Pitch With Passion and Purpose

Last week I shared a bit about my story with sharing my message–the traumatizing experience I had, the stage fright that overcame me for over a decade, and my fight to come back from the fear, and do it anyway!

I gave a fun and insightful workshop at Venture Cafe Miami and I plan to do more work in this area.

Attached is my presentation in PDF format, which you are welcome to read and use. Please note, all the processes in this presentation are my own and may not be reproduced or represented with my prior written approval.

Mission Pitch With Impact Front Cover

Click here: Pitch for Impact

If you would like to have a personalized pitch session with me and/or with your team, please contact me at Alexandra@MissionBasedBranding.com to arrange a time to discuss.

From Insecure To Impactful

“Your mission and message are more important than any fear you may have sharing them with the world”
– Alexandra Figueredo

 

MEGAPHONEIf you’re anything like me (human!), you’ve been scared to death of speaking in public at some point in your life…and I’m sure you’ve heard the statistics that speaking in public is feared more than death (at least, in surveys).

My fear of public speaking spiraled out of control to the point that I would sweat just thinking about asking a question in class or even discussing my work with my boss. With that level of anxiety, you can imagine the terror–and sometimes stage fright–presenting in front of a group, which I had to do several times a week. Yet I never really understood why because I could act and perform in front of thousands, but was a nervous, sweaty wreck when it was MY voice.

The week after I resigned from my corporate job to become a full-time entrepreneur, I began hypnosis sessions with a therapist to combat this issue. I knew I was going to start pitching my own business, and didn’t want fear to stop me. Little did I know I’d eventually become a speaker and trainer 🙂

Although the fear never fully goes away–and discussing with other professional speakers has confirmed this is totally normal–I learned to be proactive, finding opportunities to grow and improve myself, and of course share my mission and message with as many people as possible.

Because my Mission and Message are more important than any fear I have sharing them with the world!

When it comes to pitching your business, I’ve heard many entrepreneurs and startups get stuck on the What they do, which may be some really amazing, innovative, disruptive technology—that no one understands. They get fixated on technical details and jargon, but can’t connect with their audience on their Why. Simon Sinek from Start With Whysays: “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” You can have all the facts and figures and technically the best product or service in your industry, but your client, investor or audience will only resonate with it if you can properly connect with them at a more emotional level.

My friend Bruce Turkel from Building Brand Value: Seven Simple Steps to Profitable Communications says when attracting your audience, you must connect first with “Hearts. Then Minds.” That’s why I developed MISSION-Based Branding.

Remember this the next time you speak or pitch your business. It is possible to speak with confidence, connect with your audience and share your message to make the most impact!

It’s taken me years to learn what works for me, so let me know in the comments below what works for you.

 

If you want to learn some powerful strategies, join me at “Pitch With Impact” this Thursday…details below

Pitch With Impact

Do you feel like hiding every time you need to get in front of an audience? Do you want to share your message but find it difficult to make a lasting impact? Are you seeking funding, pitching your business or sharing your message before an audience? Then Pitch With Impact is perfect for you!

You’re going to learn strategies to effectively pitch your business, share your message more confidently and effectively, and make the biggest impact! Along with practical steps to ensure the perfect pitch for your audience, we’ll use fun and interactive speaking techniques to get you out of your comfort zone and feeling more confident, prepared and quick on your feet. Who can’t use more of that?

After taking this workshop you’ll walk away with:

  1. Key steps to emotionally connect with your audience and pitch with impact
  2. Fun and interactive exercises that will get you more comfortable speaking in public
  3. Other professional strategies specifically for pitching your business or services/products
Learn more and register here:
https://impactpitchvc.eventbrite.com
Looking forward to see you there!

~Alex 

Focus Impacts IMPACT

FocusOn my quest to be the best “Missionpreneur Mentor” I can be, I am constantly searching for what I refer to as the “hypotenuse solution” in all areas of business for myself and others. If you remember anything from high school geometry, the hypotenuse is the shortest distance in a right triangle–well I do that with business as in life.

As a Missionpreneur, my bright idea for a hypotenuse solution was to apply to a couple of startup accelerator programs for a startup I have been “starting up” for several years and now trying to revive. The thing is, I’m also running my own agency and involved in a few other ventures and charitable projects. You could say my attention is divided, and the startup is possibly the last on the priority list. Plus the startup itself is in the process of reinvention, so there is no clearly defined business model.  Not surprisingly, my startup didn’t get chosen for any of the programs I applied to.

At the same time, a close friend applied to a few accelerators and got chosen for one and is interviewing for another. These accelerators are extremely competitive, with over one thousand applicants for each. The fact his business got chosen as one of five teams out of over a thousand is a real accomplishment in and of itself. Not to mention the proverbial door-opening to resources, education, collaboration and of course, potential investor funding.

When I assess the difference between our two scenarios with respect to our startups, it comes down to FOCUS. Firstly, as the CEO of his startup, my friend focuses most of his time and attention on building that business, even though he is also a consultant who earns additional income outside of the startup. Secondly, that business itself has a very focused, clear and specific brand and mission; it’s not trying to do or be everything to everyone, although there is potential for future expansion. Thirdly, he made the accelerator application process a priority because he knew that this opportunity was the best way to accelerate and potentially skyrocket his business, revenue and investment potential quickly. He just knew he was going to get accepted to one of the programs, and although it was still a highly stressful process wrought with frustration and doubts, he never gave up until he made it. This inspires me as an entrepreneur.

It got me thinking about the founding of other startups that are now billion dollar businesses–Facebook, Airbnb, Apple, Lyft–and how their focused attention on one key product or service has helped them grow and scale and make a bigger impact on close to a billion people (or nearly two billion as of today in the case of Facebook). Or look at iconic brands with one key product such as Kleenex, Nike and Jacuzzi that still exist today and still lead the market and industry in brand recognition.

At the same time, there are some so-called impact aggregators with a huge mission to impact billions of people; their mission is inspiring and they are trying to find global solutions in many different areas. But instead they are so unfocused, scattered in their attention, chasing after several bright, shiny objects in multiple categories, that they are not quite making the big impact in any one area that they desire. In fact, I have a friend who is an industry expert and thought leader who works at one of these impact businesses and flat out told me in her professional opinion I would make a greater impact working at Facebook. Sure, none of the aforementioned businesses are perfect and their paths have certainly never been “easy”, but in terms of impact, FOCUS was a stronger strategy than trying to be everything to everyone.

How can you apply this to your career/business? Follow these three steps:

  1. What is your one big business goal or dream? Define that and make sure you are devoting most of your time and attention on this. If you can’t do that for any reason, then it shouldn’t be a surprise if you’re not progressing as well as you’d like in that venture.
  2. Does your career/business have a clear, focused mission, brand, business model and key service/product? If not, do an analysis of what is working and what isn’t working. Be as specific as possible, and focus your business and messaging on what works and transition out of what doesn’t.
  3. Prioritize opportunities to accelerate your impact.  Now that you’re focused on a venture that has a clear and specific brand and business model, you will more clearly see the opportunities that will skyrocket your business. Seek those opportunities and believe they are possible. You may even have clients and investors seeking you out! [As it turns out, one of the principals of the accelerator that accepted my friend actually found his startup on AngelList, a site focused on resources for startups!]

How has Focus or lack of focus helped or hurt your business? Is there a step I’m missing? Feel free to add your comments below. And remember, when in doubt:

Focus on Focus!

~Alexandra 😉

 

P.S. – Also if you need help focusing and clarifying your mission, brand and business, we can help! We offer full day or half day Mission M.A.P. sessions or Strategy Programs to get you to clear and stand out in your industry and attract your ideal clients. 

 

I am Clear That I am Unclear

Clarity

“I am clear that I am unclear”

That’s the message I heard several weeks ago in my morning meditation. You see, I had a moment of fog and cloudiness. I couldn’t see clearly and started to feel sorry for myself, sulking that I was unclear about my path. And I’m supposed to be the one helping others be clear about their mission and brand!

Once I consoled my ego, I realized it’s perfectly okay to be unclear. This is a part of life. People and businesses go through it all the time. In fact, once I assessed what was happening I realized part of my challenge is that I was being asked to step up into a new space in a big way, unchartered territory I’d never been before. Certainly there should be moments of uncertainty, anxiety and overwhelm.

What did I do? I put marker to white board and started brainstorming for a few hours through a process I call a Mission M.A.P. (Mission Action Plan) just like I’ve done with so many other clients before. Except I was my own client.

Starting with my Mission and going back to my core, I got really honest with myself and tapped into the vision for my lightbulbhighest self. I have too many a-has to share from that experience, but the biggest was that I’d been spending too much time and energy in a few business areas that were depleting me instead of empowering me, and this was making me loose focus from my core Mission. When I became at peace with releasing these areas not perfectly in alignment with my Mission, it opened up several other much bigger opportunities that were better aligned to my mission and vision. The answers appeared during the process and I felt an immediate sense of assurance, peace and relief.

In fact, I didn’t understand how powerful a process it is until I shared my findings with my accountability partner, who knew of my fogginess and was both surprised and thoroughly impressed at the outcome. It  made me realize the importance of MISSION-Based Branding. When you start with your Mission and Why, it’s easier to know when you’re not on the right path and out of alignment. And very importantly–How you do it or What you do aren’t as important as Why you do it–you can change jobs, change industries, change cities and when you’re in alignment with your Mission, the Why stays the same.

And interestingly, it’s happened to me several times through the years. Inevitably it happens at a point when I’m empowered to step up in a bigger way, and I begin to question my current path and where I’m going. Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable in my business, or my growth stagnate or deplete, I do a Mission M.A.P.

Coincidentally this week I was getting my car serviced, a “tune up,” and it hit me that’s what a mini Mission M.A.P. is: a periodic tune up of my mission, vision goals, business, brand and message. We commonly hear about annual or semiannual spring cleaning or a juice cleanse and I’ve done both to start fresh and set myself on a new, more powerful track—now I can appreciate how valuable and worthwhile it is to do a periodic business or professional tune up (if you’re interested in learning more about one of these, see below*)

Here are some questions you can ask yourself if you are going through a similar fog, plateau or discomfort in your life or business:

  1. What’s my Why–what do I/my business stand for? Reconnect to your Mission and core values.
  2. What’s the Vision for my highest self, and who do I need to Be and how do I Live?
  3. How will you [God,Universe] use me today/this week/this year?
  4. What is my next right move? (credit goes to Oprah on this one)

Feel free to leave some of your answers in the comments below.

Here’s to a mission-filled life!

~Alexandra

 

*P.S. – I’m offering mini Mission M.A.P.s: a half day “Tune Up” session in which we will map out how you can:

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  • Be The Mission: start with Why, clarify your Mission, core values and principles
  • Live The Mission: align your Mission to your business/vocation and get your team on board
  • Share The Mission: create the right message and step up and share your mission with the world

I only do a few of these a month, so if you’re interested in getting a mission-based branding “tune up” (lol), click here to learn more and message me to set one up.

I used to be an aspiring author

About 7 years ago I was an aspiring writer. I was writing about 3 books at a time but never had a clear focus or purpose other than to be an author. Then one night I woke up suddenly and it hit me like a lightning bolt–write a book entitled Sculpt Your Life From Sketch To Masterpiece. It felt like it was part of my legacy to write a book, a way to share my mission and message that could serve hundreds, thousands, even potentially millions! It may sound extreme, but I was motivated by an internal drive to get that book written as quickly as possible before I die, and 3 weeks later the book was written and in 3 months it was released.

Then a few years later, I was an aspiring bestselling author. Looking back, part of me wanted to have a bestseller as a sense of achievement and accomplishment. Nothing wrong with that, except that these types of goals bring temporary happiness and fulfillment. A much more impactful reason for having a bestselling book is to provide greater awareness, credibility, exposure and prominence so once again, I could get my mission and message available to hundreds, thousands, even potentially millions! A book is a tool for doing just that, along with a way to position you and your brand.

No matter your Why, you have a message in you that can be shared in your own book. And you definitely have a potential bestseller in you. If you’d like to learn how I did it *accidentally* just a couple of weeks ago, click below:

How My Mission Accidentally Turned Into A Bestselling Book

What will you learn on this webinar:
  • My Why and planning steps I took to launch my book promotion;
  • Top 3 reasons my book became a bestseller;
  • How I continue to leverage my book and mission to brand and co-brand myself; and more!

[Note you will be signed up and asked to confirm your email before getting access to the webinar]

Oh and for the rest of the month of March, 100% of the proceeds of Sculpt Your Life From Sketch To Masterpiece ebook (listed at ONLY $2.99!) will go toward arts and empowerment charities serving girls. Click on the sidebar for more details, THANK YOU!!

Helping to transform the world one mission at a time,

-Alexandra 🙂

How I accidentally got a bestselling book

Bestseller secrets

March is my birthday month and also Women’s History Month, so I knew I wanted to do something to celebrate and also give back in a bigger way. I’m in the middle of a few big projects, so I decided quite last minute to host a promotion for my ebook Sculpt Your Life From Sketch To Masterpiece--the recently updated 5-year anniversary edition of my first book.

Last week on March 8th, International Women’s Day, I offered the ebook for free as it’s part of my mission to share my message with as many people as possible. Well, with little preparation and zero advance promotion, I ended up getting way more downloads of the book than I expected! I was ecstatic! Missionpreneurs, students, retirees, people searching for their mission and many others who may not otherwise know about my me or my book were downloading it!

Quite unexpectedly, and quickly, it became an Amazon bestseller. In fact, among other free books, it got to top 10 in several categories and even reached #2 in one category where the #1 book was from an author I greatly admire. It even reached bestseller in the entire category of “Business and Money” for free Kindle books! I was floored!

After the free book promotion ended, I continue to promote the book as offering 100% of proceeds for the paid version during Women’s History Month to charities I support that empower girls through the arts, a cause I’m particularly passionate about. Again, quite unexpectedly and with little promotion, I reached bestseller in my category where the likes of Tim Ferriss are fellow authors. On top of that, it’s helped co-brand me and my business, especially when reaching a new audience that didn’t know about my work previously.

Wow! How did this all happen with little preparation and zero advance promotion?

I’ve come up with some answers and I’ll be sharing those on an upcoming webinar:

How My Mission Accidentally Turned Into A Bestseller

What you will learn:
  • The planning steps I took to launch the book promotion
  • The top three reasons this book became an “accidental” best seller
  • How I continue to leverage my book and mission to brand and co-brand myself
  • And more!

Sign Up To Watch The Replay of This Webinar

[*Note: You will be signed up and asked to confirm your email, then redirected to webinar.]

 

Do you know anyone else who has a book in them? Please forward this to them, thank you!

Transforming the world one mission at a time,

-Alexandra

If you have any questions, please email Alexandra@MissionBasedBranding.com

Alexandra Figueredo is a brand strategist, author, publicist, trainer, singer-performer and founder of Mission Based Branding Institute. She’s on-a-mission to help mission-driven businesses and entrepreneurs share their message and help transform the world. She has authored and coauthored multiple Amazon bestselling books including most recently “Sculpt Your Life From Sketch to Masterpiece – 5 Year Anniversary Edition” and “Shift Your Beliefs To Get What You Want.” Alexandra has received a master’s in Global Strategic Communications, bachelor’s in Business and Life Coaching certification.  

Do you have a book in you + my birthday gift to you

Happy Birthday To ME!

(Well, technically it was Monday, but I’m celebrating the whole month!)

Another year has passed and I ask myself, where has the time gone by? We often feel like we have not accomplished anything. Yet when I sat back and reflected on the last year, I saw that I’ve done quite a bit, including some things I’ve forgotten about! In the last year, I’ve:

  • Released the 5-year anniversary of Sculpt Your Life From Sketch To Masterpiece
  • Launched a Missionpreneur Mastermind Program
  • Danced at several Full Moon Drum Circle nights
  • Launched Mission Muses community
  • Launched book writing online programs and coaching (see below!)
  • Spent several months living and traveling in Spain (Ole!)
  • Finished my first draft of Burn Plan B (coming soon!)

And there are other wonderful projects and organizations I’m leaving out or forgotten about!

Why do we do all of this? In my reflection, I’m reminded that furthering our Mission, taking risks, feeling the fear and doing it anyway–it’s all out of contribution to ourselves and others. In fact I asked in my morning meditation for a special message to share with the world, and I was told:“Love More. Fear Less.” It’s really that simple.

To that end, I’m offering a special gift to help you step up in Love, including a free link to download my book Sculpt Your Life. Scroll to the bottom of the email to learn more. Love!

MISSION: 90 Days To Write Your Book, Leave Your Legacy – Master Course

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Are you a leader or changemaker with a message that can serve thousands?

Have you ever dreamed of writing your own book and being an author?

Is there a book in you that’s bursting to come out?

I’ve opened up my popular writing course once again! As a branding strategist, writer, speaker and publicist, I know how important it is to get your voice out to the world! I’ve been part of bestseller campaigns, gotten free press from my books, landed speaking engagements and many more opportunities from being an author. After several requests over the last few months from aspiring authors, we have opened up our Writer’s Mastery Course once again to help you get it done!
If you are a Mission-Driven Entrepreneur, NOW is especially the time to step up, BE THE MISSION and share your Authentic Voice & Message with the world! It may feel daunting to write a book, but you have a message and you must get it out! I’ll provide a Step-By-Step guideline of exactly how I wrote my first book in just 3 weeks, and give you a blueprint for how I took my book from idea-to-launch in 3 months!
Over this 90-day online Mastery Course, we will cover the following major categories:
  1. Foundation: Choose The Topic & Type of Book Right For You & Create A Strategic Writing Plan
  2. Content: Brainstorm Content, Write Table Of Contents & Start Writing
  3. Publishing: Editing & Publication Options/Resources
  4. Launch: Marketing, Promotional Opportunities & Business Resources
SPECIAL BONUS GIFT: I’m offering a special Early Bird BONUS for anyone committed to writing their book who registers to the course by March 17th the opportunity to have a complimentary branding and writing strategy session with me, valued at more than the program itself. The number is capped due to the interactive group coaching, so if you’re ready to step up, make sure you register ASAP to claim your bonus personalized session!

I hope you can join me to step up and BE THE MISSION! If you have any questions or conflict with the dates, please email me and we’ll set up a time to chat. Or if you need a more customized, one-to-one Coaching Strategy, I can help with that as well no matter where you’re at in the book writing and launch process.

Sculpt Your Life CoverSPECIAL BOOK GIFT: In honor of International Women’s Day, which is TODAY (March 8th), I’m offering my book Sculpt Your Life for free. Please download it and share the link with all the women, Missionpreneurs, creatives and artists you know who want to step up and BE THE MISSION! All proceeds of the kindle book during the rest of the month of March will go toward Mission For The Arts (charities I support that empower girls through the arts).

Here’s the link:
Thank you in advance!!!!
Helping transform the world, one mission-driven author at a time! 😉 Warm regards,
AlexandraP.s. One last thing if you’re still here…

SURVEY REQUEST: As a special favor to ME, would you please take this quick Survey on Entrepreneurship? It should take 5-10 minutes and will be used for my upcoming books and articles on Entrepreneurship. Thank you!

Super Social Impact At The Super Bowl

Budweiser

Every year brands that want to take a stand on certain causes take the opportunity to do so at the Super Bowl or “Brand Bowl” as it’s often called, taking advantage of larger and more diverse viewership. This year, as opposed to other recent years, there has been a strong public reaction to cause-related ads, both positively and negatively, as many people automatically believe that publicly supporting causes directly correlates to a political view or opinion.

Nevertheless, I’m always for brands taking a stand! Here are four of my favorite cause-related ads at this year’s Super Bowl:

Audi #DriveProgress Big Game Commercial – “Daughter”

Ironically the first pre-released Super Bowl commercial I watched was Audi’s gender equality ad, which I stumbled upon on Twitter from a user that was attempting to minimize that cause.

Audi takes a stand for equal pay, citing a 2016 report by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee that finds women were paid 21% less than men on average. They also made a statement that they signed the Equal Pay Pledge in December as part of their ongoing commitment to pay equality.

According to Audi’s YouTube page:

“This is a story of a young girl competing in a downhill cart race in her hometown. As the fearless daughter weaves her way through a field of competitors, her father contemplates whether his daughter’s worth will be measured by her gender through a series of provocative questions. It is a reminder that progress doesn’t belong to any one group. Progress is for everyone.”

The 1-minute ad ends with the phrases Equal Pay For Equal Work and Progress for Everyone as well as the hashtag #DriveProgress. The tweet from Audi during the Super Bowl has already received 24k likes and 9k retweets, with some extra love from actress Elizabeth Banks, who is affiliated with Audi and the campaign.

This ad hit me on multiple levels. Emotionally I can connect with the father’s compassion toward his daughter and his desire to see her succeed and not be devalued simply based on her gender. As a woman, surely the equal pay issue is something that I can connect with, although I personally have never worried or cared about this myself, as I have always viewed and used my gender to my advantage. It was applauded by women’s and diversity rights groups, but didn’t come without controversy of course, from seemingly misogynistic persons who want to taut equal pay as a nonissue despite the research.

Click here to see the Audi ad.

Budweiser 2017 Super Bowl Commercial | “Born The Hard Way”

This is the second and only other prereleased ad I saw before the Super Bowl. Budweiser’s YouTube page says: “This is the story of our founder’s ambitious journey to America in pursuit of his dream: to brew the King of Beers”. The commercial shows a fairly realistic portrayal of Budweiser founder Adolphus Busch as he travels from Germany on board a ship and sets foot on U.S. soil and eventually meets co-founder Eberhard Anheuser in St. Louis, Missouri. It’s truly the American Dream story of two foreign-born immigrants that meet in the U.S. and create what’s now known as an “American” brand.

With the relevancy of the anti-immigration policies that President Trump is supporting, Budweiser is taking a bold move supporting this cause by possibly alienating its fan base with this immigration story. Again, many people want to perceive cause-related support as playing politics rather than just seeing it for what it is: the true story of the founding of this company. There are many German-descended immigrants in the U.S., especially in the midwest, so why not embrace this? Not surprisingly, it had it’s trolls who created a #BoycottBudwiser (notice the misspelling) that trended on Twitter, with both sides weighing in. But the video has received the most views of any commercial so far, with 24 million on YouTube, and the Budweiser tweet during the Super Bowl with hashtag #ThisBudsForYou has received 51k likes and 24k retweets so far.

From my perspective, as a child of immigrants and an entrepreneur myself, I believe this is a beautiful portrayal of the American Dream–making the most out of the resources and opportunities one’s given and becoming successful doing it. It’s the story of every immigrant–it captures trials and tribulations, emotions and opportunities, and many people can empathize with it. Great job Budweiser!

Click here to see the Budweiser ad.

We Accept | Airbnb

Airbnb has responded quickly to create a massive social campaign over the last 2 weeks using its platform to round up volunteers to help house immigrants who have been affected by the U.S. immigration policies and Executive Order. The company’s commitment to help refugees and immigrants is augmented by its pledge to support 100k immigrants over the next 5 years and donation of $4 million to immigrant and refugee related charity groups.

#WEACCEPT AIRBNBSo why this ad? According to company founder Brian Chesky via Twitter, Airbnb decided to pay for the Super Bowl
spot just this Thursday and ended up filming the ad that same night with Airbnb employees. “It’s always been part of our family’s value system to love everyone. We all belong to this world,” was tweeted by Airbnb.

The ad promoted loving everyone, accepting diversity no matter who you love, who you worship etc and used the new motto along as the campaign hashtag #WeAccept. The tweet posting the ad on Twitter has already received 52k likes and 26k retweets since it was posted last night. Once again, some people on Twitter took to sharing their discontent with Airbnb’s stance and criticized the company for politicizing.

It’s really hard to not approve of this message when the message is more about love and inclusiveness then it is specifically about immigration. You must really have a chip on your shoulder to not like the message of this sweet and sincere ad. As a child of refugee immigrants and an Airbnb host and guest myself, I strongly support the company’s mission and pledge and I believe it was a compassionate move for Airbnb considering the company now operates in over 119 countries around the world. Also great move using the company’s own employees to also reflect and promote diversity both in general and at the company.

Click here to see the Airbnb ad.

84 Lumber Super Bowl Commercial – The Entire Journey

Okay so who is 84 Lumber? The company took the opportunity to directly tackle the immigration issue.

A post on Twitter said “See a mother & daughter’s symbolic journey toward becoming legal American citizens.” The full uncut film on YouTube page shows a mother and daughter in Mexico that leave their home town in search for a better opportunity in the U.S. They travel through not such pleasant circumstances, like riding in the back of a pickup truck, trekking through the dessert, and running through rain. At the end they come up against “the wall” and are visibly saddened and defeated, only to find a door that opens up to their new opportunity in the U.S.

I’d never heard of the company, so from that standpoint this was a good awareness campaign, tied to a strong, relevant cause. Emotionally, as an immigrant, as a mom, as a human, this has to pull at your heartstrings somehow. Of course, not without it’s own controversy from the folks who want to build a wall with Mexico and keep out immigrants. Good move having the immigrants be a mother and daughter, reframing the view of who immigrants are away from this perception of “murderers and rapists” that gets thrown around sometimes.

That said, perhaps because this company is not historically a big social media user (they only have 19k followers on Twitter as of today), they didn’t take advantage of creating a hashtag. I believe the campaign could have benefited from creating a hashtag, also for tracking purposes, even though the tweet received 32k likes and 17k retweets.

Click here to see the full uncut 5 minute Lumber 84 ad promotional film.

Honorable Mention: Coke’s America The Beautiful

And of course, you can’t forget that Coke recycled a previous Super Bowl’s commercial of America The Beautiful being sung in multiple languages. The message of course is promoting diversity, especially as the most recognized brand in the world. Naturally anything that promotes diversity in the U.S. causes some backlash as many people erroneously believe that the U.S. has an official language (it doesn’t!) of English (it’s not!). This commercial doesn’t get old, it’s still one of my favorites!

Here is that Coke ad.

Do you agree or disagree? Did I miss one you liked? Share your comments below.

About Alexandra Figueredo:

Alexandra is a Social Entrepreneurship and Impact researcher and strategist, freelance writer and author and founder of Mission Based Branding Institute research and training platform for social impact. This reformed banker turned entrepreneur is also an arts and culture lover, traveler (5 continents and counting!) and citizen of the world! Follow her musings at @OnAMissionAlex.

Airbnb: Housing For Social Impact

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In the venture capital world, investors typically look for businesses that can scale easily. Scalability is a way to reach more consumers and leverage resources as a company grows. Socially-responsible businesses that are trying to scale, however, sometimes face a problem: how to scale, focus on results and profit, and still make an impact?

According to BusinessDictionary.com, Social Impact is defined as: the effect of an activity on the social fabric of the community and well-being of the individuals and families. Impact could be philanthropic, legacy-building or some other initiative or program internally or externally that aims to make a difference.

One example of a social enterprise that has scaled successfully is Airbnb. Founders Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky began the hospitality company in 2008 out of their apartment in San Francisco when they played superhost and rolled out air mattresses to 3 guests who couldn’t find accommodations at a design convention in town.

Airbnb’s mission is “create a world where people can belong when they travel by being connected to local cultures and having unique travel experiences.”

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky speaks onstage during "Introducing Trips" Reveal at Airbnb Open LA on November 17, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Airbnb) *** Local Caption *** Brian Chesky
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky. Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Airbnb

As they expanded beyond the Bay Area, the company targeted political conventions, conferences and other events around the country. They eventually expanded outside of the country as it grew slowly by word-of-mouth until it reached the critical point ripe for venture capital. The multibillion dollar company now operates in over 190 countries.

From the onset, the savvy founders not only wanted to create experiences for hosts to earn extra income while guests gained more affordable and generally better-value accommodations; they also wanted to create experiences. Airbnb guests receive one-on-one contact and maintain a direct relationship with hosts, and because they stay in homes of locals, they tend to assimilate better and feel like locals themselves. Hotel guests don’t typically have such “experiences”, unless they stay at exclusive 5-star accommodations, with 5-star service, and 5-star staff. The company is creating unique travel experiences both for hosts and their guests.

The founders crafted their vision and corporate culture to align with their mission. One of their mottos with employees is in fact, Champion the Mission, which continues to be a priority as the company grows to 3 million listings with over 150 million total guest check-ins (airbnb.com). It’s worth mentioning that the founders truly are altruistic, as evidenced by Chesky, Gebbia and the third co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk and his wife each agreeing to join The Giving Pledge to donate 50% or more of their assets to charity.

On top of that, the company has used its leverage and resources to provide solutions in times of crises. The company’s Disaster Response Program mobilizes locals in disaster areas who volunteer and provide free housing to displaced persons and relief workers deployed to help in the areas. The program was created as a response to Hurricane Sandy, which hit the Caribbean and East Coast of the U.S. in October 2012, leaving thousands of people without homes. One resourceful host in Brooklyn, NY, stepped up to volunteer and house victims, which led to over one thousand Airbnb hosts in New York opening their homes and volunteering to help those who lost their homes or businesses.

Kellie Bentz, Airbnb’s Head of Global Disaster Relief, who started a disaster recovery project called HandsOn New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, said “Throughout my career, I’ve seen the terrible devastation that disasters can inflict, but I’ve also seen the powerful ways that communities come together to respond and recover. At Airbnb we have a real opportunity to use our disaster response program to help these communities in a time of need.”

After the rollout of President Trump’s controversial immigration plan during his first week in office, many U.S. residents, immigrants and refugees were left stranded in airports across the world, prevented from entering the U.S., or deported back to their home countries. Airbnb decided to deploy the concept of the Disaster Response Program and create a special page for affected immigrants in need of housing. Chesky sent out a series of tweets January 28-29, 2017 from his Twitter account @bchesky:

Not allowing countries or refugees into America is not right, and we must stand with those who are affected. Airbnb is providing free housing to refugees and anyone not allowed in the US. Stayed tuned for more, contact me if urgent need for housing. If you’re able to host refugees in need via Airbnb, you can sign up here:http://abnb.co/VH9hWbChesky, Gebbia and Airbnb encourage those who wish to volunteer their homes to sign up as hosts for said immigrants and refugees who have been displaced all over the world. Much like Facebook’s Safety Check that uses the social network’s reach to allow those in disaster areas to confirm they are safe, Airbnb’s response is a perfect example of how resourcefulness, leverage and social responsibility can make a major impact on individuals and communities around the world. Ancillary benefits to the business include a big boost in PR and social media exposure, not to mention increased goodwill among customers and shareholders that share in the company’s mission.

For companies like Airbnb, making social impact a priority is just good business.

About Alexandra Figueredo:

Alexandra is a Social Entrepreneurship and Impact researcher and strategist, freelance writer and author and founder of Mission Based Branding Institute research and training platform for social impact. This reformed banker turned entrepreneur is also an arts and culture lover, traveler (5 continents and counting!) and citizen of the world! Follow her musings at @OnAMissionAlex