I’ve always been a big believer in higher ideals, guiding behavior in business and in life. I was a strong advocate for building purpose in brands during my time as Global Marketing Officer at Procter & Gamble. I wrote a book about it, backed up by a major study with Millward Brown Optimor. And now I spend my life helping clients find and live up to their ideals. But I’ve never been more inspired than I was last week to see a purpose truly come to life. The team at Method has lived and breathed purpose since Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan started the company in Northern California. They truly exemplify what it means to live up to their higher ideals.
I first came across the Method team during my days at P&G during meetings with Target. I, along with many others, thought Method was Target’s private label. But once I got to know the team and what they stood for, I was immediately hooked. These are people against dirty (Method’s shortcut version of its purpose) in every sense of the word. Adam and Eric were roommates who wanted to find a cleaner, healthier way to clean their dirty apartment. That meant cleaner ingredients, environmentally friendly products that truly cleaned the dirt and grime that guys build up. And from there, Method was founded on a beautiful purpose: to be a catalyst in the happy, healthy home revolution.
Method’s purpose has been the center of their business model since the beginning. These are green products that you can use without gloves or a mask as you clean your home. Adam even once drank a bottle of soap to prove it. Recycled materials are used to create chic bottles that look beautiful on the sink of a modern-designed home. And now they’ve taken that higher ideal a step further. Actually, much bigger than just a step: they’ve set a standard for all businesses, across all industries.
Last week the collaboration between the Method team, Gotham Greens, Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and many others, came to life. They cut the ribbon and officially opened a factory in Chicago, the “South Side Soapbox,” and I was honored to be a part of the momentous occasion. This is the first new factory in the South Side of Chicago in more than 30 years. The large empty tract at the intersection of East 111th and I-94 is now illuminated with a colorful wind turbine. The 225-foot-tall turbine overlooks the Dan Ryan Expressway, welcoming drivers to Chicago. The awnings over the parking lot are solar panels, so half of the power needed to run the manufacturing plant is self-generated.
The Soapbox is the only factory in its category that is LEED Platinum certified. And the Method team didn’t just stop there, in an effort to “build a cleaner clean,” they built an urban garden on top of the manufacturing plant. The two-acre greenspace will have the productivity of 40 acres. It is the largest hydroponic factory roof garden in the world and will grow 500 tons of fresh produce every year. Talk about going green.
This project was an unreal spirit of collaboration with the community and other likeminded businesses. The factory is a true demonstration on how to do business a different way – a good way. And it’s a win-win-win for Method, the community, and our environment. And it was very special for me to see a higher ideal come to life.
As you go about your workday, think about your company’s purpose in this world. Are you making a difference? Does your purpose drive every business decision you make? Purpose isn’t just a feel good story to keep you and your team motivated, it truly is good for business: Method has been the fastest growing company in its category for the past four years. That shows the power of a higher ideal activated.