At the risk of sounding like an old man, it’s amazing how time flies. It’s a year to the day that We First, the book, came out, and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and contribution to a shift in perception and practice in the private sector. As social media has gained greater adoption and momentum, we have witnessed a parallel rise in citizen activism (Arab Spring and #occupywallsteet) and consumer activism (Bank Of America, Verizon, Netflix, SOPA/PIPA case studies, among others.) At the same time the corporate word has become increasingly social with many leading brands demonstrating greater transparency (Patagonia), collaboration (Nike) and commitment to social causes (Starbucks, Coca-Cola, IBM).
While progress has been made, there is clearly far to go before the private sector plays a sustained and transformative role in the lives of the majority of people around the world. And every effort by an individual or an organization makes a difference.
We First has now translated into Russian, Korean, Taiwanese and Chinese, as well as English speaking countries, and hopefully that will continue to make a difference. It was a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Amazon bestseller, and strategy+business voted it the Best Marketing Book of 2011, which was hugely encouraging. The We First Social Branding Seminar brought together almost 150 brands (including 43 non-profits) that were seeking to bring their corporate purposes to life as social brands. And now we’re a long way down the track to creating an online training portal to help more brands do the same.
So as we look back over the last year, we feel excited about the progress, so grateful for your support, and committed to double down our efforts to help brands become more purposeful and non-profits become better marketers to improve the lives of others. Thank you for spreading the word about the We First message and for encouraging a much needed conversation about how business can build a better world.