Anne Bahr Thompson has over 25 years experience researching consumer and employee relationships with brands. She was Interbrand, the global brand consultancy's Strategy and Planning director prior to setting up her own consultancy, Onesixtyfourth and its research project CultureQ.
As the author recognizes " 'doing good' conjures up images of idealism and altruism which translates to self-sacrifice and not making a profit" in most people's minds. But in a world where 'purpose' is increasingly being seen as, if not an equal, but a second serious consideration alongside 'profit' , the importance of brand, both internally to attract and retain talent, and externally to attract and retain customers, is ever more critical.
The 2008 economic crisis was a pivotal moment where just producing steady returns was no longer enough. It may not have been the crisis itself that fomented this moment, the rise of social media has forced much greater transparency on organizations, but the two combined have fostered a populist agenda that large corporations and non-profits ignore at their peril.
Thompson through her extensive CultureQ research has identified her 'Brand Citizenship' model that initially focuses on the individual, be that an employee or consumer, and by integrating 'doing good' activities, whatever they may be, builds trust, and enriches lives, acts responsibly, creates community and so enables those individuals to 'be bigger than they were', so enabling the ME-to-WE continuum.
Thompson points out that large organizations already do lots of good things. US corporations alone gave over $18bn to charities in 2015, more than the GDP of Iceland. 'Conscious Capitalism' is not a new concept, even if the buzz phrase is, and in recent years it has gained momentum, with the rise of B Corp 'being not just the best in the world, but also the best for the world' certification. All this is part of creating Brand Citizenship from within.
In the final third of the book Thompson turns to pratical actions that can be taken to make your organization a better Brand Citizen through adopting the five-step model of Trust, Enrichment, Responsibility, Community and Contribution.
Do Good pulls together many current business themes. Thompson shines a spotlight on many of the ills of the current capital markets driven model of running organizations. Not least the short-termism that plagues public companies in always chasing quarterly results. She has a deep well of stories and examples to draw on – from the well-known of TOMS and Patagonia and John Lewis to others that may be more surprising Do Good players such as IKEA and Kellogg's.
Title: Do Good: Embracing Brand Citizenship to Fuel Both Purpose and Profit
Author/s Name/s: Anne Bahr Thompson
Publishing Date: November 2017
Number of Pages: 194
Author Knowledge Rating: 1-5 (based on their years of experience, academic expertise in subject areas, and exposure to cross-functional thinking in the area)
Readability: 1-5 score(1=dense and v academic; 5=frantic; page turner)
Appropriate Length: (1=could have been written in 25% of the length;5=could have been longer)
Core Idea Value: (1=nonsense (or entirely esoteric); 5=game-changer)