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Shared Vision and Commitment to Purpose: The Foundation for Community

July 11, 2013 Comments

Social media offers businesses and non-profit organizations an unprecedented opportunity to build customer communities that can have enormous value in building reputation, loyalty, trust and bottom line profits. However, building and engaging such communities is not always so simple.

It’s not simply a matter of setting up a Twitter account and running wild with promotions and special offers. In fact, blasting out messages on social media platforms without a defined purpose, compelling brand story and clearly articulated vision can be the quickest way to a social business blunder. Your company or organization must provide real value to its community, and this value comes from a genuine commitment to a purpose that is meaningful to their lives.

Building community without an understanding of shared vision is like building a house with no foundation. A thriving, engaged online community only emerges through its connection to an understanding of the world, a specific mission, or shared goals that provide a basis from which the connective fibers of social relationships can grow. A connection to a shared vision binds members of your community to each other and to your business and its products and services.

Here are five great examples of businesses who engaged their communities around a shared purpose and succeeded with authenticity, transparency, accountability.

PampersThrough its “1 Pack = 1 Vaccine” campaign, Pampers supports UNICEF’s Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination Program, a global campaign to protect the lives of mothers and babies in less industrialised countries.

United by Blue ApparelFor every product sold, UBB removes 1 pound of trash from oceans and waterways by hosting cleanups with other partners and retailers across the country.

Teatulia Tea: Teatulia has established revolutionary education, health, and cattle-lending programs for the Bangladeshi people working in their organic tea garden and surrounding areas.

CampbellFrom it’s Stamp Out Hunger program, to its own food donations (Campbell donated more than $32 million worth of product in 2012 alone), Campbell knows how to rally customer communities to fight hunger.

Patagonia: The Common Threads Project actually encourages customers to buy only what they really need, and in return, Patagonia will help repair what breaks and take back worn out products to recycle or give to those in need.

The future of profit is purpose, and the most iconic brands of the future will be those that drive the most meaningful social change. If you’d like hands-on training from some of the best marketers in the world on how to become a purpose-driven, social brand and create passionate customer communities, we hope to see you at our 2013 We First Social Branding Seminar, Sept 24-25 in Los Angeles.

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CMO vs. CSO: 8 Steps to Bridge the Divide That Could Undo Your Business

July 10, 2013 Comments

It’s heartening to see so many large corporations, both B2B and B2C, intensifying sustainability efforts across how they source and manufacture their products, manage their business and employees, and market their brands’ success. Yet as long as marketing and sustainability efforts remain siloed on the basis of outdated organizational, budget, and marketing practices, these brands continue to run the risk of failing to meet marketplace, business, and customer demands that are the key to their survival. Here’s why and what to do about it.

1. Reality Check: Leadership in most major corporations are proving too slow to recognize and respond to the reality of today’s marketplace because their business is too invested in business models, media plans, and profit centers of the past. Meanwhile, 87% of global consumers believe that business needs to place at least equal weight on society’s interests as on business’ interests, and only 20% of brands worldwide are seen to meaningfully positively impact people’s lives. These consumer expectations are driven by a heightened consumer awareness of the multiple social challenges we face and a growing activism among customers to punish irresponsible brand behavior. In fact, only 6% believe the singular purpose of business is to make money for shareholders.

Taking Action: Breathe new life into the mission of your brand by aligning its business around core values shared with your customer base so that your brand becomes relevant and meaningful to their lives.

2. Price of Entry: While there is heightened awareness of the need for sustainable practices among executives, employees and customers, many brands fall way short of what is needed for their business and society’s well-being. With so many large corporations making significant commitments, it is simply not enough to be sustainable. Sustainability is rapidly becoming the price of entry for doing business and must inform all aspects of your company, rather than be separated out in a separate division of the innovation or marketing departments.





Speaker Shout Out: Coca-Cola, UN Foundation, and charity: water at the 2013 We First Seminar

July 5, 2013 Comments

Early-bird registration for the 2013 We First Social Branding Seminar ends today and we promise that our second annual Seminar will be unlike any other conference you’ve attended.

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. We’re dedicated to delivering the very best hands-on executive training and at the end of our two days together, you’ll walk away with a practical and actionable New 2013 Social Branding Blueprint specific to your business and based on best practices and case studies.

This year’s training will be brought to life by an exclusive line-up of literally the best marketers and business leaders in the world including:

Tom LaForge, Global Director, Human & Cultural Insights at The Coca-Cola Company

Tom studies the large, long-term macroforces that are reshaping our world and driving the changes in human behavior we all call trends. His work is used to guide development of portfolio and M&A strategies, brand and communication strategies, and numerous corporate social responsibility programs such as 5by20 a global effort to empower five million female entrepreneurs by 2020. He has explored such topics as the meaning of wellbeing, happiness, human motivation, and the rising value of human creativity in over 30 countries. He is fascinated by the unprecedented set of socio-historic Macroforces that are driving the rapidly changing relationships businesses have with governments, the environment and civil society. Tom holds degrees in Marketing and Economics from San Jose State and sits on the Board of Advisors for the Masters of Market Research Program at both the University of Georgia and Michigan State University.  He’s a founding member of the Rexpedition, a think tank focusing on the emerging Relationship Economy; and he is also an advisor to Bonus Creative Week MX, Sustainable Brands, and Mix & Stir Studio, a San Francisco-based incubator for human-centered technology companies.

Aaron Sherinian, Vice President, Communications and Public Relations for the United Nations Foundation

Aaron has led the Foundation’s public relations efforts, media relationships, strategic outreach, and online presence since 2009, managing an award-winning team of communicators and digital pioneers who believe that innovative communications can help change the world. He has helped build some of the most talked about milestones in digital global engagement around causes and UN issues over the last few years including the Social Good Summit, #GivingTuesday, Rio+Social and the Momentum1000 global social media rally. His professional background includes a decade of service as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State. Aaron is proud to be a part of the public relations community as a member of the Arthur Page Society, the Seminar, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC). His team won two consecutive honors by PRNews as “Public Affairs Team of the Year” in 2012 and 2013, and he blogs at about fatherhood, public relations and social media.

Paull Young, Director of Digital at charity: water

charity: water is a non-profit devoted to bringing clean and safe drinking water to the 800 million people without. Frequently nominated as one of the leading digital non-profits, charity: water was the first non-profit to have 1 million Twitter followers and has 75% of its fundraising come through digital channels. Paull’s leadership of charity: water’s digital strategy has seen him recognized by the Australian Trade Commission as one of the ‘Global 50′ influential Australian expatriates, by the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation as an industry ‘Rising Star’ and is twice a finalist in the Care2 Impact Prize. Paull formerly was Senior Account Director with social media agency Converseon, where he led award winning campaigns for Fortune 500 clients such as Graco, Kohler, Telstra, New York Times and Cisco. Paull moved to New York from Sydney in 2007 as a well known PR and Marketing blogger and commentator. His work has been featured on FOX News, Wall St Journal, Sydney Morning Herald, CNN and the Australian Financial Review.

Simon Mainwaring, CEO & Founder of We First

Simon Mainwaring is a world-class branding consultant, a New York Times bestselling author, an influential blogger and international keynote speaker. He is an Advisory Board member of Sustainable Brands, the Center for Public Diplomacy at the USC Annenberg School, the Transformational Leadership Council and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London, as well as a contributor to Fast Company, Huffington Post, Mashable, GOOD and Forbes. His bestseller, We First, was named Best Marketing Book of 2011 by strategy+business, an Amazon Top Ten Business book and has been translated into Russian, Chinese, Mandarin and Korean. Prior to We First, he was an award-winning Nike creative at Wieden & Kennedy and worldwide creative director on Motorola at Ogilvy.

Stay tuned: we’ll be announcing more additions to this exclusive lineup over the next few weeks, but you should get your tickets now. Last year’s Seminar was sold out, and as the only event focused on the intersection of corporate purpose and social marketing, these two days will transform your business.

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

July 3, 2013 0 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 …

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

June 26, 2013 2 Comments

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 …

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

June 24, 2013 1 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 …

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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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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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