For the past 15 years Rubber Republic has, in the words of founder and creative director Matt Golding, “created videos that get people talking online”.
The Bristol-based firm produces an eclectic mix of video content in support of its clients’ marketing campaigns. Focusing mainly on social and environmental issues, these tend to be vivid affairs. In one of its projects for eBay, for instance, a classic 1968 Ford Mustang was converted into a glittering rainbow unicorn for Pride in London in 2017.
It’s clear that Rubber Republic is on to a good thing. The company, which has only eight people on the payroll, earned £1.3 million last year from a client list that also features Disney, Fiat and Cancer Research UK.
The business became a B Corp in 2018, having “rebooted” to focus on the climate emergency and related issues, as Golding explains: “Because we were reaching millions of people, we decided to take a long, hard look at what we were doing and why – and also at whom we were working with.
“Businesses need to challenge themselves to innovate and push harder to solve these issues. Otherwise, we’re going to face bigger problems. The idea that you can sit still and continue what you’re doing isn’t realistic.”
All bets are off
The firm decided that it wouldn’t work with any client whose values conflicted with those of the B Corp movement. It has since declined approaches from a number of gambling ventures, for instance.
“We will work for firms that do stuff that is ‘neutral’, but we are turning away those that work against B Corp aims,” Golding says. “The main issue for us was that, while we’d always had a really good set of ethics, we’d never had to put things in writing. Certification was less about changing the fundamentals of the business and more about codifying existing policies in the company handbook. From that perspective, it was a really positive process.”
Golding believes that many entrepreneurs are starting to feel they should be doing business differently, but they lack the confidence to act on those feelings because these don’t align with the conventional wisdom that business schools have been teaching for decades.
“We’re trying to help people recognise that they have conversations outside work about the world’s problems, yet all of that’s forgotten when they’re back in the office chasing the next quarter’s numbers. That conflict will be problematic,” he predicts. “Those feelings you’re having should be listened to, because they’ll help you to innovate and build an enterprise with long-term resilience. That’s what we want to help people and businesses do. The world needs this right now.”
As such, while Golding is a strong advocate of the B Corp movement, he believes that it’s only part, albeit an important one, of a broader mission. “For us,” he says, “being a B Corp is the least that we have to do.”
The full article can be read in the April / May 2020 issue of Director magazine
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