May 29, 2018  |  by Miller Hollingsworth

Bloom Communications was honored to recently attend the RecognizeGood Ethics in Business & Community Awards Luncheon, an annual celebration for those who set an example of exemplary ethical practices. RecognizeGood is a local nonprofit that “provides a means for individuals, businesses and other nonprofits to illuminate selfless volunteers, charitable acts and community service throughout the greater Austin area.” This is accomplished through a variety of programs, one of them being the Ethics in Business & Community Awards Luncheon — but all strive to illuminate good in the community.

As firm believers in the practice of ethical behavior and giving back ourselves, we were thrilled to attend this event, learn from the presenters and award winners, and take home several conversation-starting ideas.

We rely on the values that were displayed at the luncheon, both because they represent the right thing to do and because we know that ethical and responsible business pays off. In a 2015 report by Nielson, it was found that 66 percent of consumers are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand. And according to research by the Haas School of Business at Berkeley in California, more than nine in ten millennials would switch brands for one that is associated with a cause. Additionally, researchers have found that over a 15-year period, corporate responsibility could potentially increase the market value of a company by up to 6% percent AND increase shareholder value by $1.28 billion . Clearly, ethical and sustainable practices are in an organization’s — and society’s — best interest, and the drive to do something more with business success was evident in each and every one of the luncheon’s nominees and winners.

All award recipients, which included Baylor Scott & White Health, DoubleTree Hotel Austin, Per Stirling Capital Management, Survive2Thrive Foundation, Amber Wakem of $tart Up! Kids Club, and Karen Atchley of Atchley & Associates LLP, had incredible stories regarding why they find ethical business to be of the utmost importance, and we were inspired to be in a room of so many like-minded individuals.

Presenters and award winners throughout the duration of the event uniquely defined what ethical business meant to them, a few definitions being “purpose-driven, not profit-driven,” “knowing what you have a right to do and what is right to do,” and “doing the right things for the right reason.”

We loved one presenter’s side by side comparison of ethics vs. compliance. While many workplaces have basic compliance guidelines that specify how to do business, ethics was defined as the environment of a workplace — company / individual values and a culture of trust, integrity and respect.

Our Take

If what defines ethical business can be articulated in so many ways, what does it mean at Bloom?

To further the discussion, let’s define the difference between ethics and corporate social responsibility, because while they are complementary, they are not synonymous… and we are proud to practice both. Broadly defined, ethics is how an individual or organization clarifies the difference between right and wrong and abides by those values in day-to-day operations, and social responsibility is the set of business practices, products and services that aim to benefit society as a whole. Corporate social responsibility practices could include an organization’s commitment to volunteering or annual donations / resources given in partnership with a nonprofit, as two examples.

We truly adhere to both as part of our organizational mission at Bloom. Ethical, authentic and reliable service coupled with well-rounded experience in a multitude of communications disciplines is at the heart of what we do. We pride ourselves on centering our strategies around our client’s best interest.

And when it comes to corporate social responsibility, Bloom Communications’ business model is uniquely designed to work exclusively with organizations that support our community. Our marketing and public relations services are reserved for nonprofit organizations and for-profits that have an active corporate social responsibility program. We also devote ourselves to monthly volunteer half days and are a proud member of Austin Gives, annually investing 10% of revenue back into our communities.

We loved learning about each organization’s commitment to both ethics and corporate social responsibility at the luncheon — clear indications of not only claiming to practice such values but of putting them into action. It was an inspiring reminder for us.

To be invited to this event and included in a room with so many worthy nominees was truly an honor and a reminder that ethical practices and doing good for others is always worth it. We were encouraged by everyone in attendance, and are looking forward to what good works we’ll be able to accomplish in Austin, Portland, and beyond.