The We First Blog.

How Coca-Cola Brings New Life Into Its Bottles And Brand

July 22, 2014 Comments

Coca-Cola is currently rolling out an innovative and environmentally responsible initiative called Coca-Cola 2nd Lives, starting in Vietnam and then expanding across Asia. At the heart of this effort is the intent to give their disposable bottles a second life that is meaningful, adds value to the lives of customers, and also avoids those bottles becoming yet another addition to landfills.

As you see from the video, the idea is to sell kits that allow people to use the bottle in a variety of ways once they have finished drinking the product. Not only is this an incredible opportunity for creativity in terms of all the different ways someone could use a Coke bottle once it’s empty, but it also breathes new life into the core proposition of the brand, Open Happiness. Whether it’s using the bottles to create make-shift squirt guns, crayons, or toys, each repurposing of the bottles is yet another way to increase happiness in peoples’ lives.

This is not just a smart strategy by creative marketers- it’s a very big idea. More and more throughout the world, waste is being seen not so much as a function of consumption that needs to be dumped in landfills, but rather as assets that can be diverted back into the supply chain to add value to peoples’ lives and avoid greater damage to our planet. If all manufacturers took this approach in which they looked at the supply chain and life cycle of their product from the very inception of design and planned for ways to either minimize waste or repurpose that waste in meaningful ways, we could quickly stem the growing tide of waste that is compromising the well-being of the environment and by extension, our lives.

In order to take a similar approach for your brand, there are three key steps to follow:

Design with the end in mind: That means design the product with alternative uses in mind so that they are factored into the manufacture, distribution, and user experience of the product.

Align repurposing with purpose: In order to ensure true bottom-line value for such an effort, apply your creativity to find ways that repurpose your products and align with the core mission of your brand. That way, you will not only be minimizing waste and protecting the planet, but also building your brand equity at the same time.

Add value to the experience of life: Each day, more brands are waking up to the reality that they can’t just provide products and services but need to create experiences that position their company as meaningful to customers’ lives. By allowing customers to experience a Coke bottle in a variety of ways shows that there are many different expressions of happiness and displays how Coca-Cola brought fresh dimension to their core proposition of ‘Opening Happiness’ in others’ lives.

Do you know of any other good examples of brands repurposing their products in alignment with their purpose? If so, we would love to hear them.


What The Lego PR Crisis Can Teach You About How To Protect Your Brand

July 17, 2014 Comments

Much has been written about the impact of social media on marketing and the demand for greater transparency and accountability from brands. The business landscape is now littered with examples of its impact from the ousting of high profile CEO’s at companies like Abercrombie and Fitch, American Apparel and the LA Clippers, to brands mitigating the risk of consumer activism by changing their products including CVS, Chick-fil-A, and Subway.

The level of accountability now demanded of brands is only getting higher. Brands are now under siege from watchdogs that will not only hold you accountable for your company’s behavior, but also scrutinize the partnerships you keep in terms of your stated company values.

A very powerful example is playing out right now as Green Peace reacts to the partnership deal struck between Lego and Shell Oil. Green Peace states the oil company is using Lego’s high profile and positive image to try and improve the perception of its arctic drilling in the form of 16 million Shell-branded Lego toys being sold or given away at gas stations in 26 countries.

Green Peace has asserted that this licensing deal effectively uses children’s playrooms for Shell’s public image management as it tries to “buy friends who can make its controversial arctic drilling plans acceptable and misleadingly associate it with positive values.” Greenpeace went so far as create a compelling film that takes the very brand recognition that Lego established through its charming commercials and hit movie and turns it against the brand.

This is a costly PR crisis for Lego and not surprisingly, they were quick to react sharing tweets stating, “We are determined to leave a positive impact on our society and children. We’re sad when the Lego brand is used as a tool in any dispute.” While this is an understandable attempt to separate itself from the environmental impact of Shell’s arctic drilling, it is hard for Lego to avoid guilt by association which can be extraordinarily costly to the brand’s reputation in the short and long term.

This dynamic between Shell, Lego, and Greenpeace demonstrates the fact that brands are now being forced to address three key issues:

1. What do they stand for?

2. How do they tell that story?

3. How do they show meaningful and measurable impact?

If the leadership, marketing, and employee base within a company does not have an answer to these three questions, the brand runs the risk of being miscast as part of the problem rather than part of the solution in the minds of consumers. Too often, however, leadership, marketing or PR firms point the finger of blame at other parties when it comes to who is responsible for damage to the brand’s reputation.

Yet as the adage states, “when you point your finger at someone else there are four fingers pointing at yourself.” If your company fails to recognize the reality of the world in which they live, to authentically put their shoulder behind the core values of their brand, and to demonstrate their authentic commitment to social change through all their efforts including partnerships, they only have themselves to blame for an inevitable PR crisis.

Join us Oct 7-8 at the 2014 We First Brand Leadership Summit for two days of hands-on training on how to define, frame and share a brand story that empowers your company to lead business, shape culture, mitigate risk, and position itself at the heart of what the transparency-driven marketplace will reward.


Understanding How the World Sees You and Your Fascination Advantage

July 15, 2014 Comments

Sally Hogshead is Hall of Fame speaker, international author, and the world’s leading expert on fascination. Sally sat down with the We First team for a Q&A to share why she wrote her latest book, ‘How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination’, how each person or brand can tap into the distinct traits that make us invaluable.

Q: Why did you write the book, How the World Sees You?

A: For over a decade, I had a torrid love affair with branding. As an advertising creative director, I developed national campaigns for clients such as MINI Cooper, Nike, Jägermeister, and Coca-Cola. During my advertising career, I discovered that there is a pattern to captivating messages. To fascinate someone, you must understand how they see you, and what they value most from you.

This was a pivotal moment in my writing, and in my life. I stopped researching brands, and began to study people. In 2009, I launched the Fascination Advantage® assessment. The research inside ‘How the World Sees You’ includes the results from a a quarter of a million professionals inside companies such as AT&T, Unilever, YMCA, and California Pizza Kitchen. Along the way, I learned that anyone can be fascinating. Each person on the team has subtle but crucial differences that help him or her “specialize” and add distinct value.

Q: How can the ability to fascinate transform your professional and personal life?

A: It’s not your customer’s job to know what makes you different. It’s not your manager’s responsibility to figure out what makes you valuable and the same goes for your co-workers and clients. If you don’t recognize your value, don’t expect anyone else to.

Once you know what makes you valuable to others, you’re more authentic and confident, and more likely to make a positive impression. It all begins with understanding how the word sees you, at your best.

Q: How is the Fascination test different to other personality tests?

A: If you’ve read ‘StrengthsFinder’, or done a traditional test such as Myers-Briggs, you probably already know strengths. But in a crowded or competitive market, everyone has strengths. Strengths become a commodity. To stand out, you must know something else: your differences.

Unlike other assessments, this is not measuring how you see the world, but rather, how the world sees you. It’s built on branding, not psychology, which is a new and sometimes unfamiliar perspective. We don’t urge people to stop using traditional tests, but rather, to understand that those tests no longer give a complete picture of themselves. Just as you can’t measure temperature with a ruler, you can’t measure differences with StrengthsFinder.

Q: Is there a better personality type to be or is it more important to be authentic?

A: There isn’t one Advantage (or Archetype) that’s better than the others. But there is one that is right for you. There are seven different ways to successfully communicate and seven different ways to break through and win. Each of these has a distinct way of adding value and each follows a particular formula. Each has a different approach to building relationships, and fascinates for different reasons. You can find out how your personality is custom-build to win when you read your Fascination Advantage report.

Q: Once I know my type, how do I apply that to my personal brand?

A: To become more successful, you don’t have to change who you are. You have to become more of who you are. Your personality has a built-in specialty. It’s how you do what you do– and how you do it differently than everyone else. This is your highest value. It’s what makes you fascinating. Tiny differences represent the most valuable part of yourself— your little zone of genius. ‘How the World Sees You’ will tell you how to apply those traits to your business, your marketing, and your life.

Q: What if I work inside a big company – how does it apply?

A: Within a team, loud voices can drown out the quieter voices. Outgoing personalities can overshadow more subtle ones. That’s why it’s so important for organizations to understand how individuals contribute to the whole. There are many, many ways to communicate and become more valuable. Understanding the full spectrum helps to make sure that each person makes a real difference. ‘How the World Sees You’ will show you how your personality naturally captivates others, and how to build your career and your team around your signature style of communication.

Q: What do you mean by ‘creating a personal anthem’?

A: An “Anthem” is a very short phrase, only two or three words. It’s the tagline for your personality.

When you can quickly explain how you add value, you make it easy for others to understand what you bring to the table. Your Anthem gives a clear road map for how you are most likely to solve problems. Customers will see how you contribute. Co-workers will “get” you. Your manager will know how to quickly tap into your natural mode of communication. You’ll learn how to create your own Anthem in part III of ‘How the World Sees You.’

Q: Is there one key thing I can do to make a better impression starting today?

A: Avoid your dormant Advantage. If your daily tasks require a skill set you don’t innately have, you need to surround yourself with people who can help you accomplish those tasks. By knowing the Advantages on your team, you can know who will deliver best on your specific needs. If working with others isn’t an option, try to find the way in which your personality is going to be best suited for the job.

To learn more about the Fascination system visit and you can order the book at any book retailer, including here on Amazon.



Sustainability Stories: Three Common Marketing Mistakes

July 9, 2014 0 Comments

Originally published in CSRwire In today’s radically transparent social business marketplace, the reputation of a company extends way beyond its marketing to include its supply chain, manufacturing processes, employee treatment and customer engagement. Likewise, full circle sustainability requires that companies …

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Self-Disruption: Personal Innovation for Public Relevance

July 8, 2014 0 Comments

I recently had the pleasure of keynoting at the PromaxBDA conference in New York City, attended by many of the entertainment industry’s top studio and network executives. This conference is a fantastic forum for leadership of all types in digital, …

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Yes, Consumers Actually Care and Purpose Pays Off

July 1, 2014 0 Comments

These days many companies are making efforts to put mindful and sustainable business practices into action. Yet despite daily stories of consumer activism, many still ask the important question: Does caring convert into action when it comes down to a …

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Why Restraint Was The Key To GoPro’s Success

June 27, 2014 1 Comments

The IPO of GoPro this week was an enormous success with the share price jumping 36 percent from its 24-dollar début. This is yet another successful milestone for a company that has gone from strength to strength under the guidance of …

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21st Century Leadership: 3 Master Strokes by Elon Musk

June 20, 2014 0 Comments

When Elon Musk announced last week that he would open source Tesla’s valuable intellectual property he commanded great attention across the auto industry and the private sector. Not only did he do something profoundly counterintuitive in terms of the traditional self-serving …

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About Simon Mainwaring

We First training and consulting helps the world’s most innovative brands tell the story of the good work they do in ways that build their reputation, employee productivity, sales and social impact.

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