Sometimes a simple sign in the street is the best way to raise awareness of a campaign. Especially if it is manufactured by a social enterprise.
Here at Nuneaton Signs, we are proud to be one of over 100,000 social enterprises in the UK. We produce a wide range of commercial signs, from road signs to internal wayfinding and health & safety signs. The thing which sets us apart from other sign manufacturers is that we reinvest all of our profits into our social mission, which is to provide meaningful employment opportunities to disabled people.
We operate in the business-to-business (B2B) space, and the good news is that more and more large businesses are bringing social enterprises into their supply chains. They see this as a way to build diversity, sustainability, innovation and social value into their day-to-day business spend. The Buy Social Corporate Challenge, launched by Social Enterprise UK in 2016, is helping to open up this market and it has been a fabulous concept from our point of view in the way it has brought us new opportunities.
24 high-profile companies are now signed up to the Corporate Challenge, and it has engaged many people who may not have known what social enterprises are or may have had doubts about them. We find that there can sometimes be a perception problem around social enterprises. People sometimes assume that they may not be able to deliver on quality and in a timely manner. The Buy Social Corporate Challenge has been valuable on myth-busting, helping to prove that businesses like ours can be relied upon for their quality, their customer service, and importantly delivering the product when it is needed. Indeed, when surveyed by Social Enterprise UK, 100% of Buy Social Corporate Challenge businesses reported that social enterprises deliver comparable or higher quality when compared with other suppliers.
This is one of many findings in the report released today by Social Enterprise UK looking at four years of the Corporate Challenge. The report shows that year four was the initiative’s best year yet in terms of corporate spend with social enterprises.
How does this work in practice? The overall message is straightforward – if you are going to buy something anyway, why not buy from an organisation that is giving back to society? When you buy from a social enterprise you truly are investing in people and a new way of doing business.
In our case, we find traction when individual sites and offices are nudged to think about where they are buying their items from. We have seen that it can help for individual sites to have individual targets, challenging every person to get involved, take responsibility and look at where they spend their money.
One of many things we have delivered to clients such as Wates is Buy Social Signs displayed around construction sites, both internally and externally. I have heard people ask ‘what that is all about?’. On one site, in particular, I was looking at external hoarding signs, and a member of the public saw the sign, got out their phone and looked up ‘Buy Social’ to see what it meant. Reaching this one member of the public can only help the ripple effect to go even further.
When we start supplying a new customer, every member of staff at Nuneaton Signs is involved in the process and is genuinely excited that our story is being shared, from the designers who create the signs, through to the factory staff who make the signs, our despatch department and our delivery drivers – each and every member of staff understands the importance of your decision to order from us.
The Buy Social Corporate Challenge has definitely had a positive impact on our business here at Nuneaton Signs, helping to bring new customers on board who are genuinely passionate about what we do and how we help change people’s lives.
Sometimes it can begin with a simple sign.
Click here to download the Buy Social Corporate Challenge Year 4 Impact Report
To find out more about Nuneaton Signs, visit nuneatonsigns.co.uk