Getting city governments in on the move to address income inequality
In one year, B Lab’s Best for NYC campaign got 1,200 local businesses to measure their impact on workers, community and environment. The idea was that in doing so, it would show business owners where they could then improve. With the New York City Economic Development Corporation as a partner, B Lab broke through the adoption curve, reaching business owners who don’t normally identify as being part of the sustainability or social impact movement. Yulu’s job was to use this case study to send a message to business media – measuring your impact is here to stay.
It turns out community and business reporters still glaze over at mention of “social impact,” a keyword in our initial outreach announcing the end of the campaign. We took our first pitch right back to the drawing board. First, we centered the story only on worker rights and job quality and used the language of the higher minimum wages movement to build it out as an economic and employment story. In addition to extending the shelf life of our pitch, we knew most publications have a business reporter on this specific beat. The resulting pitch: Best for NYC addresses income inequality by helping cities and local businesses buck the employment trend of declining job quality.
The new angle worked. Media were more receptive to the pitch and understood the story we were telling right away. The Atlantic reached out for interviews for a video series being developed around businesses in blue-collar industries. As we continued to look for a timely hook to sweeten the pot, our research took us to the political landscape on the west coast, where Best for Portland was on the city’s chopping block amidst other controversy surrounding Mayor Charlie Hales’ 2016 budget. We know a good issues hijacking opportunity when we see one, so we added on a Portland-specific pitch to our economic and employment story, securing a print op-ed in the Portland Business Journal.
Several more cities are rolling out “Best for…” campaigns in the months to come, including Portland and Denver. We’re excited to see these city partnerships get out the message that the first step to creating higher quality jobs is to measure the impact of a business, and a simple tool already exists out there. We know our successors can build on our findings through Best for NYC when time comes to pitch those stories.