Observations on earth
January 2021 By Martin Johnston
Big company bashing is common these days. As soon as a brand with as much money and power as a small country steps a foot out of line, there’s an army of activists ready to tear them down for it.
But there lies the problem – instead of boycotting brands, we need to support them and amplify the good work they’re investing in to make a better world.
It’s not about defending them, it’s about realising their power and harnessing it for greater social change. Corporates are ultimately the key-holders – and it’s up to society to unlock that value, realising their massive capability.
Positivity boosts productivity. No amount of negative press will lead to a business changing for the better. The best way to encourage corporates to act more consciously, is to influence them to demonstrate their commitments in society – and prove the difference this will make.
Everyone knows that what society thinks of your brand is critical to that brand’s success. 90% of consumers would buy a product from a company that supported an issue they cared about.
Bigger businesses have a bigger impact, but it means they’re often bashful about their contribution to society. Quiet companies are invisible companies and visibility is key when society needs to see their contributions.
The bigger the company, the bigger capability they have to drive the future onwards, aligning positive social change.
Our biggest social obstacles – from homelessness to marine pollution – could be tackled by our biggest corporate companies. It starts with a celebration of all that they’ve done, which then leads to a conversation about it in society.
Big corporates have big outreach – they have the money, resources and potential to make a big impact – plus the long-term thinking that governments don’t have.
If we steer them to make better decisions, demonstrate the value they are creating in society and help them achieve genuine, tangible sustainability goals, everyone benefits.
The new strategy for achieving equilibrium
It’s time we realised that helping a business out will always be more beneficial than trying to catch them out. We need to replace cynicism with celebration, enhance visibility and underline authenticity.
Consistency is key. Once we get the momentum of meaning going, society will respond positively to the positive news they’re seeing and positive changes can be made through the world.
Activists are creating more barriers, rather than breaking them down. Conflict and controversy won’t lead to brands rethinking their social responsibilities; it may well do the opposite.
Only by celebrating the big and little wins of corporates can we start to move the dial, enhance reputations, get society’s approval and loyalty and change the world.