Aug82011

“Social media is a great way to connect and communicate with our consumers on a personal level, and it’s the fastest way to get real, legitimate feedback from those who are buying our products.”

Tyler Merrick
Tyler Merrick
Project7
Founder

This year one company has provided 131,054 free meals in American communities, has planted 120,565 fruit trees, provided 2,491 days of shelter for orphans, and provided countless other services. The company: Project7 their mission: “Change the Score.” They are a cause-related company that makes every day consumer goods that give back, inspire others and educate people on real needs throughout the world.

Tyler Merrick is the Social Capitalist and Founder of this company that donates over 50% of the profits from the sale of their bio-bottled water, gum, mints and coffee go to help the 7 most critical areas of need across our world: Build the Future, Feed the Earth, House the Homeless, Help those in Need, Hope for Peace, Heal the Sick and Save the Earth. Each quarter we create a Quarterly Giving Report to show how Project 7, and our customers, have helped make a difference.

MO:
Project7 is obviously aimed at making an impact. What in your background led you to creating this company?

Tyler:
When I graduated from Texas A&M University, I started working in my family’s pet food business, Merrick Pet Care. While I had a passion for the business, and enjoyed helping grow the company, I was seeking a way to make a greater impact on areas of need within our world. I was inspired to start Project 7 as a company that exists to give back, and to help our consumers make an impact by simply purchasing everyday goods like gum and coffee. It’s time to Change The Score and think about how businesses can go beyond the traditional bottom line and consider how much good we can do?

MO:
Your website obviously caters towards telling about the effects of purchasing the items rather than pushing the items themselves directly. Can you tell us who your target market is and what the message is you are trying to send them?

Tyler:
Our site and our products are for people who want their everyday purchases to mean more. And judging from the results of a recent study that showed that 61% of purchasers were willing to try a new brand if it was cause related, we feel that our target audience is pretty wide and deep.

MO:
You state that Twitter is a site you visit everyday. Tell us about your social media strategy for marketing Project7.

Tyler:
Social media is a great way to connect and communicate with our consumers on a personal level, and it’s the fastest way to get real, legitimate feedback from those who are buying our products. We use our social media platforms, including Twitter,Facebook, Tumblr and others to build a deeper connection with our audience. Social media helps us better understand our audience, educate them on our causes and to share our latest accomplishments. It has helped us see we have a real community of fans and we are regularly providing them other ways that they can get involved.

MO:
The numbers depicting your service to the world are obviously impressive. Can you tell us more specifically what organizations you work with to accomplish this great service?

Tyler:
Thank you! Project 7 partners with several nonprofits to help provide financial support, as well as raise awareness for each organization and educate consumers about related global issues. These organizations provide aid, programs and relief specific to the following seven areas of need: Feed the Hungry, Heal the Sick, Hope for Peace, House the Homeless, Quench the Thirsty, Save the Earth, and Teach them Well. You can get a complete overview of how we give back by visiting: http://www.project7.com/how-we-give/

MO:
There are a lot of different ways to raise money for charitable causes, why did you choose to do it through selling water, gum, mints and coffee in order to make this impact?

Tyler:
By selling everyday goods, like water, gum, mints and coffee, we’re not asking people to buy new or additional items. We’re just asking them to be mindful of the products that they’re already buying and to show them the impact they can make every day. In fact, we just released our Q2 Impact Report and thanks to the support of Project 7 customers, we have been able to provide over 167,000 meals to the hungry in the US and planted over 174,000 fruit trees. When people purchase Project 7 products, they know they are getting a great product at a fair price AND they are helping support a good cause…or actually seven good causes.

MO:
What is next for Project7? Do you have goal #s for the good that you do? Are you planning to expand to other projects?

Tyler:
We are excited to announce that we have officially launched in Wal-Mart Supercenter stores nationwide! Until now, we have only been present in Wal-Mart stores along the west coast, and it’s been a great partnership, so this expanded distribution is a huge accomplishment that we are thrilled about. We are also available at Caribou Coffee, HMS Host and other retailers and we expect to announce new distribution and more new products before the end of the year.

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