Cosmic Goes All-in On Social Good

Cosmic Goes All-in On Social Good


Santa Cruz-based marketing agency Cosmic has always worked with social good organizations, but the company’s client roster has also included a broad array of Silicon Valley B2B companies, startups and tech projects. Recently, founder and creative director Eric Ressler and the Cosmic team made the decision to go all-in on working with brands and companies with a social good angle.

“It’s been a narrowing of our focus rather than a shift in direction,” says Ressler. “We’ve found that we had a better connection with social purpose-based organizations, and we felt more purpose in our work when we were working with companies working toward positive social impact, or social justice, or social mission.”

Ressler also saw that many social purpose brands need help when it comes to branding, marketing and storytelling.

“There was a lot of opportunity for us to be able to help those brands,” he says. “In doing so, we’re actually furthering their social impact and their social mission.”

The Cosmic team views design, marketing and storytelling as an impact multiplier. They help brands focus and refine their story in a more meaningful way, and help them develop strategies for reaching their audience and engaging their donors.

“When you do that,” says Ressler, “a lot of really good things can happen.”

While Cosmic does work with some nonprofits, the company also focuses on for-profit businesses and government initiatives. Clients include the Lakota People's Law ProjectThe Renewal WorkshopGreenpower and Causebox.

“We really believe that for positive impact to happen, and for change at a large scale to happen,” says Ressler, “it has to be a combination of nonprofits, business and government coming together from different angles, using different strategies, to really work toward these things.”

Cosmic primarily partners with what Ressler calls “social purpose natives”—businesses that formed to solve a social issue—rather than ones that happen to do corporate responsibility or giveback. As Ressler points out, there’s nothing wrong with corporate responsibility programs, but they can be an attempt to “make up for bad business practices.”

Moving forward, Cosmic plans to focus all their efforts toward social good projects and brands. The team wants their reputation and efforts to help drive social good causes and make a positive impact on society.

“We’re putting a stake in the ground around social good,” says Ressler. “Our goal is to hit the bullseye with social purpose natives. Then there are a couple of rings outside of that of brands doing good but maybe not explicitly formed to do that.” He adds, “We always use our discretion when bringing on a new client—whether or not they’re a good fit for our expertise, and our specialty and our focus.”

Ressler sees Santa Cruz, with its unique culture and lifestyle, as perfectly positioned to become a leader in the growing social purpose movement.

“Santa Cruz has an opportunity to be a beacon of this purpose-driven, social impact movement that’s happening,” he says. “That has a lot of overlap with the natural innovation that happens in Silicon Valley and the approach people take to how they live their life. There’s a lot of potential for Santa Cruz to be at the forefront of this movement.”

Are you a tech company in Santa Cruz? Become a Santa Cruz Works member at

Cat Johnson is a writer and content strategist focused on brand storytelling and community.

Matthew Swinnerton