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How brands partner with consumers to scale social good

May 15, 2011 Comments

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Image: Ross William Hamilton

Corporations, consumers, and citizens must begin acting in concert to create a powerful third pillar of social transformation if we hope to meet the social challenges we currently face with equal force. This begins with corporations that choose to alter how they practice capitalism in two ways to serve the greater good.

The first way consists of unilateral changes—purely voluntary decisions to revise the old models of corporate thinking and to put into operation a higher level of responsibility, accountability, transparency and sustainable business practices. These actions are largely internal, but they serve to demonstrate to the outside world of consumers that the brand understands their expectations.

Such actions include having their leadership take a concrete stand on being a socially responsible company; embedding purpose into their profit-oriented business strategy; engaging employees and management in purposeful activities that help their communities or the world at large; reconfiguring their business practices to implement sustainability; seeking to build prosperity rather than just earn a profit; and collaborating with other companies to make change more effective and efficient.

The second course consists of actions that companies and their brands need to initiate in an effort to draw consumers into their sphere of influence, where they become partners in social transformation. These actions include a shift in character of the brand’s strategy from a broadcast/push to a social/pull approach. Companies and their brands need to reach out and speak directly to consumers, to honor their values, and to form meaningful relationships with them. They must become architects of community, consistently demonstrating the values that their customer community expects in exchange for their loyalty and purchases.

Brands achieve this by inviting consumers to co-create their brand’s story, and by building social as well as financial capital. They need to give consumers a chance to elect the brand every day, by endorsing it on their social networks, in their blogs, and at cash registers.

Brands that do this can earn enormous benefits in terms of their employee satisfaction, their reputation, and in their bottom line. What’s more they create a dynamic partnership between brands and consumers that can ensure the well being of society and the company itself.

Do you believe brands are becoming will partners with consumers? What benefits do you believe it offers brands?

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6 responses to “How brands partner with consumers to scale social good”

  1. Geri Stengel says:

     I think that consumers are driving corporations to greater social good. If we spend our money with socially responsible companies, other companies start competing on the basis of social good . Best example: Method Household Cleaning products are environmentally friendly and sell well. Notice how many other companies, from Clorox to chain drug stores, now offer their own lines of green cleaning products? The other driving force for social responsibility is the growing awareness by corporate leaders — long may it last! —   that sustainability is good for their bottom line. The motivation may not be noble or what we’d like to see but the end result is still a cleaner world. I think that consumers are driving corporations to greater social good. If we spend our money with socially responsible companies, other companies start competing on the basis of social good . Best example: Method Household Cleaning products are environmentally friendly and sell well. Notice how many other companies, from Clorox to chain drug stores, now offer their own lines of green cleaning products? The other driving force for social responsibility is the growing awareness by corporate leaders — long may it last! —   that sustainability is good for their bottom line. The motivation may not be noble or what we’d like to see but the end result is still a cleaner world.

  2. Totally agree Geri and that’s what I believe will happen too. We as
    customers need to reward these brands with our purchases so others follow
    suits. Here’s to Method and others! Simon

  3. […] but we usually think of it as exclusively related to the environmental movement. But if companies hope to build a thriving world that can sustain their business success, we need to deepen the […]

  4. […] more here: How brands partner with consumers to scale social good | Simon … This entry was posted in Business Scales and tagged a-higher-level, and-sustainable, […]

  5. […] but we usually think of it as exclusively related to the environmental movement. But if companies hope to build a thriving world that can sustain their business success,we need to deepen the […]

  6. […] but we usually think of it as exclusively related to the environmental movement. But if companies hope to build a thriving world that can sustain their business success, we need to deepen the […]

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