From Profit to Purpose

Published by Ryan O'Keeffe

Why Jago’s B-Corp Status Matters

B-Corps® use business as a force for good; they are for-profit organisations with a focus on their social and environmental impact. So how did the B-Corp® journey start for the team at Jago?

It was all about the need for personal purpose

Coming from a successful corporate sales background, I know there is more to life than competing for more and more money. In 2014 I wanted more purpose in my life, and so I decided to leave and set up my own design and marketing agency.

“Selling things and making money is ok, but doing business with people who believe in purpose and transformation is exhilarating.” – Ryan O’Keefe, Co-Founder, Jago

Soon afterwards, my children were born. They both had significant health issues. I had to work hard to keep the business alive whilst also dealing with traumatic events in my personal life. 

Yes, it was traumatic. But it made me stronger – more aware of my own potential. And ultimately, it changed the course of the business. 

It was two years before I managed to get my feet back on the ground and focus on setting a vision for Jago – but I knew from the off I wasn’t interested in just selling advertising and making money – I needed more purpose. I wanted to take this chance to give back and express gratitude for the many blessings in my life.

Aligning vision and values

By the summer of 2018, things were coming together. This is when co-founder Steve Richards and I discussed our vision for the business. We talked about where we wanted to take Jago and what our ideal client would look like. At the time, Steve was working on a project for World Vision. It was Steve who introduced me to the idea of Jago working with a B-Corp.

At this point, I didn’t know much about the B-Corp program, so I went on a discovery mission. The more I learnt, the more I thought: why settle for just working with a B-Corp – why not become one!

The original B-Corps were all fairly large organisations, and there weren’t many in the UK when we began our journey – but we agreed that we wanted Jago to be one of the first in our sector. We felt this would align us with the causes we believe in. We agreed to move forward and take our best shot, knowing that even if we failed, the process of certification itself would push us all to grow both as people and as an organisation.

Becoming B-Corp trailblazers

The Jago team were all excited by the thought of aligning our business with the values of B-Corps, and all agreed to commit to the process.

The B-Corp assessment process is rigorous; they measure over 400 factors across five key areas of the business: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers. 

In order to have a chance at certification, we needed to score 60% higher than the average business. We found a lot of the areas being measured were things we already did but hadn’t formalised yet, such as pro bono work for charities and supporting our own local communities. Others were things we had discussed but hadn’t gotten around to putting into practice.

It took 11 months and lots of energy, perseverance and resilience to see this through but in 2019 we received our B-Corp accreditation. We were (and still are) the first personal branding agency to become a B-Corp. And this really was the start of our journey to be the best business we can be.

The future of business for good

Navigating the business through this process and sticking to it has been the most significant achievement of my professional career. I am incredibly proud of Jago and the impact we continue to make.

I now support other agencies to gain B-Corp accreditation via the BIMA B-Corp Bootcamp. Jago even inspired the likes of Coutts bank to take on the challenge of accreditation. 

We are confident, excited and energised by the possibilities ahead of us and the role businesses like ours can have in impacting people and the planet. Selling things and making money is ok, but doing business with people who believe in purpose and transformation is exhilarating.

We love working with other businesses that care about the impact they have on the world, if you’d like to collaborate, get in touch.