to make the world better.
Throughout this journey of self-discovery, our relationship with The Xfactor Collective has also gone from strength to strength, with them too undergoing an evolution of their own. We spent much of the early months of 2023 working with The Collective to redefine their brand and positioning, and in July 2023, they relaunched themselves as Benefolk. We helped them to establish their mission to create a global community for changemakers, build an evidence base, be a leading advocate for their support, and provide the expertise they need to make the change they seek in the world. In their drive to eradicate changemaker burnout they want to ensure changemakers have everything they need to make their impact. Not too dissimilar to our own, Benefolk’s defining message is clear: lasting social impact comes from a healthy and evolving culture of change. By leveraging the tenacity of visionaries, the power of community, and an unshakeable faith in human potential, changemakers are empowered and moved to solve the great problems of our generation.
“To me it’s very clear the economic models that have driven society since industrialisation no longer work. We’ve pushed the environment to the brink and left too many people behind amidst the rapid rate of progress”, says Darren. “There’s a new economic paradigm emerging which considers people and planet as well as profit – none taking higher priority than the other. For us to live sustainably they all need to be in equilibrium”. This new direction we’ve taken for ourselves, and helped Benefolk to redefine, no longer relies on one voice or one institution to create the change that’s so needed in our world. It’s many and different voices and institutions coming together to create the change that makes tomorrow better for all of us.
Did we get your attention? Get in touch and let’s make an impact together.
“The social and environmental challenges we’re facing affect all of us, so everyone has a role to play – from the highest levels of government to the smallest community organisations”.
– Darren Taylor, Managing Director