We First Methodology
How We Work
We First partners with corporations, social enterprises, high-growth startups, Foundations and non-profits to identify and communicate their social purpose in ways that build their business.
We help them integrate purpose inside their organization across leadership, marketing, human resources and company cultures. We provide direction on how to share a purpose-driven brand story with employees, customers, consumers, communities, shareholders and the media with authenticity, transparency and accountability.
How We Think
We First brands serve the interests of all stakeholders by defining, sharing, and activating its story in ways that build business and positive social or environmental impact.
By defining, integrating and sharing a compelling story that delivers real impact, internal and external stakeholders are inspired to build your business and create impact with you.
Our team of expert storytellers, tech geeks, and change agents is focused on the intersection of three areas critical to our client’s long-term growth, success, and impact.
We build bespoke teams dedicated to your business or project to meet every client’s specific needs on a project or retainer basis. We approach each project with a collaborative mindset partnering with advertising, digital, or social media agencies to best serve our clients.
We First partners with clients to position their brands for cultural leadership. We achieve this by ensuring they define and share their story in ways that achieve measurable social impact that establishes their cultural leadership.
BRAND DISCOVERY – Who are you now?
COMPETITIVE REVIEW – Who are your competitors and how competitive is the marketplace?
BRAND POSITIONING & BRAND STORY DEFINITION – What is your brand story?
INTERNAL STORY INTEGRATION – How do you engage employees?
EXTERNAL STORY INTEGRATION – How do you inspire customers?
COMMUNITY ARCHITECTURE – How do you build a community?
ACTIVATION STRATEGIES – How can you create measurable impact?
CO-CREATIVE TACTICS – How do you celebrate customers?
CULTURAL LEADERSHIP – How do you shape culture?
Best selling book
We First Founder & CEO Simon Mainwaring’s first book, We First: How brands and consumers use social media to build a better world (Palgrave Macmillan) is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Amazon bestseller. It was named an Amazon Top Ten Business Book, 800CEORead Top Five Marketing Book, and strategy+business named it the Best Business Marketing Book of the Year.
We First offers a visionary new practice in which brands leverage social media to earn consumer goodwill, loyalty and profit, while creating a third pillar of sustainable social change through conscious contributions from customer purchases. This book answers the most pressing issue facing business and thought leaders today: how to practice capitalism in a way that satisfies the need for both profitable business growth and a healthy, sustainable planet. It has been translated into Russian, Chinese, Taiwanese and Korean.
Transforming the Engine of Capitalism
Redefining Self-Interest from Me First to We First
The Future of Profit is Purpose
Creating Sustainable Capitalism in Five Ways
Instilling We First Values into Capitalism
Why the World Needs a Responsible Private Sector
How Brands Build Their Business and a Better World
How Consumers Build Responsible Brands and a Better World
How Contributory Consumption Creates Sustainable Social Change
The Global Brand Initiative: The Future of the Private Sector
What Readers Say
"I've known Simon for 10 years as a client and an agency competitor. You won’t find someone who is more creatively driven, intellectually agile and honestly passionate about what he does. The difference between good and great in today's world of art and communication is courage. Simon is one of the brave ones."
"Simon Mainwaring is the new master of the 'three wins' – for your company, for your customers, and for the planet."
"A strategic thinker who’s able to look beyond the traditional communication territories, who is on a groundbreaking mission to transform corporate communication into rich experiences. And, hard to believe, all this comes packaged in a positive, problem solving and collaborative attitude."
"If your company is interested in keeping ahead of the new wave of customer engagement that is now powered by the new tools of social media – and who isn’t? – you should have Simon Mainwaring to show you how to do it."
"Simon Mainwaring has a deep and powerful understanding of social media and presents great opportunities to use it for real change."
"We First is a critical resource for corporate leaders and will inspire consumers, individually and collectively, to recognize their inherent strength. It is an invaluable blueprint for building this new societal structure we so urgently need."
"We First is as prescient as it is visionary – a must read for marketers and consumers intent on creating a prosperous future for all."
"Few understand the power of brands and consumers better than Simon Mainwaring. In We First he presents a truly compelling vision of how to transform that power to the benefit of society and the good of capitalism."
"Simon Mainwaring’s We First is a brilliant synthesis of today’s best ideas concerning the forward evolution of capitalism. Better still, Mainwaring compellingly builds upon these ideas with vision and an intense, infectious passion."
"The author's enthusiasm and evidence make an excellent (and counter-intuitive) case for big business's ability to make major strides in creating a more equitable world."
"A must-read for those who want to understand and engage the power and potential of social media to promote a healthier, more equitable world."
"While economists try to patchwork a theory of how capitalism should work, Simon Mainwaring, a brand expert, has looked at our systemic problems squarely and created a remarkable vision for fully functioning capitalism. This book is very highly recommended reading"
"Simon Mainwaring’s We First empowers socially conscious consumers to channel their online activity sparking massive social change while also awakening business leaders to earn critical relevance through positive, meaningful transformation. Mainwaring is an inspiring leader in his field that truly understands the dynamics in play in the new world of business, online consumer behavior, and how they can collaborate to rethink and rework paths to true global renewal."
"Few understand the power of brands and consumers better than Simon Mainwaring. In “We First,” he presents a truly compelling vision of how to transform that power to the benefit of society and the good of capitalism."
"Simon Mainwaring has a deep and powerful understanding of social media and presents great opportunities to use it for real change. In We First, his approach inspires and empowers both brands and consumers alike with innovative solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing our world."
"Simon Mainwaring is the new master of the ‘three wins’ – for your company, for your customers and for the planet. He shows us clearly that companies that mean more actually make more, turning customers into their most important evangelists. Today, values count as much as value, and Simon shows us how to find, foster and share the best of both."
"Brand promises must be backed up by credible action or they are rendered meaningless in today’s social-media dialog. Today’s consumer has the power to hold brands accountable. Simon Mainwaring’s We First is the ultimate how-to guide for 21st century brand-building."
"Nearly a century ago, Henry Ford said, "A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business." And now Simon Mainwaring explores that idea in depth, asserting that not only should capitalism and social change coexist, but giving examples of how they can."
"We First explains how capitalism must transform from being an engine just for profit into one that’s driven by purpose. A veteran brand marketer, Simon Mainwaring shows how to use social technologies to create and deepen business relationships, which in turn drive profits. Put meaning back into your business by buying this book. Actually, buy two and give one away to someone who is also yearning to take their business to the next level."
"When customers and companies truly understand the vision in We First, when they realize we have the power to make capitalism work in our favor, when they embrace just how powerful the social media tools are that we already have in our hands, they’ll unleash an almost unlimited capacity to massively change our world. We First is more than a must read – it’s a must do. Buy it, act it, and most importantly – LIVE IT!"
"To avoid collapse of the natural resources that support the business activities that human beings are so feverishly pursuing, we must move from the Industrial Age to the Sustainability Age. But how will that happen? We First explains how it is already happening in the new alignment between brands and customers that promises a roadmap to living within the natural means of our Planet Earth."
"We First lays out a movement that looks to transform corporate America, providing plenty of food for thought for the business leaders of today and tomorrow."
"Simon Mainwaring’s insights and recommendations about the power of brands and consumers demonstrate how businesses can enhance the triple bottom line – doing good while making a profit and saving our world."
"We First elegantly demonstrates the power of turning me into we by aligning brands and consumers as social collaborators."
"The evolution of capitalism is putting We First. Mainwaring not only gets this, but helps us understand how to make it happen."
"Mainwaring offers an inspiring new vision for today’s broken capitalist model, one that embraces human capital as much as economic. We First does away with the typical fluff-slinging of manifestos and instead offers a practical guide to how brands can do well by doing good, a guide as rooted in socio-cultural insight as it is in a keen understanding of
emerging media and technologies – from social networking platforms to location-based mobile applications. Mainwaring shows, with the rigor of an innovation researcher and the passion of a postmodern philanthropist, that capitalism needs not a revolution but an evolution."