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The Gandra brothers’ gym in Brazil: “Probably the world’s most eco-friendly”


chosen to forge a connection with your organisation? Are customers deeply connected to your organisation, or are most only there until something more remarkable comes along?


Collaborative Organisations that reach out, rather than build from within, feel more relevant to the role that customers and other stakeholders now wish to play. Co-creating is becoming the new normal, whereby customers and organisations collaboratively innovate over the long term. It’s about working with stakeholders to address future challenges and unlock opportunities, giving stakeholders a vested interest. Take Kiva.org, a remarkable American


non-profi t organisation with a “mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty”. Kiva leverages the web and a worldwide network of microfi nance institutions to allow individuals anywhere to lend as little as US$25. These micro-loans support people wishing to start or grow a small business in 73 countries. Kiva recently reached US$500m (£307m) in loans made by its community of one million micro-lenders. Collaborative projects like Kiva are very exciting on so many levels: they allow anyone, anywhere with access to the web, to participate in solving social inequalities. So consider this… Does your


organisation possess a ‘we know best’ mindset, or does it collaborate with its customers? How many different ways does your organisation encourage a continuous conversation


May 2014 © Cybertrek 2014


and feedback with stakeholders around service innovation?


Influential The marketing team of one of the UK’s leading health club businesses is very excited as they recently reached 100,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook. It’s been a long journey of ‘nudging’ – ‘like’ our page and receive a free one-day gym pass – but in March the milestone was reached. So it’s official: according to Facebook, they’re one of the most popular gym brands in the country. Of course, it feels good to be


‘popular’, but it’s infl uence that really matters. Popularity can be bought or faked, whereas infl uence is earned and authentic. Popular businesses do not necessarily have the authority to move people; infl uential ones do. Infl uence is the capacity to affect the way that people think and behave, and this only occurs if they believe in your organisation, loving what the organisation stands for and the way it’s championing a better future for others. As fi tness businesses grow in size,


some begin to potentially accumulate greater levels of infl uence, which may not at fi rst be apparent. Virgin Active, for example, now has more than 1.2 million global members in seven countries, while Planet Fitness, the American low-cost gym brand, has more than fi ve million, equivalent to the population of Norway. Add to this employees, suppliers and other stakeholders, and you have businesses with the potential to create dramatic social impact – provided they’re


Kiva’s micro-loans are changing lives


motivated to harness it. This means more than improving the lives of members: it means the mobilisation of all stakeholders to enrich the lives of other, less fortunate people. So consider this… Does your


organisation pursue popularity or infl uence? Does your organisation possess suffi cient infl uence to affect the way that people think and behave?


Pieces of the same puzzle My report has focused on eight themes because they all seem so inter- connected. How can an organisation be socially responsible if its purpose is unclear? How can it be influential if it’s not authentic and connected? What the recent global economic


crisis has shown us is that the pursuit of a narrow and self-serving agenda is unsustainable and simply unfair. It may work for an organisation in the short term, but at some point Twitter will realise there’s an injustice taking place and its 241 million active users will get to work to right the wrong. ●


Ray Algar is managing director of Oxygen Consulting, a company that provides strategic business insights for organisations connected to the global health and fi tness industry. He recently founded Gymtopia, a digital platform that shares stories about how the fi tness industry is creating positive social impact in communities around the world – see p50. Download a complimentary copy of the Fitness Sector Social Good Report: http://bit.ly/SocialGoodReport


Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital 49


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