Spotlight on SoftBank
The founder and CEO of Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank, Masayoshi Son, is often described by fans as having the Midas touch when it comes to spotting winners, while critics like to point out his “magical thinking.” That said, the company’s foundational values support an unconventional corporate philosophy—try hard and have fun. While the latter brand value has become increasingly elusive during today’s global pandemic, SoftBank embodies its brand value to “try hard” by acting with conviction.
COVID-19 has had a severe and damaging impact on Son’s $100 billion Vision Fund, which backs startups. For the fiscal year ended in March, SoftBank recorded its worst loss ever—nearly $18 billion—with WeWork and Uber disproportionately responsible. Yet despite these record losses, Softbank found the funds to respond thoughtfully to the Black Lives Matter movement, announcing the creation of a $100 million Opportunity Fund that will invest only in companies managed by people of color. The fund is led by CEO Marcelo Claure and two Black leaders from the tech world: TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot and Pindrop cofounder Paul Judge. Additionally, in an effort to diversify the leadership across the company, the fund is creating a diversity and inclusion program.
Recently, SoftBank offered voluntary COVID-19 antibody tests to more than 44,000 employees, their families, clients and outside medical professionals such as doctors and dentists, representing the largest such test administered by a Japanese company.
Son has made his career by betting big and acting boldly, and a global pandemic has done little to temper those actions. The SoftBank leader has been vocal about helping others during crises, with a deep-founded belief that:
“All human beings are the same. In the United States, people come from all over the world, all races, all backgrounds…When I saw that, I became more open. It freed my soul.”
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About Brand Acts of Kindness®
Brand Acts of Kindness® is a series from Carpenter Group that spotlights companies across industries that are living their brand values in addressing the unprecedented challenges facing the world today.
The series initially headlined companies assisting healthcare workers and first responders, as well as communities, businesses and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also highlight brands taking the lead in supporting social and racial justice, LGBTQ rights, sustainability and the environment. Their stories show how innovation, resolve and action, built on a solid value proposition, can both strengthen a brand and help create a better world.
About Carpenter Group
Carpenter Group is an independent, woman-owned strategic branding, messaging and marketing communications firm that has delivered results-driven solutions to financial, professional services and technology firms for 30+ years.
Our broad cross-discipline experience enables us to craft brand messaging and carry it through to the channels that most effectively connect with our clients’ target audience, from editorial content to advertising to event marketing and more.