Two things that give me a kick in the pants: Changing the world, and connecting people via the Internet. Put the two together and you’ve got an explosion of potent possibly – an influential Reese’s Cup of REAL power.
Carrotmob is my latest and greatest example of using the Internet to create a real-world network capable of impactful change.
Based in San Francisco, Carrotmob is a group of consumers who’ve organized to put the power of their collective spending to work. So far, they’ve pulled off one hugely successful campaign, which is a model for more campaigns, and a beacon for other concerned consumers to organize their spending power toward a greater purpose.
The premise: "We all buy stuff, right? But we don’t organize the way we do it. So if we start organizing the stuff we’re going to buy, then suddenly we can combine all our money, and get this huge amount that we can negotiate with."
Great idea! But how did Carrotmob put this power to work?
The organizer went to 23 grocery stores in his neighborhood and made a proposal: he would bring his network of consumers to spend a ton of money in one of the stores in the neighborhood. The winning store would be the one that pledged the largest percentage of their profits toward making environmental improvements in the store. In the meantime, Carrotmob partnered with the San Francisco Energy Watch Program, which specializes in helping business go green.
The bidding from the competing stores began at 10%, and finally topped out with a winning bid from K&D at 22%. Then, on the designated Shopping Day, Carrotmob flexed their muscle by spending nearly $10,000 in a 24-hour period (and also donating a lot of goods to the local food bank through on-site donation boxes).
In the end, the idea was a huge hit. The Shopping Day had a party-like atmosphere as people relished in their ability to make a difference. The store made more money than they ever would have without the patronage of Carrotmob, and has gained some loyal customers as an added bonus. Plus, their commitment to being green gets a big boost. And of course, customers have the satisfaction of knowing that their money is being spent to best effect. Everyone wins!
I can’t wait to see what Carrotmob does next. And how this group action will inspire other people to use their consumer power to be THE DIFF!!!!