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COMMON Partners to Accelerate Social Purpose Businesses, Lead ‘Paradigm Shift’

A new strategic partnership aims to bolster social purpose startups and launch more products that are better for the planet. Today, communication, branding and leadership services companies Refresh Agency and The Passion Institute, both founded by Sandja Brügmann, solidified working with fellow Boulder, Colorado-based business COMMON, a creative accelerator and community dedicated to advancing social businesses and projects. The three firms can now offer their clients the services of the other partner organizations, including their global professional networks.

“We share the mission to advance a business paradigm shift to one of greater consciousness,” Brügmann said of the partnership. “By working together we will further elevate our value proposition to help innovative, social and entrepreneurial businesses and leaders accelerate growth and success on a global scale.”

Brügmann’s firms have worked with such notable clients as Justin’s, GoodBelly, Crocs, Addis Creson (Kashi, Better Place), Spier and ITO EN. Some years ago, Refresh Agency helped Justin’s, a Boulder-based nut butter company, with corporate and consumer communication during their U.S. nation-wide Starbucks distribution, Brügmann told Sustainable Brands in an e-mail. She insists that they were just a small piece of the puzzle, but was happy to play a supporting role in the company’s success; Justin’s was recently acquired by Austin, Minnesota-based Hormel Food Corp., the maker of Skippy and Spam.

Refresh Agency and The Passion Institute can now offer their clients an accelerator for product innovation and ideas and a global community of like-minded ambitious conscious business professionals thanks to the now solidified ties to COMMON.

“We are past the point of questioning whether or not marrying social purpose and for-profit models is viable,” said Mark Eckhardt, the CEO of COMMON. “There are billion dollar companies that are making a huge impact and providing consumers with products that meet their needs. Leading a social enterprise demands more than just business savvy. It requires a different mindset and set of skills rooted in practices that have been dismissed historically by capitalism.

“Our partnership with Refresh Agency and The Passion Institute addresses those needs, and augments our ability to provide our community members with leading edge communication, voice storytelling expertise, and conscious leadership training.”

COMMON was founded by Alex Bogusky (founding partner of advertising firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky), Ana Bogusky, Rob Schuham and John Bielenberg. Through the partnership, the accelerator’s clients will benefit from the American and Scandinavian market expertise of Refresh Agency and The Passion Institute, in addition to the sustainability- and social impact-specialized communication, marketing, storytelling, and conscious leadership educational services.

Brügmann and Eckhardt agree: “There is nothing more rewarding then helping sustainability-focused and socially responsible companies succeed. We all have a responsibility to increase our human consciousness, so we can drive business as a force for good, and not exploitative greed.”


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