Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is | The Garage Group

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Driven by the global financial crisis, the eco-movement and the infiltration of cause marketing, companies are adopting a holistic mindset that intertwines profit, consumer centricity, social-cause orientation and environmental stewardship for an evolved perception of value. Companies are innovating their distribution and financial models and, as a result, their overall value propositions as lines blur between internally focused profitability and externally focused practices that make a difference in the world.

Treasure & Bond
Treasure & Bond is an unbranded boutique that sells accessories, artwork, books, furniture, jewelry, stationery goods and men’s, women’s and kids’ apparel from a variety of selected vendors. Opened in Manhattan by Nordstrom, it not only is paving the way for Nordstrom to learn about NewYork (a market it didn’t previously have a presence in), but also allows the company to give back: all of the boutique’s profits are donated to children’s charities. While this innovative model serves the business by establishing a New York presence, its low-key charity involvement furthers the brand’s image by presenting Nordstrom as a leader in a new wave of behind-the-scenes corporate philanthropy.

PaneraCares, a chain of pay-what-you-can cafés in urban areas like Chicago and Portland, allows each patron to pay as much of—or more than—the recommended amount, allowing money-strapped patrons to receive discounted or free products. By utilizing an existing store front and building on the brand’s established consumer trust, the cafés appeal to both wealthy and lower-income patrons. On average, each location brings in between 70% to 75% of the would-be retail value, earning enough to be self-sustaining. Such a business-savvy financial innovation allows Panera to further its value proposition by giving back to the community while generating brand loyalty among existing customers and allowing brand exposure to a wide variety of income levels.

Method and One More Pallet 
Moving beyond just “talk,” organizations are making a difference in the environment by innovating their distribution and logistics processes beyond deco-efficiency to true eco-effectiveness. One More Pallet provides shared  shipping for smaller shippers, saving cost and fuel. Method, the well-known home-care brand with a strong equity long focused on sustainability, recently developed a biodiesel shipping program featuring next-generation, fuel-efficient delivery trucks that are not only lighter and more streamlined, but run on plant oil and petroleum-blend fuel, and release 20%less environmentally damaging pollutants than standard trucks. At least some portion of the savings are passed along to the end consumer in the form of lower prices while loyalty, image and category leadership continue to be strengthened.







The Garage Review: Business Model Innovation to Harness the Constant Flux
To read about more of these trailblazing, boundary-pushing, innovative organizations, check out The 2013 Garage ReviewWe hope The 2013 Garage Review inspires you to consider how you might take an entrepreneurial approach to innovating your own business model. We’re always on the look-out for innovative business models, so send us a tweet or a quick note when you see a great example — who knows, maybe it’ll end up in our next Review!

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