Building Brands That Create Social Impact with Eric Ressler

October 19, 2020

eric ressler on brand

“All companies and all brands should be working toward being the best version of themselves that they can be across all lenses of their impact on the world.” Eric Ressler knows a thing or two about brands making an impact. That’s the focus of his work as Founder and Creative Director at Cosmic, an agency helping brands build their awareness by having a strong social impact in the world. We discussed all of this and more this week on the On Brand podcast.

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About Eric Ressler

Eric Ressler is the Founder and Creative Director at Cosmic, a Social Impact Creative Agency. Cosmic empowers social impact organizations to catalyze real-world change by helping them nail their impact story, build brand awareness, and inspire action. By and large, the traditional strategies and approaches in the social impact space are still based on what worked well in the pre-digital era. This leaves many organizations under-resourced, siloed, and struggling to reach their full impact potential—because they are not leveraging the power of our current global digital culture. Cosmic helps future-thinking social impact organizations understand this paradigm shift and rethink their model and approach to multiply their impact.

Eric got his start in design from a very young age, and after leaving a design program in San Diego early to pursue freelance work, cut his teeth running a freelance business in the digital design space. After organically building a strong roster of clients, he discovered a passion for the social impact and philanthropic space. Through working with numerous organizations across this sector, he found that often their missions and visions are strong, but their efforts are stymied by ineffective communications philosophies and practices. Now, Eric and Cosmic are on a mission to help social impact organizations across the globe navigate a rapidly changing world.

Episode Highlights

Why social impact? While labels like ‘corporate social responsibility’ and the like are nothing new, Eric’s focus at Cosmic is decidedly different. Social impact is all about moving beyond “virtue signaling” to doing the work.

Beyond the strategy behind social impact, how do brands do the work? “You have to start by embracing a digital-first mindset.” From here, you can connect your social impact to all of your brand’s key touchpoints.

How do you measure this? “We’ve heard a lot about slacktivism but it’s a fair question.” Eric shared his thoughts on measurement. Specifically the value of integrating qualitative and quantitative. “It’s anecdotal but it’s not nothing.”

What brand has made Eric smile recently? Eric went with Patagonia. While this is always a strong smile-worthy brand choice, their recent inclusion of the “Vote the A$$holes Out” tag in their clothing drew a more recent and topical smile.

To learn more, go to and be sure to check out their manifesto as well.

As We Wrap …

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

On Brand is sponsored by my book Brand NowDiscover the seven dynamics to help your brand stand out in our crowded, distracted world. Order now and get special digital extras. Learn more.

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Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!

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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.