A Better Capitalism For Brands, Companies And Consumers

I always remember breakthrough articles related to cause. While few and far between they provide tremendous inspiration to me and many ofmy colleagues, clients and friends.

Six years ago, Geoff Colvin at Fortune wrote a full page editorial about the power of causes on employee commitment and morale. In November 2004, Marc Gunther, also at Fortune wrote Money and Morals at GE, about the new values-based culture CEO Jeff Immelt was instituting to inspire green-related innovation as well as an enticing workplace for the emerging millennial generation. 

This week came Jonah Bloom's editorial: 'Recession Provides a Chance to Build a Better Capitalism.'  Better capitalism reported by AdAge?...I read it with vigor. 

Here is his critical point: conspicious consumption is no longer a sustainable answer to our lives.  We already have enough. Building brands for tomorrow can and should embrace a different type of capitalism, one that incorporates society and the environment into emerging businesses as well as established ones.

Bloom talks about the opportunity in 2009 and beyond for marketers and their agencies to harness and reflect the mood of the country --  that voted for change -- to advocate 'for a new era in business where companies and products are analyzed, valued and attract investment based on a range of metrics that reflect the challenges of the world we live in..' As well they take new approaches to branding, marketing and sales that build in sourcing, operations, and product/service functionality that just makes sense to a new type of consumer, ones that desire to share their values with the businesses they buy from and work for...

This is so so very exciting to hear from AdAge.

For those of you who have followed Cone and our work since the early 80's, we have always advocated for business to bring their values to life through authentic and sustainable engagement with social issues. Now a quarter of a century later, with our world upended, for this philosophy to become the norm, rather than the exception, is encouraging for our people, planet, our communities and our children's futures.

Jonah ends his editorial with this commentary:  'Next year we will have a chance to wean ourselves off the crack of consumption at any cost to our brands and our planet and instead focus on profitability, sustainability and social responsibility.  Maybe next year can be the start of something good, a different take on commerce...'

This year we went through a robust discussion of Cone's future as a strategy and communications firm.  After much discussion we settled on something we felt was just right:  Our firm's vision: Better Business. Greater Good.

My New Year's wish is that we all answer this call.  Our collective futures may depend on it.

Thanks Jonah for this invaluable commentary.

- Carol Cone


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