The We First Blog.

eBay: Rebuilding a Brand By Creating Economic Opportunity, Greener Commerce & Power Giving

July 3, 2013 Comments

I had no idea PaylPal processed $3.6B for charities last year, or that there are 850,000 live charitable listings on eBay on any given day. Like me, the majority of consumers may not realize what a purpose-driven company eBay Inc is, but that’s about to change. Last week, eBay Inc. announced its new Social Innovation strategy which includes its first ever set of three-year social impact goals. This marks a critical brand milestone as eBay officially brings to life its important story about the company’s mission, values, and global social impact work.

eBay Inc. views its set of goals under three categories: Creating Economic Opportunity, Enabling Greener Commerce and Powering Giving. For example, by 2015, the company says it will:

Help more than 10,000 low-income entrepreneurs achieve increased financial returns. Nearly one half of the world’s population lives on less than $2/day, and helping them increase their income is a critical step in lifting individuals and communities out of poverty.

Expand access to goods and services for more than 5 million people living in poverty. Most of the 3+ billion people who make up the world’s poor not only lack access to markets and financial services, they also pay higher prices for goods and services.

Scale 10 social innovations that catalyze economic development. To meet the most pressing social challenges, it’s critical to help organizations accelerate their impact.

Double the number of customers that take action on behalf of a charity through the company’s giving programs and platforms.

Double the total value of funds generated for charitable organizations and double the number of charities that benefit eBay’s giving programs and platforms.

Source at least 8 percent of eBay Inc.’s energy use from cleaner sources and realize 10 percent growth in number of users that engage with its “greener commerce” programs.

Purpose has been long baked in to the core of eBay’s identity. Over twenty years ago, its founder and now well-known philanthropist, Pierre Omidyar, envisioned that technology-enabled and people-centered commerce could be a positive force for social change. What’s interesting is that there are many companies like eBay Inc., with rich legacies of social innovation that haven’t taken the time to tell the outside world about their efforts.

Sharing stories about the purposeful work and values of your company is now a critical business imperative, and one that the market is hungry for:

New consumer expectations: 87% of global consumers believe that business needs to place at least equal weight on society’s interests as on business’ interests, and 80% of think it is important for companies to make them aware of their efforts to address societal issues (2012 Edelman Good Purpose study).

To scale your impact you must share your story Storytelling is the key to bringing together the right partners, advocates, and passionate participants to amplify your mission, values and good work.

The democratization of technology means your reputation is your competitive advantage In a time where everyone has access to the same marketing and social technologies, and new open source tech and startups pose a daily threat to industry incumbents, your company’s values and social-purpose story will be your only lasting differentiator. In fact, given similar price and quality, 91% of global consumers would switch brands if a different brand supported good cause (2013 Cone Communications/Echo Global CSR Study).

In a noisy, crowded and parity technology marketplace, the good a company does is increasingly becoming its defining competitive advantage. Social technologies are merely amplifying the importance of the timeless arts of reputation management and word of mouth advertising. This strategy of putting your shoulder behind social good is as important to start-ups seeking to scale, as it is to big brands seeking to resonate, and it’s fantastic to see eBay taking such great strides that will propel the company forward.

Written by Dana Byerlee, VP of Marketing at We First.


Announcing the 2013 We First Social Branding Seminar, Sept 24-25, Los Angeles

June 26, 2013 Comments

The future of profit is purpose

We’re pleased to announce that early-bird tickets are now on sale for our 2nd annual We First Social Branding Seminar. As the only event focused on the intersection of corporate purpose and social marketing, the 2013 Seminar is designed to help business leaders tell the story of the good work they’re doing in ways that build their company’s reputation, bottom line, and social impact.

With consumers activism reaching new heights, it’s no longer good enough to just “be on social media.” Marketing 3.0 will be about becoming a purpose-driven social brand, so whether it’s CSR, sustainability, cause marketing, Foundation work or simply how a brand brings its core values to life, this Seminar specifically trains large brands on how to do it to build their business.

The 2013 We First Social Branding Seminar will take place at the beautiful Silver-LEED certified W Hollywood hotel in L.A, Sept 24-25, and we assure you- this is no ordinary conference. It’s a hands-on thought leadership and executive training summit that will have over 200 brand leaders from the world’s most influential companies in attendance- all committed to delivering solid economic results while having a positive impact on society and their business.

Everyone will leave with a practical and actionable social branding plan specific to their business, based on best practices and case studies brought to life by an exclusive line-up of the best marketers and business leaders in the world including:

Tom LaForge, Global Director, Human & Cultural Insights at The Coca-Cola Company
Aaron Sherinian, VP for Communications and Public Relations for the UN Foundation
Paull Young, Director of Digital at charity: water
Simon Mainwaring, Founder and CCO, We First
• With more announcements to come…

In order to become an authentic purpose-driven social brand, departments can no longer operate in silos. The CMO, CSO, CSR, and Foundation leads must align to bring a cohesive brand story to life, and we encourage everyone to take advantage of our corporate group packages and send the right team of leaders to L.A. this fall.

Finally, in the We First spirit, we are excited to employ the “1 to 1” model again this year: a registration by your company comes with a free ticket to invite your favorite non-profit or Foundation partner, so you’ll have a positive impact just by attending. All they cover is travel and accommodation (if required) but the Seminar – thanks to you – is free.

A broad one-size-fits-all approach to social media just won’t work anymore. Corporate purpose now drives preference and ultimately profit. Companies must understand audience and market-specific nuances to effectively engage consumers and become an active participant in their online, social and mobile conversation.

Becoming a purpose-driven social brand is now a critical business imperative because of the huge reputational, employee productivity and bottom line impact. We look forward to seeing you in September for an incredible two days that will transform your business and our world.

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Why this year’s Grand Prix for Good winner is great news for advertising and our world

June 24, 2013 Comments

A much deserving winner of the Grand Prix for Good was announced this week at the Cannes Advertising Festival. “The Ant Rally,” created by BBDO Dusseldorf for the World Wildlife Fund, is not only creatively fresh, disarmingly charming, and strategically on-purpose, but also demonstrates that social purpose can still inspire the greatest creativity in marketing.

I wanted to lay out why I think this campaign does such a masterful job at breathing fresh life into fundraising for the WWF, and into marketing in this very crowded category:

1. The answer was there right in front of us by the very nature of the subject matter, and it took a respect for simplicity to bring it to life.

2. The campaign is instantly relatable on both a global and local level, engaging both the wonder of a child and the intellect of an adult in its execution.

3. As such, the campaign is innately shareable due to its charm and creativity.

4. The campaign taps into a larger movement of enfranchisement that we’re seeing take place around the world, as protestors in Istanbul are inspired by those in the Arab Spring and protestors in Brazil are inspired by those in Istanbul.

5. There is a perfect alignment between the empowerment that social media provides for the citizen or customer and the inversion of power represented by the ants protesting to protect their rainforest. It’s a powerful creative and technology match that propels the success of this campaign.

6. Like all campaigns that go viral, it was not the sensationalism of the film, but rather its humanity that compels people to share it. In a sense, every viewer is the equivalent of an ant in whatever protest they want to make and so the film itself is completely relatable.

7. In terms of capturing the attention of traditional media, the film powerfully leveraged the new bottom-up dynamics of marketing through which a simple film is shared by thousands of people that captures the attention of traditional media that further propels its sharing.

8. The humility of the film is fundamental to its success across social media channels, for only by being accessible and populous can you inspire viewers to share the film using their own social channels because of their shared values and a common purpose.

9. It was a big idea, no matter how small the cast was, for it speaks to the very survival of the planet in which we all have a vested interest.

10. It was artfully executed, avoiding the trappings of overly entertaining or effects-driven marketing, allowing the simplicity of the idea to speak for itself and resonate across all types of media.

What is most exciting for me is to see such wonderfully creative work executed around such meaningful causes. We are already witnessing a powerful intersection between corporate missions and social impact, and when we lay it over world class creativity like this, there is nothing business and non-profit working in partnership cannot achieve.

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Why the best way to grow your brand is to focus on “We”

June 14, 2013 0 Comments

I wanted to share some insights from a recent interview I did for Speaker magazine about how to develop effective branding strategies and enhance engagement by focusing on “we.” We First has helped many organizations — from Global 500 companies …

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Monsanto, Abercrombie & Fitch, And The Greatest New Threat To Your Brand: Your Customers

June 4, 2013 4 Comments

At the end of 2010 I wrote about the ‘Coming Decade of Radical Transparency.’ My prediction for 2012 was the ‘Rise of Consumer Activism.’ We now find ourselves in mid-2013 and these two issues have combined, leaving brands facing a well-informed, …

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Making Your Business the Best In the World and For the World

May 23, 2013 0 Comments

With the ability for people to tune in and ask questions from all over the world, G+ Hangouts are a certainly a powerful social technology worth exploring for your brand and community building efforts. We recently kicked off the first …

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Sustainable Brands Istanbul: What brands must do to ensure their sustainability initiatives succeed

May 20, 2013 0 Comments

Last week I had the privilege of speaking at Sustainable Brands Istanbul, and I wanted to share some of the insights from the event. We heard several fascinating presentations from speakers such as Marc Mathieu at Unilever (lower image) and …

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LIVESTRONG is #StillStrong and Sharing Its Story

May 17, 2013 0 Comments

Today is LIVESTRONG Day and the anniversary of the launch of their now iconic LIVESTRONG wristband. Since 2004, the Foundation has recognized one day each year as LIVESTRONG Day to honor the 28 million people living with cancer. Yet this year …

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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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