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Inscription of a raison d'être in Badsender's bylaws

We haven't had a chance to talk about it yet, because it happened just before the vacations. At our AGOA (Annual General Meeting), we wrote a raison d'être into Badsender's articles of association.

It's the culmination of an internal discussion that began a year ago. It's the desire of a majority of Badsender employees to try to have a positive impact on the world, and particularly on the way marketing and communications are done.

By the way, we didn't limit ourselves to our raison d'être at this AGM, as we also brought on board two new associates in Pierre and Olivier. This means that we are now 9 associates out of the 12 people who collaborate on Badsender projects.

"Badsender supports organizations that want to take responsibility for the ecological emergency and ethical issues, so that they can benefit from the power of influence they deserve. We help them to align their communications and marketing with their valuesin terms of content, organization and production methods."

Why do we need a raison d'être in our bylaws?

That's right, why a emailing agency should have a raison d'être? It's an email agency... why look any further?

It's been a long time Badsender reflects on its impact. The environmental impact of our business, its ethical impact, its social impact... Over the past few years, this has been reflected in a number of actions: the climate fresco, the carbon footprint, the 2-tonne workshop, email accessibility guidebest practices in eco-design email...

But the need to have a raison d'être came about when we started asking ourselves about the type of customers we serve!

If we are aware of the urgency of climate change, if we are aware of the impact we are having on the social and financial distress of those we serve ... how should we select our customers? How can we ensure that our customers have the same ethical ambitions as we do?

We turned this question on its head, and concluded that it was too complicated to answer, to set concrete criteria, without first redefining our mission as a company.

With this in mind, we decided to take the question back to its roots: What is Badsender's raison d'être? Beyond paying us a salary at the end of the month, why do we do what we do? What is the purpose of our actions?

How do we define our raison d'être?

It's difficult, if not impossible, to take this step without support! That's why we called on Roxane Julien and Jean-Marie Perbost of La Belle Transition.

This process took place in 4 main stages:

1. Two-day workshop for the 4 members of Badsender's Operational Committee

We met in Bram, in the Aude region of France, for 2 days to brainstorm with the help of Roxane and Jean-Marie, and the "Head Body Heart" approach of the Transition Campus. On the menu:

  • 6-door methodology A broader view of a company's impact and purpose (systemic view, governance, responsibilities, stories, actions, ethics, etc.).
  • The 3 horizons: Projecting into the future. What happens if we change nothing (business as usual)? What future breakthroughs could occur in the company's business? What are the long-term trends that will sustainably transform our business (emerging futures)?
  • IKIGAI How do we find our place, as a company and as individuals? What do we like to do? What are we good at? How can we earn a living? What does the world need?
  • Writing the raison d'être We started brainstorming on what our final raison d'être might be. It was also an opportunity to look at what others were doing. Nevertheless, we had in mind to finish this stage with all Badsender employees and collaborators.

2. Sharing with all employees

During the two-day workshop, we gave birth to an initial raison d'être, with the aim of breaking it down and rebuilding one in common with everyone else.

The "temporary" raison d'être: To help implement sober and responsible marketing by supporting the development of impact organizations and projects.

So we presented the work carried out with La Belle Transition, explained all the stages, showed the results to the whole team, and re-explained the process. This enabled us to recreate the debate with everyone.

To get the whole team involved, we asked everyone to work on the key words that were to feature in this raison d'être:

  • List verbs that explain our action: Accompany, support, guide, contribute...
  • List the key words that explain to whom we address: companies, associations, organizations, customers, individuals...
  • List what qualifies these organizations that have a positive social and environmental impactwho have a will to change, who have a goal similar to ours, who are in a phase of change, who have a conscience...
  • List the words that explain the whatWhat we do for these organizations: transforming their communication, changing their vision, marketing strategy, their thoughts, their visions, societal and environmental issues... (here, we had a lot of raw material 😉 ).

Using this as a basis, everyone was invited to make a proposal for a raison d'être, and we took votes (5 points per person to be distributed between the proposals).

3. Decision-making

After the first voting phase, we isolated the 3 proposals with the most votes. And we organized a debate to merge them and isolate a final proposal that would meet with consensus.

Of course, in our case, there are only 12 of us in the team. This makes discussions easier. In a larger organization, it will undoubtedly be more difficult to achieve consensus through debate.

4. Inclusion in the articles of association

This is the simplest and most effective step in the process. We therefore added this raison d'être as a preamble to our bylaws, and voted for it at the Annual General Meeting.

Badsender's raison d'être explained

So our raison d'être is: "Badsender supports organizations that want to take responsibility for the ecological emergency and ethical issues, so that they can benefit from the power of influence they deserve. We help them align their communications and marketing with their values, in terms of content, organization and production methods."

Here are a few key words that are worth deciphering to fully understand the spirit of this raison d'être:

  • Accompany : That's what Badsender is all about. To support. By doing things for our customers, or helping them acquire new skills.
  • The organizations We didn't want to limit ourselves to the corporate world. The word "organization" encompasses notions of companies, associations, institutions, public authorities, teams...
  • Take their responsibilities : In these organizations, our priority targets are those who take responsibility.
  • Emergency eco-friendly and questions ethics They are taking responsibility, not only for the ecological emergency, but also for ethical issues. Ethical issues linked to their professions (privacy, best practices...), but also linked to social issues.
  • Align : Bringing these commitments into line, making them coherent... so that they are not just words but concrete reality.
  • Content, organization, production methods Marketing and communications are not isolated elements of an organization. Quite the contrary, in fact! Evolving towards an awareness of planetary limits and social issues requires a global alignment of organizations.

What does this raison d'être commit us to, and how can we monitor its impact? What are the next steps?

Now that we've got a raison d'être in our bylaws, can we get back to business as usual? Not really, no.

This initiative is part of a transformation trajectory. A trajectory that won't be easy, given that our marketing and communications professions are, by default, at odds with the need for sobriety implied by the ecological transition.

We need to reinvent ourselves to achieve this. We're going to have to break some of our old reflexes, and we're not going to get there in a few months.

Our raison d'être is to measure

Every year, every company validates its accounts at the Annual General Meeting. In the same way, we're going to have to account for our raison d'être.

This means proving a positive evolution of our business in relation to the criteria we've set. It's a work in progress, but here are some of the measurement indicators we're currently putting in place:

  • Changes in our greenhouse gas emissions (see our article on the lower carbon intensity of Badsender in 2022)
  • Evolution of our customer typology (H1, H2, H3 according to the three horizons model)
  • Sales by type of service
  • Measuring our climate shadow (there's a lot of work to do here)

The major projects we'll be tackling in 2024, in line with this raison d'être initiative, are mainly of two kinds:

  • Work on our governance: How can we constantly align our decision-making so that all these indicators evolve positively? And don't forget to include the whole team as much as possible.
  • Work on the evolution of our services: Our current activity, centered on emailing and newsletters, can hardly enable us to achieve our objectives on its own. That's why we're going to have to diversify in order to reach the organizations that interest us, and to develop our climate shadow. A process of reflection that we initiated during our last team building session in the form of a collective skills assessment.

Conclusion: make or break?

There's a difficult question, but one that's essential to ask: Can we transform an organization without breaking everything and starting from scratch?

In fact, it's not really a conclusion at all, since it opens up an abyssal reflection. After a year of recording our podcast "Sobriety and Marketing", I'm (unfortunately) becoming convinced that transforming an organization in depth is not easy... if not impossible.

This is why many entrepreneurs, as part of the ecological transition, are increasingly focused on a replacement strategy rather than a transformation strategy. They are launching businesses to replace the less virtuous activities of traditional companies.

Clearly, these are the companies we'd most like to support. But shouldn't we apply this principle to ourselves... something to think about.

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