Double Bottom Lineage

Pardon the dust on this blog – a few months back I fell into a rabbit hole. It came in the form of a business model called The Double Bottom Line.

Have you heard of it?

If not, let me explain in brief. Because it is very much worth knowing about. The double bottom line is a business model and brand foundation in which a company measures its success by both the profit it pulls in and the profit it gives out. It’s combining profitability and responsibility into a “not-JUST-for-profit” business formula.

Sounds a lot like cause marketing, right? Wrong. Double bottom line is not an initiative. It is intrinsically linked with a brand’s purpose from the brand DNA up. The profit depends on the purpose, which is what makes it different from other for-profit businesses. And its purpose depends on its profits. Which makes it different from non-profits.

Making money is essential to a double bottom line.  And, as it is turning out, inevitable as well. From the looks of the way consumers are responding, the double bottom line is the golden goose egg in today’s economy. From the Yale school of business to the billionaire Richard Branson, it is being applied to create incredible success across the board. The double bottom line is being touted as the differentiating business success strategy of the 21st century.

Take, for example,  an epically successful double bottom line brand by the name of Pandora. On a very high level, this brand’s second bottom line is to freely connect harmony and humanity. And on a more day-to-day level, they put this second bottom line in action by bringing music into schools where a lack of funding had cut arts and music programs.

And it was this second bottom line that secured start up funding for Pandora from a VC firm that invests only in double bottom line brands.

Yep, as crazy as it sounds, there are a growing number of VC funds out there who will only invest in brands that have a double bottom line. Now, as you can imagine, few people have their fingers more firmly on the pulse of success strategies than venture capitalists. It’s essential to protecting their investments. And while they are investing base on the results they see, I’m taking a moment to focus on the reason for those results.

What is the secret sauce in double bottom line branding that makes it so success savvy, anyway?

As with most intrinsically brilliant creations, the answer is actually quite simple: People are responding so authentically and powerfully to the double bottom line because it speaks to the very heart of who we are. Underneath it all, we – you and me alike – are all double bottom line enterprises.

We are born that way.

Think about it: We are human, with a need to feel safe and experience all the pleasures of life (which we can do when we have a profitable business that gives us financial security). And we are spiritual, with a need to feel our greater connection and discover meaning in this thing called life (which we can do by offering our unique gifts in a way that benefits the world in a bigger way).

This duality is at the heart of who we are.  It is, literally, the way in which we were born to express ourselves. So when you bring these two parts of you together into a single brand expression, shazam! A switch is tripped. And the real power starts to flow. And that power has a name: You.

Suddenly, you bring ALL of you to the game of business and the game of life. How could a unified force like that ever be anything other than unstoppably successful?

When you double down on your bottom line, you immediately begin operating from a more powerful and authentic place inside yourself. And in doing so, you connect more authentically and powerfully with consumers in your marketplace. As well as family, friends, and everyone else in your life.

We all have within us, amazing things to share. And there is nothing, nothing at all, wrong with making money doing just that. Money is not the root of all evil. It is a powerful ally for good – the more you make, the more you happiness you can spread, in both your life and the lives of others.

The business world is, at long last, offering us the opportunity to be ourselves. Our whole, real, true, unstoppable selves. Nothing could be more valuable. Nothing could be more fulfilling. Nothing could bring the walking dead of the corporate world more quickly back to life.

And there in lies the double bottom line of Branding Powers: To build brands that allow what you do for a living actually making you feel more alive. And by alive, I mean brimming with vitality professionally, personally, financially, socially, creatively and spiritually.

The marriage of personal satisfaction and professional success is no longer a pipe dream. It’s now a very real, very proven, quickly growing business model that the entire world is readily adopting. And it’s just waiting for you.

How ‘bout them double bottom line apples?

©2012 THE BOOK OF DUH, Merry Carole Powers, Sarah Feit Cornett