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No Brainer: The co-founders proving purpose-led business possible

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Search-driven content agency No Brainer has become one of the first of its kind to achieve global accreditation for its purpose-led grind, but the journey wasn’t as easy as expected.

Recently achieving B Corp certification with a score of 87.5, the Cheshire-based digital marketing agency has been on a purpose-led journey since it was founded in 2015.

Indeed, the agency received public recognition last year for its working environment and team culture, something Lee Cullen, director and co-founder of No Brainer, said has been a key driver in their mission to “make a difference”.

But B Corp global accreditation isn’t always an easy feat, and the assessment process could get even tougher now that the system is planning to crack down on the standards and potentially scrap the points system.

For No Brainer, it was a year-long process, which Cullen referred to as a “pretty quick turnaround” in the grand scheme of things.

“Being totally honest, we found the process quite a bit tougher than we expected it to be,” Cullen said.

“In many ways, I think that’s a good thing, as it gave us more confidence that the bar was a high one,” he added.

He said the achievement lies in the hands of both him and his co-founder, Gary Jenkins, given the foundations of No Brainer came from the combination of their skill sets.

How to balance the importance of purpose with the need for profit is a question founders often ask themselves, with a growing number of small businesses now seeing sustainability plans as the first to go as a way to cut costs.

For Cullen and his 17-person No Brainer team, it’s much more than the day-to-day work.

“For us – especially working in a service-led business – people, purpose and profit are all intertwined and if you can get all three right, that more often than not leads to strong, sustainable growth,” Cullen said.

The potential crackdown on the B Corp assessment is a “good thing”, Cullen said, as the need to demonstrate continued commitment to the highest of standards is “important”.

“The reputation of B Corp has been growing steadily in recent years and in order to maintain that kind of credibility, I think it’s important that the application process remains robust and is reviewed regularly,” he added.

B Corp-certified companies are reassessed every three years, and while the process may look different for No Brainer’s re-certification in the future, Cullen and his team plan to dial in on the environment pillar through new and improved strategies.

“The other important factor in this assessment is there is always more you can do,” Cullen said.

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