By Julie Hayes
WHEN SAYAKA ETO, Ashok Kamal, and Kevin Eng met in 2010 while pursuing their MBAs in New York City, they discovered a mutual love of engaging the corporate world in social and environmental issues. Though each came from different backgrounds, both culturally and educationally, they shared a common interest in the amount of waste being sent to landfills every year, particularly the billions of plastic water bottles that were not being recycled. From their discussions on the subject, the three entrepreneurs were inspired to create Bennu, now one of the country’s leaders in green social media marketing.
“Bennu’s culture developed from people who look for a way to make a positive impact in life, and not [those] who look for a way to make money,” says Eto. “Sustainability matters to me because it’s about being aware of the consequence of everything we do.”
Bennu, named after the Egyptian bird of rebirth, aims to increase sustainable practices through modern marketing tactics like social media and business-to-business alliances. Eto, Kamal, and Eng believe that the green movement is “rapidly changing the world,” and that businesses which join the movement will have a competitive advantage in their industry.
“If you are not greening, you are not competing,” says cofounder and CEO Kamal. “Companies that fail to catch the green wave will suffer the same fate as dinosaurs: extinction.”
To achieve its goals, Bennu works with shipping companies to reduce transport emissions and sources environmentally-friendly materials in manufacturing products. They also provide in-depth marketing services, which include strategy consulting to analyze brand positioning and corporate strengths and weaknesses, social media management to communicate to target audiences, gamified strategies which incorporate business practices into mobile device technology for clients to interact with, and real time measurement and tracking of the success of sustainable campaigns.
In addition, Bennu maintains an active presence on every major social media site, which they see as essential to connecting to both businesses and the larger community.
“We’re passionate about our mission of greening the standard for a new lifestyle, and we found that social media provided a platform to engage people who shared our core values,” Kamal says. “Moreover, we stay focused on producing quality content and creating a collaborative experience, so engaging with Bennu actually makes peoples’ lives more enjoyable and the world a better place.”
Along with their corporate efforts, Eto, Kamal, and Ng also give back to the New York community through their charity, Greenpacks for Great Kids. The organization provides students without the means to purchase school supplies with eco-friendly backpacks. Greenpacks for Great Kids is part of the greater Entertainers 4 Education Alliance campaign, which was created to empower low-income youth communities and fight the increasing dropout rate.