Ben & Jerry’s: Unlocking the Power of Contribution

May 26, 2016 | Christophe Fauconnier

Business Challenge
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield started their ice cream company by opening a one scoop shop. They started small but with a very defined point of view. Ben & Jerry’s  quickly learned how to operate as a movement, as a community, preaching that a business powered by fun could be a huge catalyst to eliminate social injustice. Years later, as a result of their growth, they were bought by Unilever, becoming part of a much a bigger company. When Ben & Jerry’s reached out to Innate Motion, their biggest concern was how to maintain their soul and purpose.

Human Challenge
Ben & Jerry’s is a brand that became very aware that the key to their success was their authenticity. They selected and focused on social causes that mattered to people and now, as part of a multinational company, they were afraid to disconnect from their customer base. Their real challenge therefore was how to build relationships with their customers and make them be part of the company.  Our challenge was to find out how to make their causes personal and bring engagement close to home.

Our AHA Moment
During workshops that Innate Motion carried out with ice cream lovers and in particular with Ben & Jerry’s consumers, it became clear that the real soul of the company was in fact made up by their consumers. The brand alone did not fulfill its purpose, it needed its consumers to engage and be their activists. They would therefore maintain soul and an activist status, as long as they empowered and created real relationships with their consumers.

What makes us proud
As a result, Ben & Jerry’s turned their customers into aspiring activists, who individually or collectively engage in the company’s cause and use the backup and support of a multinational to strengthen and widen their views to other communities. By supporting controversial campaigns such as the fight to legalize same sex marriage and creating a new flavors such as Hubby Hubby and Apple-y-ever-after, Ben & Jerry’s embraced their activists who dare to care and found that purpose goes hand in hand with success.. Another examples of their activism was the campaign “if it melts its ruined” that rallied people in 26 countries to march in Paris and create awareness for climate change issues and influence the world leaders at COP21.