Perhaps the most effective way to describe the approach a brand must take is to think of themselves as social cartographers. By that I mean that brands must simultaneously inspire, engage and maintain a series of conversations taking place within certain cultural landscape specific to their business goal.
If a brand genuinely wants to make a social contribution, it should start with who they are, not what they do. For only when a brand has defined itself and its core values can it identify causes or social responsibility initiatives that are in alignment with its authentic brand story.
Corporations often partner with government after natural disasters, as many companies did in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. As a rule, however, long-term civic/corporate partnerships are still rare .But this need not remain the status quo, as many opportunities are available for such partnerships.
Gluttony might be innocuous were it not for the fact that gluttons tend to disregard whether their self-serving behaviors harm anyone else. We don't need to look far and wide to find examples of gluttonous behavior, as they are numerous throughout the history of capitalism.
We need to develop and disseminate an entirely new paradigm and practice of collaboration that supersedes the traditional silos that have divided governments, philanthropies and private enterprises for decades and replace it with networks of partnerships working together to create a globally prosperous society.
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.
There is an overwhelming amount of information available to us all on the web each day, not to mention what is shared with us by our family, friends, fans, and followers. This necessitates the need to filter through all that information and to decide for ourselves where to put our attention.
Brands are faced with the daily challenge of massively scaling their outreach in order to build personal relationships. While this may seem like a contradiction in terms, it becomes much more possible when brands shift from push to pull dynamics in their marketing.
With the never-ending stream of new social technologies, apps and platforms rolling out every day, its easy to get lost in the minutiae of social media. Yet for there to be effective change, especially within large, top-down, hierarchical institutions, a company must have an over-arching understanding of the new role it has to play.
Perhaps the most powerful lesson other brands can learn from Nike is the need to act in accordance with the reality of the world we live in. In a mutually dependant, intimately connected global community facing several major crises, brands need to operate with an expanded definition of self-interest that includes the greater good.
For decades, media companies have largely controlled the tools through which consumers were told what to buy, wear or think. Now consumers possess the same ability to produce, distribute and curate content and distribute it to their peers in real time across social media platforms.
There's an adage that is an apt description of the new dynamic at work between brands and consumers connected through social media: People support what they help to build. But now that many brands are launching community-driven cause marketing campaigns, the challenge becomes what to do next?
In today's social business marketplace Facebook is one of the best places for nonprofits to be discovered and connect with a larger audience on the basis of shared values. So to get started, a non-profit should launch a Facebook page and invite your existing real world community to connect your cause and their networks.
And if you look at the reality in the United States, where you have more than 40 million people below the poverty line and 42 million on food stamps, and then you look at poverty around the world, clearly the way we're running the engine of capitalism is not serving us well.