Thursday, December 31, 2009

The New World Of BOGO And B1G1

By David Anttony

Definitions of words often change quite quickly these days. In the distant past the meaning of words was often set in stone. Today the meaning can change in a blink. With new faster ways to communicate with wider and more culturally, socially and education

There is a growing global movement where consumers are asking businesses to take care of the things that they care about. The request is mainly tacit and despite it being an ironic request it non-the-less signals that we are in a time of change. Consumers these days want their 'goodies' but they don't want the environment to be destroyed in the creation of their 'goodies'. They want cheap products but they do not want workers to suffer to create those cheap products.

There may not seem an answer to this complex puzzle and yet one actually exists. It exists in the reforging of a simple single word - GET. Today there is a new movement of people wanting to get but give at the same time and they are reforging its meaning into the word GIVE.

Every day automated email notices arrive in my inbox from Google Alerts for two keywords - BOGO and B1G1. I see all the new places these words are turning up on the Internet. Little by little these two words are gaining a their new meaning as more and more people take up the Buy One Give One cause.

B1G1 and BOGO, despite sounding like characters from a Marvel comic are acronyms for Buy One GET One free. You buy one and they give you an extra one for the same price.

If you look on Wikipedia you will find these definitions for BOGO (there isn't a definition yet for B1G1) -

* An acronym in the retail industry that stands for Buy One Get One. For example, you could say "Buy 1 DVD, Get 1 FREE!

* An acronym in slang British that stands for Britons Of Greek Origin or Greek Britons.

* Bogo, Cebu, a city in central Philippines.

* Norway, a village in Norway.

* Norway, a village in Norway.

* The mascot of the ITESM CEM.

* Bogosort, an ineffective sorting algorithm

* BogoMips, an unscientific measurement of CPU speed

BOGO lights

There is an organisation in the USA called SunLight Solar founded by a gentleman called Mark Bent. He has created a special torch that not only is an amazing and robust solar-powered light; his company also gives a free torch to a family in need in developing nations for each one purchased. If you look on their website you will learn about their "BOGOlight".

"The BoGo - our Buy one/Give one - program has successfully provided lights to many, many thousands of people in the developing world, changing lives because of your purchase and participation." -

Mark Bent has flipped the BOGO acronym upside down when he started to use the word as part of his product name. For him now and the thousands who buy his lights, BOGO today means Buy One GIVE One. Each person gets to give a light every time they buy one for themselves. So now with each sale people who do not have the benefit of electricity can tap the power of the sun to support them in their lives.

There are many other well known and many less well know businesses doing Buy One Give One giving, or transaction-based giving as its becoming known. Some of the famous companies are OLPC - One-Laptop-Per-Child and TOM'S Shoes. Some of the less well-known ones (in the US at least) are based in Oceania and the UK - Earthstar Publishing, Maple Muesli, Blinds Couture, Figure 8 Body Chains, Sunsplash Homes, Honestly Women magazine and Thavibu Gallery based in Thailand are just a small handful of these special businesses that are leading the Buy One Give One movement.

There are many Buy One Give One businesses now uniting under the common brand banner of Buy1GIVE1 managed by a Singapore based social enterprise which is becoming the home of transaction-based giving. Any business in the world can now integrate Buy One Give One giving with ease. It's like a 'CSR plug-in' allowing a business to instantaneously start giving from each and every sale, starting from just 1 cent. It's also no longer about giving an equivalent product to someone else. Instead it is about contributing to a project that resonates with a company's activity. For example a restaurant can feed a child, a television retailer can give a cataract blind person the gift of sight (Get Vision-Give Vision), a magazine publisher can plant a tree every time they sell a subscription and a property developer can build a low-cost family home for those in need (Buy1BUILD1) - the list is simply endless.

There is something very special happening these days as more and more people are switching to giving and what are known as 'citizen brands' as a part of their everyday experience. In the 2008 Goodpurpose study of global consumer attitudes it reveals that almost 68% of consumers would choose to remain loyal to a brand during an economic downturn if it supports a good cause. And 71% say that when they think about the economic downturn, they have either given the same or more time and money to good causes. This study also highlighted some other key points as well such as:

* 54% would promote a brand and its products if there was a good cause behind it.

* 54% would sing the praises of a brand to promote their products if there was a good cause behind it.

* Globally consumers are voicing a distinct desire for marketers to associate their brands to social causes. Forty-two percent say that if two products or services are of a similar quality and price, commitment to a cause trumps factors like innovation, design and brand loyalty when selecting one brand over another.

Turning Getting into Giving

In the minds of consumers, Buy One GIVE One is sure to replace Buy One GET One as the global giving movement led by Buy1GIVE1 ripples out. Certainly with the large consumer demand shown for products from companies like BOGOlights, TOMS Shoes and One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), this tide will continue to spread.

I did a recent Google search to find the top 25 keywords associated with the keywords BOGO and B1G1. The results were interesting indeed seeing none of them contained the word Give. You can see the results below. It will be interested to repeat this experiment in 12 months time to see what changes. Consumers are now starting to drive significant change and despite them wanting to receive free gifts (as in traditional BOGO/B1G1), they equally want to help others and the environment. This feeling is validated by 2008's Goodpurpose global study.

Here are the results:

Free, shopping, pics, join, prose, photography, blogging, discount, boots, groups, music, dallas, togo themes, wallpapers, buy, applications, skins, values, coupon, gift, sharing, networking, African.

Transaction-based or transactional giving

Unlike normal charitable giving Buy One Give One giving is transactional. What is meant by that is: every time you buy something you give something. In the case of SunNight Solar they give a physical light for every light sold. In most cases, businesses that become part of this special form of transaction-based giving, give in a different way. At Buy1GIVE1, giving can start from just USD 1c contribution per sale. At this amount no business in the world can say they cannot give and 100% contributed goes to the cause.

The amount of money that is contributed isn't the focus with Buy1GIVE1 transaction based giving. The focus instead is on the story and sharing the simple joy of giving. After all, if you think that 1c isn't a lot to give and would not make much of a difference think again.

From its origins in Ethiopia, where the main coffee production is still from wild coffee tree forests, coffee consumption has spread globally. Brazil is still by far the largest coffee producer in the world producing on average 28% of the world's total coffee. In 2006 Brazil produced enough coffee to make 216,400,000,000 (216 billion four hundred million) espresso coffees. If we were to calculate across global production then we get a daily global consumption of around 2,117,416,830 cups of coffee - wow. The figures are somewhat hard to track down but let's guess that 40% of the world's coffee is sold and consumed in coffee shops then we would get that 846,966,732 cups are sold commercially each day globally - nearly 900 million. This would equate to about'5,485,714 cups in the US on its own seeing they purchase around 21% of the world's coffee.

If we considered the impact of the coffee industry alone taking up Buy1-Give1, imagine now that for every cup of coffee sold a child in a developing region like Sub-Sahara Africa received clean drinking water from a well and it only costing 1cent to do this. Surely any coffee shop could afford to contribute this amount from the sale of a single cup of coffee. Imagine the different that this one action alone would make in the world.

Transaction based giving is the story of a thousand mile journey starting with the first step. To dig a well costs a few thousand dollars hence many communities in developing nations cannot afford to dig wells. But when you see that it only takes the sale of a single cup of coffee to give clean well water to a single person for a day1, then you can see the magic of transactional based giving. Buy1GIVE1 giving is like the compound interest of giving - a little turns into a lot very quickly.

So many companies are used to doing things on their own. Doing transactional giving is no different. A company can go out find a cause and start doing Buy One Give One giving. And yet they are missing the point when they do this. Buy1GIVE1 giving is about sharing the joy of giving and not trying to change the world. As soon as you step up and say you are going to change the world then the world will step up and challenge you. Within a heartbeat a company would experience the sharp scrutiny of the media inspecting their every move. And yet when a company steps up and says it is supporting what its customer want and joins with others in its industry to do that in a win-win way, the story is different. When companies choose to join together under a commonly recognised banner/brand they can have a powerful joint effect. The ripple that a single company creates is added to that of another and the ripple grows into a tidal wave that benefits so many. This is the power of giving and doing things together.

The final power of Buy One Give One transaction based giving is that everyone wins - the consumer wins - at no extra cost to themselves they have made a difference through their purchasing choices - the business wins in so many ways - and the worthy cause or charity wins because they can now receive small amounts from many sources all aggregated and paid as a lump sum from a single source if done through the Buy1GIVE1 service.

A new start

If you go and check today for the word BOGO you should find that a new definition has been added. It's time for a tide-change - a change from focusing on GETTING to working with GIVING. I added this small addition to Wikipedia's BOGO definition: "... an acronym in the marketing industry that stands for Buy One GIVE One."

Simply imagine our world where every time you go and buy something you give something automatically and seamlessly - giving a gift forward to someone in greater need than you. This is the simple joyful magic of transactional giving.

This is the world I choose to be a part of.

Just remember - you don't 'get' giving till you get giving.


Footnotes: 1 Calculated by taking the average cost to dig a well, dividing it by its average expected life without major maintenance divided by the number of people in the community benefiting from the well on a daily basis.

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1 Comment:

  1. Anonymous said...
    The Center for Media Research has released a study by Vertical Response that shows just where many of these ‘Main Street’ players are going with their online dollars. The big winners: e-mail and social media. With only 3.8% of small business folks NOT planning on using e-mail marketing and with social media carrying the perception of being free (which they so rudely discover it is far from free) this should make some in the banner and search crowd a little wary.

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