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Meet the Experts: Building a Purpose-Driven Brand with Who Gives A Crap

Who Gives a Crap are raising awareness for serious issues – without taking themselves too seriously. Here's how this cheeky, colorful brand is proving that businesses can have fun and do good.

Posted 28 Nov 2022
Meet the Experts: Building a Purpose-Driven Brand with Who Gives A Crap

Who Gives A Crap is a B Corp-certified toilet paper company known for its cheeky personality, eye-catching product packaging, and truly top notch toilet paper. But as well as producing a high-quality hygiene products, Who Gives A Crap is committed to creating a cleaner, more sustainable future, too. The brand encourages customers to opt for bamboo or recycled toilet paper over the traditional dunny roll, helping everyone make a small yet monumental impact to the environment. 

On top of talking the talk by raising awareness for environmental and human rights issues on social media, Who Gives A Crap also walks the walk, donating 50% of its profits to give access to toilets and clean water to those that need it. 

Who Gives a Crap flaunts a fun, colorful, and memorable brand identity, proving that brands can have fun and do good. We chatted with Who Gives A Crap Content Team Lead Sophie Kalagas, to learn about how the brand came about, how it balances purpose and profit, and her top tips for other brands who want to show they give a crap. 

Tell us about Who Gives A Crap! What’s your purpose and mission?

Who Gives A Crap is a B-Corp certified toilet paper company recognized for the highest levels of environmental and social impact. Water, sanitation, and hygiene are essential to ensuring communities protect themselves from disease and illness caused by contact with waste. When working together, clean water sources, toilets, and proper hygiene can eliminate waterborne illness and disease – our mission is to help make that happen.

On top of that, more than one million trees are cut down worldwide daily to produce traditional toilet paper. This scale of deforestation means 180 billion kilos of carbon dioxide remain in the atmosphere every year, impacting biodiversity, flora, fauna, and human life. Our mission is to help people make simple, eco-conscious decisions by encouraging them to choose bamboo or recycled toilet paper over traditional toilet paper.

All our products are plastic-free, made with sustainable materials, and delivered to nearly 40 countries with complimentary carbon-neutral shipping. 

How did Who Gives A Crap come about? 

Who Gives A Crap was founded when Simon, Danny, and Jehan learned that 2.4 billion people didn’t have access to a toilet (now 2 billion) – roughly 40% of the global population. This means around 289,000 children under five die yearly from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation.

So in July 2012, they launched Who Gives A Crap through a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo. Simon sat on a toilet in our draughty warehouse and refused to move until we had raised enough pre-orders to start production. Over 50 hours and one cold bottom later, they’d raised over $50,000.

We love Who Gives A Crap’s cheeky personality! How did you develop such a fun, memorable brand? 

We aim to be real, relatable, and genuine. We have fun, we’re a little bit goofy, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously – but we do take our mission seriously.

For customers to connect, they need to feel like real humans are behind the brand. We do this through a conversational tone of voice, our fun visual design, and how we communicate our offerings. However, authenticity is super important, so show your audience you understand them by talking to them on their level. 

People are drawn to things that bring them joy and moments of delight. The combination of having fun and doing good simultaneously is powerful for a brand, especially in the current climate.

How is Who Gives A Crap striving to make a difference in the world? 

We use our content to do good. Our impact model allows us to donate to charity partners that share our mission to bring toilets to the billions of people who need them. The more our business grows, the greater impact we have. We’ve doubled in size nearly every year and hope to continue inspiring consumers to make a positive impact by switching their toilet paper to an eco-friendly alternative.

Why is brand activism so important in this day and age?

The world is a pretty tough place right now. People want to support brands and businesses that are conscious and trying to make positive changes. They look at the brand’s values to ensure they align with their own before purchasing. Our customers back us not because of what we do today but what we do for the future. They trust that we’re actively listening to them and looking for ways to improve our impact on people and the planet. 

Our business, and many other for-purpose businesses, have shown that you can be successful and do good. We shouldn’t see purpose as taking away from the business’s profit – it makes a business more successful in the long run.

What are your top tips for creating content that makes a difference? 

Brands should figure out their values and the causes they care about most, then create content that aligns with their purpose. It’s important to make engaging, shareable content with new angles that people might not have seen before. Here are a few ways you might approach this:

  1. Consider what your audience cares about and what they might be looking for, then find a way to address them that fits your voice and purpose.
  2. Approach content from a human level – you don’t want to lecture people or talk down to them, but empathize, connect and make it clear we’re all in this together (whatever this may be).
  3. Find the humor or playfulness in things. The topic might be serious, but how a message is delivered doesn’t have to be. Lean into the content formats people enjoy or engage with most.

Showing passion helps build trust and authority and encourages people to spread the word. 

What are the top tools in your content creation toolkit? 

We take a multi-channel approach and distribute content on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, and LinkedIn. We’re always scrolling through these platforms and poking around the internet, looking for inspiration from other people putting out great content. It’s also essential to see what people are discussing so we can tap into any trends or conversations.

Our team does a lot of brainstorming in Miro and uses it to build inspiration boards. To schedule and track the performance of our content, we use Later and Sprout Social.

What’s the most significant thing Who Gives A Crap has achieved since its inception? What are you most proud of?  

To date, we’ve been able to donate more than $10 million to water and sanitation programs, underscoring our belief that doing good is good business. Setting out to give away half your profits isn’t commonplace in the business world, but we’ve proven our model can work and have a massive impact on the planet. We hope this inspires other businesses along the way. 

We hope you enjoyed this interview with Who Gives A Crap! While you’re here check out this Q&A with changemaking influencer Flex Mami, or our article on Brand Activism.

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