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A Mighty Class! Navigating Consumer Behavior and Social Enterprise!

Kim Allchurch-Flick of  Mighty Epiphyte Consulting teaching class on consumer behavior and social enterprise
Kim of Mighty Epiphyte in her Super Hero shirt

Sometimes a person needs a Super Hero shirt! I was teaching about consumer behavior for good when even experts find it hard to define Social Enterprise!

This was our starting point for Consumer Behavior class at Portland State University in April. It’s hard and confusing to be a consumer, particularly when we’re are busy, and don’t know what to search for. As a product marketer in charge of a company, it can be confusing to know how to best reach customers, clients and stakeholders. What will drive them most? Price? Value, mission, quality? Perhaps all of that.

In class we took a look at both sides of the decisions and inputs that drive behaviors from perspectives of the consumers and the company founders and marketing professionals.

The students were super engaged finding ways to navigate the confusion to:

  1. Find ways to be good, discerning consumers and
  2. Pretend to be the product marketing directors, creating strategy to market the product and the mission, vision, and impacts.

What is Consumer Behavior and Social Enterprise?

Journal of Management Vol 45 #1 January 2019
What is Social Enterprise? Confusing, even to academics

By asking each student about their major and a favorite product, we created categories to study. Then, in groups they focused on those categories: food, athletic shoes, electronics, art supplies, apparel.

Taking the perspective of a consumer searching for a socially and environmentally responsible company and product offering, they searched and then offered insight into their findings. Then I encouraged them to switch to company marketing mode and offer ideas for how the company they chose could market the product AND the mission and vision, positive impacts that could be made evident to consumers.

Thought process for finding products with ties to positive social, environmental impacts

PSU Business, Consumer Behavior

The great thing about teaching is the learning experience. In the three plus hours of class, we all uncovered ideas, found possibilities and learned. I am grateful to have been a part of this adventure with the PSU Business students in Consumer Behavior.

We looked at aspects of certifications such as B Corp and Benefit Corporations for Good, and organizations that educate and teach about social enterprise, Human Centered Design, Conscious Capitalism, Ashoka and more. We navigated some good, bad and ugly through time and discussed the concept of “First do no harm,” and the importance of transparency as a two way street, to call out potential green washing.

The students were so engaged, inquisitive, smart and discerning, it gives me hope for the future! We’re all learning how to be better discerning consumers, employees, leaders and advocates for good. It is not easy, it is worth it. Consumers can drive missions by voting with their wallets, companies can drive consumer behavior by sharing the good that can happen by making purchase choices that support companies that have documented impacts and outreach.

Mighty Epiphyte Consulting

Mighty Epiphyte Consulting helps companies navigate business and marketing strategies to reach consumers, stakeholders and community through understanding of behaviors. It can be challenging to market a product or service and mission and vision, and it’s imperative! Let us help you make it easier for your customers to find you by knowing how much you care! Being concerned about and responsible for People, Planet, Profit and purpose is important, it’s our future, it’s confusing, and we’re here to help!

We’re here to help! Contact mightyepiphyte@gmail.com 503-200-0201 @mightyepiphyte – a Benefit Corporation for Good, B Corp, 1% for the Planet, 4Ocean, Earth Advantage certified company.

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