GM Business Connect has come across a good range of digital marketing start-ups, however, when we met Chris Naylor, Managing Director of Bnode, we saw a very different side to a new business following what is known as B Corp principles. We asked Chris to explain more:
Tell us what drove you to set up Bnode?
“After a lifetime of working in the digital industry, from the early days over 20 years ago of hands-on web development, SEO and PPC marketing, to heading up digital projects and recently working at directorship level for a successful Manchester based agency, something still didn’t seem ‘right’ Something was ‘missing’. Perhaps it was the pandemic that opened my eyes, or the fast-changing development of the world around us, but the concept for Bnode was staring me right in the face; support businesses struggling in the complex digital landscape whilst supporting their goals to be morally and ethically oriented organisations. Such is the pace of ethical, eco-friendly business practices that I saw an opportunity to develop and support businesses with strategic digital marketing activities that at all points considers its wider impact on the local, national and global environment and strong ethical values of accessibility.
“This business MO struck a cord as the ‘missing’ part, to lead and improve the digital marketplace in something that meant something to me and the world in general. Finally, I could use my digital marketing super-powers for good! I then discovered the B Corp movement, which was exactly the concept I was considering applying to digital marketing.”
What is makes you different from other digital marketing agencies?
“Bnode’s objective is to ensure green practices are considered and integrated at every possible juncture of a marketing plan to reduce harmful carbon emissions. The desire to embark upon a business venture that prioritises good, ethical business practice, and to help such like-minded businesses, was too great to resist, and just isn’t being widely considered right now.
“With our support, by fulfilling objectives across both digital marketing activities and corporate and social responsibilities, companies can prosper in the modern digital marketplace, and can indicate that this can be done with as minimal impact on the environment and their ethical practices as possible. Ethics and accessibility are also a huge part of what Bnode is about, not just great digital business development and enhanced environmental awareness within a digital landscape. For example, many websites are not created with accessibility in mind for people with disabilities. Not only does this show exclusion to a company’s clients and potential customers, but also provides a bad user experience for those viewing the site. If a website was built with these ethical decisions in place, just think of how many more people would be able to interact with that company, using their services or buying their products? Therefore, if you build a website that is accessible and inclusive, you open your virtual doors to more customers.”
Tell us about B Corporations – and also what your role will be as a fully certified B Corp?
“The B Corporation (or B Corp) movement aims to award ethically and environmentally progressive businesses with a certification to showcase their achievements and ambitions of promoting business as a force for good. There’s a bit of a waiting list to become accredited, but from 2022 Bnode aims to be an official B Corporation ‘B Leader training provider’. The guidance and leadership process will then be a service for our clients in its own right. B Corp certification is a journey rather than a singular examination, a 200-step checklist with certification granted on achieving a score of 80/200. Bnode will undertake consultancy for its clients, covering all aspects of the B Corp process and assisting them across all B Corp categories.”
What are you offering prospective clients?
“I guess the main areas very briefly would be digital marketing through data analysis and strategy, and ethical and environmental guidance and awareness with integration into new or existing frameworks and assets. Also, hopefully in the near future, the B leader training I mentioned before for assisting companies to become certified B Corps themselves.
“I see a world where digital strategy and ethical practices are intertwined, all while utilising the power of business as a force for good for the planet.
“Bnode is not placed in the quick, build it yourself or throw it out there marketing world. It is placed in a space where a client will get years of experience from multiple disciplined digital channels of marketing and digital asset creation. Where data driven decisions and strategies are formed inclusive of accessibility, strong ethics, and environmental considerations. That forego the stigma that ‘green’ costs the earth, and flipping it on its head by utilising those areas of ‘good’ to increase and enhance brand development, awareness and provide positive growth through the strong morals and inclusion it provides.”
What specific services will you be providing?
“Digital consultancy and implementation. Our primary offering is the creation of an effective digital marketing strategy. A multi-step process will be taken to uncover the challenges a business is facing, what is causing them difficulties, how they can be overcome and how it can be measured. All solutions proposed to a client will have considered the environmental impact and how this can be reduced. There are several ways that digital marketing activity can reduce its impact on the environment, from using sustainable server hosting providers, to green web development practices, to reduced emissions for email clients.
“Bnode’s aim is to incorporate a congruous mix of a successful strategy for the success of the client’s business and reduced emissions to benefit the environment. A project management service will also be offered to clients that may have an existing strategy, but lack the project managerial expertise or capabilities to deliver. Our project management services cover the same core list as our strategic channel support. Owing to the breadth of our capabilities and expertise, digital strategies we devise will cover all fundamental bases of modern digital marketing, including but not limited to website development, SEO, PPC advertising, social media advertising, social media community management, video production, Email campaigns, audience insight and pre-campaign data analysis, mid and post-campaign analysis and brand identity creation and development’
“In addition, as mentioned before, from 2022 Bnode aims to be an official B Corporation ‘B leader’ training provider. The guidance and leadership process will be a chargeable service in its own right or will be included as part of the service to existing Bnode clients above a certain monthly value. Bnode will undertake consultancy covering all aspects of the B Corp process, from selling in the concept to a client in the first instance, to assisting them across all B Corp categories to be examined including workers, community, environment and customer.
“Finally, there’s partnership with White labelling services. We will partner with like-minded media and marketing agencies to white label marketing consultancy and delivery of services for their respective clients. This carries several advantages, chief among which being the reduced cost of sale with no business development time being required. We will work hard to ensure congruency between the companies’ ethical and professional ambitions.”
What kind of clients are you looking to support?
“Bnode will only work with a small number of clients simultaneously to retain quality of service and will aim to work with companies focusing on doing the right thing for their team, customers, and their fellow person. The rewards will come as a byproduct, and they will have a truly sustainable business in all meanings of the word. The modern marketing landscape is evolving and complex, resulting in firms needing to dedicate increasing amounts of resource to not only staying current with shifting trends, but also to maintain the level of performance necessary to sustain their business.
“Bnode aims to help those businesses by implementing good ethical practices and environmental methods of digital marketing within their digital strategies, thus providing a growth within their customer base due to increased public awareness of their good practices, and enabling greater accessibility to their assets through more advanced accessibility within their digital assets.”
How do you see yourself growing over the next few years?
“That’s a really interesting question. I feel that every new company wants to grow and has high hopes for the future, but it’s more than just growth in Bnode financially, it’s about growth in doing what’s right, enabling more companies to grow in awareness and to follow good ethical and environmental practices, making sustainable web development, email awareness, renewable server choices the ‘norm’. As a new business we are coming to market with decades of digital marketing experience already in place, but as we all know this industry is forever changing at an alarming rate, and with such a fast-paced marketplace, comes a requirement for rapid changes in environmental and ethical practices in conjunction with that. We aim to acknowledge and deliver this face on from the onset.”
Do you see businesses coming out of COVID looking for new, more ethical ways of promoting themselves and their services?
“Definitely. For example, all you need to do these days is turn the TV on and there’s an advert on for someone like the Co-Op now providing recycling of bags at their stores, major supermarkets having online grocery sections of goods under a ‘B-cops’ tab, it’s just becoming the way of things. Employees no longer want to work for companies that don’t hold the same moral high standards that they follow, and consumers want to know that their products are sourced by ethical means or that they have fair standards.
“Perhaps it’s a sign of the times, perhaps the COVID pandemic has made many people realise how precious life is and their values have shifted? One way or another, Bnode is here to help with professional digital support and consultancy for any business that is serious about maximising its brand visibility and lead generation or sales, while working towards reducing their harmful emissions in innovative and ethical ways, all while providing a greater level of inclusion and accessibility of their products and services to all.”
Website development • Pay per click advertising • Social media advertising • Social media community management • Search engine optimisation • Video production • Email campaigns • Audience insight & pre-campaign data analysis • Mid and post-campaign analysis • Brand identity creation and development