Welcome to Fantastic B Corps, MyCorporation’s salute to the entity that gives back to business and society. Join us biweekly for a glimpse at the entrepreneurs using their small business to “B The Change” in this global movement for good.
At Oliver Russell, social responsibility is “baked” into everything that the marketing agency does, from brand design to integrated campaigns. The brainchild of Russ Stoddard, Oliver Russell is committed to moving forward by embracing change in the brands they build for purpose-driven companies. Read on to find out more about Russ and his Boise, ID-based B Corp.
From lemonade stands to running a business: “Our purpose (mission) is to improve the lives of all we touch through meaningful work and the power of social enterprise. I’m an entrepreneur—always have been from my youth and days of lemonade stands and other endeavors. I just figured I could do a better job with Oliver Russell than other brand marketing firms and make a positive difference in the world at the same time.”
The reason why we got certified as a B Corp: “We’re actually both a Certified B Corporation and an Idaho Public Benefit Corporation. Certifying as a B Corporation provided a sound way of proving our social responsibility and an actionable framework for improving it. Becoming a legal public benefit corporation was commitment at its highest order—we not only have the flexibility to seek positive social and environmental outcomes in addition to financial profit, we now have the obligation and legal responsibility to do so. Being a B Corp is baked into our legal charter which is important. ”
Our two greatest success stories: “We’ve been in business for 26 years, so there are more than a few, but two stand out: Being a key player in securing the funding for the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial here in Boise and being named by B Lab as a B Corp that’s ‘Best for the World,’ three years running: twice as Best in World for Workers and once for Best in World for Governance.”
The way we work to “B The Change” daily: “First, we focus on branding for purpose-driven companies that have a product, service, or business model that benefits society. So, we’re in the trenches helping social entrepreneurs achieve their goals. Every single day we are also working on impact investments in our community—either through equity investments in social enterprise startups or through volunteering and pro bono service contributions.”
If you want to form a B Corp… “First, pay attention to a viable business model that includes financial profit as an engine to drive your social impact—no margin, no mission. Second, realize there are many, many kindred spirits who can help you through the process of certifying as a B Corporation or electing legal Benefit Corporation status—it’s a very open door community. Third, you can learn a lot more in the book I’ve written that will be published in September, ‘Rise Up — How to Build a Socially Conscious Business” — available now for pre-order on Amazon.”
What the future looks like for Benefit Corporations: “I think it’s bright. It might evolve and morph over time, but it will become the standard method for conducting business, driven by two factors: people who choose to invest their careers and talents in working for Benefit Corporations and consumers who increasingly look to effect positive social and environmental change by spending their dollars with Benefit Corporations.”
About Russ Stoddard, Founder of Oliver Russell
Russ Stoddard began his career as a river guide before entering the corporate world where he has become recognized as an expert working at the confluence of business and social responsibility. He is author of the upcoming book (Elevate Publishing, available September 2017) on social enterprise, “Rise Up – How to Build a Socially Conscious Company.” He is the founder and president of Oliver Russell, a public benefit corporation that builds brands for purpose-driven companies whose products, services or business models benefit society. Oliver Russell has been recognized internationally as a “Best Workplace” and for “Best Governance” multiple times. Russ is a leader in the certified B Corporation community, a new classification of companies that use the power of business to solve social and environmental issues. He also co-founded Social Good Network, has started five nonprofits, and serves as advisor to social enterprise startups, including GoodWell. He has received awards for lifetime achievements in community service from the American Advertising Federation, the YMCA, and his alma mater, the University of Puget Sound.