In order to build a successful brand, your company needs to be shaped around values that you believe in. We spoke to Brad Frankel of Flooglebinder – educational travel specialists that organise conservation programmes around the world – and found out why his flourishing brand partnerships are a result of his company’s strong values.
I caught a bug when I was 17 and now I have it for life. At times it makes me really tired, I have to plan my entire schedule around it and it can be financially draining. It has a huge impact on my physical and mental health but I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s known as the travel bug.
I knew travel would be an important part of my life, but I never thought that I would be able to make a career out of it, let alone try to change the world in the process.
Flooglebinder designs and builds adventures to inspire change. We educate participants on a number of global issues, before taking them on trips to see those issues first hand. The idea behind this is that participants develop a socio-emotional response and, as a result, grow more mindful of their social and environmental impact. Hopefully this helps them to become better global citizens, or what we like to call ‘Gamechangers’.
Our mission and goals have developed over time. We started off as a conservation tour operator, before realising what we could achieve by using travel as a means to convey our message. It’s difficult to separate us from the business, as every programme we design and every lesson we deliver is based on our own stories, experiences, love and passion.
I’ve always been an outdoor person: the first person to put his shorts on in the spring and the last person to put his flip-flops away in the autumn. I love to camp, dive, swim, run, cycle, BBQ, hike and do anything that involves being outside. This lifestyle led to a growing awareness in my environmental impact.
My early trips were usually focused on conservation and they taught me a lot about sustainability. This was predominantly a result of the environment I was in and the lack of resources at my disposal. This meant that I had no other choice and it became a part of who I was, whether I was travelling for business or pleasure, which fortunately for me was always a blurry line.
As friendly, adventurous, honest people who wanted to make a difference, Ian and I made a lot of friends travelling and had the most incredible experiences as a result of these values. So when we started setting up Flooglebinder, we carried these values through every aspect of the business. Whether it was dealing with our suppliers or communicating with our clients, it was always about an honest approach to building relationships for the long term. While for many people business is just about making a profit, for us it was about creating something we were passionate about that could make a difference.
It was also these values that resulted in us becoming a B Corp. Through this network we were able to meet and plan incredible events with other like-minded organisations that acted as friends, as opposed to partners and business meetings. We have always wanted to create a family feel to the way we operate and to build friendships instead of clients. Whilst contracts and legal documents need to be put in place, we are honoured and appreciative of the family we have built around us. There is so much competition out there, so it's nice to work with people you have strong bonds with and share the values that make you who you are.
Being directly involved within conservation meant that we had a positive impact towards a number of sustainability areas and, as a result, became a B Corp in September 2016. This is something we’re extremely proud of, and Flooglebinder is still the only UK outbound tour operator that holds this certification.
Using business as a force for good means the world to us and further supports our outlook as an organisation that wants to be part of the change we hope to see. Furthermore, it gives us the opportunity to work with other amazing companies that do incredible things and, most importantly, share our brand values. These companies include Pukka, COOK, Rebel Kitchen, Red Inc., TYF, Junxion and The Work Playground.
Part of our ‘Gamechanger’ programme is heavily reliant on collaborations with these brands. We see cooperation with other companies as an important part of sustainable development. This is demonstrated by Goal 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which is “Revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development”.
Our personal values drive the business forward and almost every decision we make is based on these values. It’s these values that also help us to build the incredible partnerships that we have and the great ‘family’ around us.
As I mentioned, our business values were a natural extension of our company, but in 2016 when we went through a rebrand we became more aware of these and what they represented. Honesty, transparency, fun and adventure are what we look for in our friendships, so why would we not want the same within our business and partnerships?
At first, it was difficult to find these values in other organisations. Within the B Corp community, however, this was easy and, as a result, we’ve grown strong bonds with other companies that also live by these values. Whether it’s an initial introduction or long-term partnership, you always know the end goal is the same: to make a difference and grow, but to also be mindful of your impact. Therefore, these ‘business-friendships’ are more enjoyable, passionate and committed than any other network or industry I’ve been a part of.
“It’s our values that make us as people and it’s people that make up our business, so it’s only right that our business reflects our personal values”.
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