Savii Group helps companies find "lost" capital to do even more good, then helps share that story. Are you ready to join the movement?
This interview was sponsored by Savii Group. See below for more information.
What does being a truly conscious company mean? It includes treating employees well, paying fair wages, caring about the environment, and giving back to the local community. But Gina Manis-Anderson, founder and CEO of Savii Group, wants to add another item to the list: making sure you’re using your profits and capital wisely. That’s what Savii Group helps mid-size and large companies do: find wasted capital and operational improvements to fund their mission and purpose. Now she and her team are launching a Purpose Accelerator to take this process one step further, by giving companies a platform and tools to engage their employees, share their stories, and track their impact. We caught up with Manis-Anderson to talk about the new venture, the challenges of pivoting a brand, and what it takes to use found money as a force for good.
Tell us the story of how Savii Group got started and how the company has evolved.
Gina Manis-Anderson: In my 25-plus-year career in consulting, I helped a lot of companies find wasted capital in their supply chains. I’d see millions and millions of dollars recovered as we discovered operational inefficiencies, and it just seemed like it went to a bottom line black hole. I worked with companies that led with profits at all costs. Even after we found this “lost” money, I would still see antiquated systems, unhappy employees, no community — just profits, profits, profits. I started wondering, “Why am I doing this? Why are companies doing this?” I wasn’t happy or fulfilled.
I started Savii Group in 2010 because I wanted to help companies discover their purpose and fuel their growth by recovering lost profits. We help companies find operational inefficiencies and waste, but we also inspire them to set an intention to do something positive — primarily reinvesting in their people and social good — with whatever money we find.
My goal is to awaken companies to a more purposeful and relevant financial model where the triple bottom line gets taken to a whole new level. Companies are checking the boxes for all sorts of other conscious practices — going through B Lab to get B Corp certification or having employee engagement exercises or sustainability initiatives — but there’s still a big gap: why are we not checking the box to be good stewards of profits? Everyone thinks they are. But we say, “Let us do an analysis and certify that you are. And if you are, great. If you’re not in certain areas, we will identify it, and then let’s see how big you can dream with found money you didn’t know you had.”
Over the past year or so, I’ve been fortunate enough to attract an incredible team to help pivot towards an extra solution set that I’m really excited about. The pivot is that now we want to help companies tell the story of what they’re doing, track its impact, and bring it to life with rich media and immersive stories that combine new 360-degree video technology with a cinematic experience.
Have your clients mostly been companies that were already doing a good job at this and wanted to do better, or were they companies that had an enlightenment and decided that this was a great way to change? Or some of each?
GMA: We’ve narrowed our focus primarily to conscious brands; brands that already understand the “why,” but maybe need help with the “how.” We’re looking for companies that feel they’re leading with purpose, but maybe they want to do more and get better, or they’re proud of what they’re doing but they want exposure and recognition for it.
But in spite of so much progress in movements like Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Conscious Capitalism, there is still ego and inertia that are getting in the way of companies doing the right thing. My experts and I could find — we have found — millions of dollars of wasted capital. It takes a great leadership team to admit they don’t know it all and let us help them.
The brands that we’ve helped in the past have done some great things. There’ve been some charitable gift-giving pledges and things like that, but no one’s taken it to the level that we’re really excited to launch with — what we’re calling the Purpose Accelerator.
What is this accelerator and why is it something you needed to launch?
GMA: The Accelerator packages everything Savii Group does: finding the capital that’s being wasted, collaborating to set the intention on how the company could repurpose that money, participating with them and matching some of their contributions to multiply the giving, telling that story, and tracking the impact.
With partners like CONSCIOUS COMPANY, several sustainability and CSR trade partners, and other media outlets, we’re launching a call to action for purpose-driven brands who want to be part of the package. Our goals is to help, recognize, and feature 10 companies who want to find money and share how they will repurpose it. We’ll not only increase their profits but also be providing them media and marketing exposure by creating immersive storytelling content that we’ll help them amplify throughout the world. I’m talking flat videos and 360-degree virtual reality video that you can watch with our little cardboard viewer, two minutes or less, basically teasing out their brand and their story.
Our COO, Rich Wilson, who has experience building technology companies in the Bay Area, is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker, and has such a great vision for getting the most out of these stories with a cinematic style that is rare in corporate storytelling. So we feel like we bring a lot of value to companies looking to innovate, do good with their businesses, and tell the world about their progress.
As for why we’re doing this, we see the need to share the stories of conscious brands. There are amazing brands — Zappos, REI, Patagonia, TOMS — with stories consumers understand. But there are many, many mid-market and large enterprises doing great work around sustainability and purpose-driven missions that don’t have that same feel to employees, consumers, shareholders, and investors. What they’re doing, how, and why, are buried in a case study, press release, or CSR/sustainability report. I can’t tell you how many times I read that stuff and can see a really a great story hiding behind it. I want to bring those stories to life. We see the Purpose Accelerator as the way to do that.
How does a brand know if they’re a good fit for applying?
GMA: The company doesn’t have to be in a certain industry — they could be a retailer, manufacturer, service provider — but they need to have at least $30 million in revenue.
But the biggest criteria is openness to allowing us to help them. You can’t worry that we’re going to find a million dollars. Let’s find a million dollars and then worry about what you’re going to do with it. When a company is open to that, that’s when the possibilities become exciting.
Let’s get back to this pivot. Deciding to go from the supply chain work you’ve been doing to also helping people tell their stories — that’s a really different skill set. How, as a company, did Savii make the decision that expanding from your core skills was the right thing to do? It’s the type of question lots of businesses face.
GMA: Yeah. Wow. Giant leap of faith and a calculated risk that we thought might pay off. If you’re not innovating and listening to yourself and hearing what your purpose is, if you just stay stagnant, then I think you die. The intention that I’ve set for Savii Group as a purpose-driven brand is to always be innovative.
I would also add that growing my team and bringing in experience and skills I didn’t have really helped define our path. Listening to my team and being open to what I didn’t know, I recognized our need to add strategic and immersive storytelling, because it would help companies more. And the world is ready for it.
Why did you decide that you wanted to partner with CONSCIOUS COMPANY beyond being a traditional advertiser, and sponsor “native” content like this interview?
GMA: First, we are all big fans of the magazine, its beautiful style, and what it stands for. I don’t want to waste time, energy, and money on uninspiring ways to share our story, so I invest my heart and soul into meaningful partnerships with people and organizations that are like-minded and who want to be part of something bigger than themselves. I feel CONSCIOUS COMPANY embodies this kind of partnership and can represent us by amplifying the stories of the businesses in our Purpose Accelerator. [Editor’s note: Look for those stories in our November/December 2016 issue.]
What’s giving you hope?
GMA: The people who believe in us and want to be part of this new and improved financial model, and seeing a moving story come together for the first time. That gives me hope and a lot of excitement as to what we can do with so many wonderful companies looking to make a difference. I’ve always felt that together we’re better, and now it just seems to be a great time to join forces with forward-thinking business leaders and multiply our collective impact.
Go to poweredbypurpose.com to nominate a CEO to be part of the accelerator.
About this sponsored post
One of our core values at CONSCIOUS COMPANY is transparency. Transparently, this interview was produced by our editorial team as part of a paid partnership between Savii Group and CONSCIOUS COMPANY. This partnership directly supports our work here at CONSCIOUS COMPANY and we deeply appreciate the Savii Group and all they do for us and the world. Interested in supporting our work and getting the word out about your company? Find more information about partnerships here.