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January 10, 2007


peter spear

hi jennifer

new to your blog and very much enjoying it. as a brand listener for my entire career, i feel we need to make a distinction between brand and brand-ing and this quote gets to the heart of it:

"Brands win when they help others win."

it is more important than ever that brands 'behave' in a single direction - shrinking their sense of purpose towards generating helpful experiences.

i look forward to reading more . . .

andy vanakin

I agree with mel, I like knowing not just what I am buying, but from whom I am buying

John Dumbrille

You don't have to be a reader of Bernard Mandeville ("private vices, public benefits") to wonder whether apparent virtue is actually beneficial.

That's not to say that profit or socioeconomic indicators are beneficial - unless we reinvent the term to be defined this way.

Maybe in the back of our minds there is a sense of goodness that is independent of the policies and commodities that we contrive as good. Maybe a good company is a company that manifests good relationships, period.

Mark Waks

Great Post. You and Bruce Turkel think alike. Take a peak...

Mr. Waay

If a business makes a profit it already is fulfilling a major social responsibility. Positioning oneself based on being a good citizen can be a good extra that could actually help in the area.

wyatt cooper

your post is my mantra



Account Deleted

Great comments. I do wonder whether 'being' is ultimately motivational to end-users, tho, in that it's the purpose of all the brand marketing. Enabling consumers to 'do good' and not just read about it (or ponder it as they lather themselves up, etc.) is a potent, exciting potential tool for businesses. I look forward to seeing more of it.

Drew Neisser

I call the trend you have nicely documented "Marketing for Good" (see and its gaining adherants daily. Business Week featured a number of companies efforts to "do well by doing good" in the cover story of their 1/29/07 issue. The recent announcement by 10 major CEOs calling for action against climate change is another example of how commerce and social responsiblity are becoming inseparable. The enlightened CEO now turns to his/her CMO and says "help us sell more AND make life a little better." This trend certainly makes me excited to be in this business right now.


Nice pages here. Great information. Will visit again and recommend.


Hi Jennifer,

I'm new to your blog and find your posts informative.

Those are great programs executed by those corporations as consumers also want to know who they are buying from and not just necessarily what they are buying.

Keep up the great posts.


Nick Rice

Jennifer, you're exactly right. Business is in the business of making money for shareholders. Smart companies are also moving towards a "triple bottom line" trend. It's measuring profits, but also your impact on people and the planet. Research shows that brand loyalty increases when a company is aligned with a cause. This can be directly like Intel & Starbucks or through joint marketing such as partnering with a foundation like the Susan G Komen group or the Ronald McDonald House.

My firm specializes in marketing communication strategy and executive in this growing social sector space. There are various ways a company can get into giving back depending on their culture and strategic objectives. But either way, as long as it's done with the intention of leaving the world a better place, it's good for everyone involved. Great post and close to my heart.


Pat, the reason why it makes sense for Intel (and Microsoft and other tech companies) to address connectivity in emerging markets is because they will make money there. It's called "creating markets." This makes a lot more sense than giving money out of net revenue to fight AIDS, which has nothing to do with their business model.
The point here is that businesses are powerful drivers for change. When businesses align purpose with their existing strengths and goals, an exponential effect occurs. I suggest you read the lastest issue of Fast Company - their cover story on Social Entrepreneurs highlights the fact that previously struggling farmers can now send their kids to college thanks to Starbucks and other fair trade initiatives.


All companies are created in response to "Who else can win?" Remember, a business is created to solve a problem or fill a need that has been identified.

Turning social issues into a point of differentiation in order to uniquely position a business is rather dangerous. Cynics will punch holes in the effort - sometimes because they are right (GE 'Imagination' pops to mind). And intelligent people will look cautiously to see if the effort is righteous or significantly less than honest, straightforward.

I don't think it's bad/evil to invest in social issues that might, in the end, help the donor.

But it would be nice to see that connection absent from the equation. Why not have Intel join with another non-profit organization in order to cure AIDS in Africa?

I like the fact that Starbucks is supporting youth literacy - but I would be happier if they didn't confuse matters when it comes to buying coffee from 3rd world countries. (Maybe it's me - but it seems like they support that struggling farmers that are willing to do whatever Starbuck's tells them to do in order to sell their coffee.)

Raimo van der Klein

Just another onliner I like:

From "Profit Chain" back top "Value Chain"

100% of brands have the same mission. It is to sell itself

Raimo van der Klein

Hi Jennifer,

I have created a whole blog on this subject. It is called contribution marketing. You will like my Manifesto and a presentation I call from growth to contribution. It is the change from WHAT I am to WHY I am. I hope you have the time to check it out..


Here are the links:

Matthew Healey

Hi Jennifer, and happy new year! Another thought-provoking post.

I've devoted a chapter in my upcoming book, 'What Is Branding?' to the issue of causes and advocacy. I think one of the things that's important to keep in mind is that customers benefit, if indirectly, when companies try to be "good citizens": any firm that has the thoughtfulness, the inclination and the resources to get seriously involved in doing good, rather than just doing well, is clearly a smartly-run and profitable firm. And such firms invariably offer customers better products and services than those that couldn't give a damn.

I'm often mindful of your earlier post about brand equaling self. The Ben&Jerryses of the world (Unilever notwithstanding) care enough not only to differentiate their products, but to differentiate their corporate practices. The two often go hand in hand. And as Y&R's Brand Asset Valuator teaches us, brands with better differentiation succeed.

Stephen Macklin

Call me cynical but I see in that list a lot of strategy aimed at making the company more money.

Real Beauty = Real Marketing

Starbucks - has a very crafted and cultivated image that helps it sell coffee.

Intel = a nice investment in expanding the market for its products.

Yes, some good comes out of it, but all of it is also helping these companies profit.

Al Tepper

Great post.

I have the pleasure of working for the largest non-food ethical retailer in the UK ( and we totally follow the 'everybody wins' principle.

Our entire business model is based on selecting items for inclusion in our collection so long as they meet one of five general criteria: eco, organic, natural living, well being or fair & sustainable trade. Some hit more than one button obviously.

Additionally we have for a few years now worked with charity partners like Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and many others to provide them all with an well-run ethical retail channel to raise much needed funds. So far it has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for them in total.

Our business is all about the whole.

And it's fun too...


Al Tepper



I remain to be convinced that companies would do better for society at large by focussing on doing good for its own sake, rather than by focussing on doing good business.

It is tempting to see business as being somehow bad for society, whilst forgetting all the benefits that companies operating in free-markets have brought to society.

What is required is a deeper sense of understanding of how complex adaptive socioeconomic systems operate. This is even more of a daunting tasks than it obviously appears. But it is required if we are to move beyond well-meant wishful thinking to well-done socioeconomic activity.

Graham Hill

P.S. Take a look at the Dow Jones Sustainability Index at for a broadly balanced view of some of the factors that underlie sustainability, that is slowly gaining acceptance in capital markets.

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