How Conscious Capitalism is Driving Business and Social Change

Each year, the Conscious Capitalism Movement holds an event that provides marketing leaders with insights on how to marry purpose and profit in ways that build their business and a better world. I’m thrilled to participate in one of these practicums this year, sharing best practices and case studies around the art and architecture of customer community building.

The fundamental premise behind the Conscious Capitalism movement and the training event, is that the private sector is facing an increasingly urgent responsibility to play a positive role in society. Raj Sisodia, who earlier authored a book called Firms of Endearment, and John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, have lead this movement, bringing its core principles to life in actionable ways through their own book, Conscious Capitalism.

The rewards of embracing conscious capitalism are many and include the following:

Risk Mitigation: By defining, framing, and sharing the story of the social purpose of the brand, a company protects its social license to operate in the face of rising consumer activism. This will become increasingly important given compounding social crises that include obesity, chronic disease, healthcare, access to education, and clean water, among others. One notable example is CVS, which recently banned the sale of tobacco products across its national chains because it felt inconsistent with the future of the brand and its desire to lead the healthcare debate.

Reputation Enhancement: As a function of the web, smartphones, and social media, today’s consumers are aware of the social crises that threaten their well being, and as a result, are demanding greater social responsibility from brands. This is especially true of Millennials and Gen-Z, who go so far as to say they would not buy a product, recommend a product, or even work for a company that does not reflect their core values. Such marketing trends are detailed in depth by the 2013 Cone/Echo CR Report.

Word of Mouth Advertising: While many mistake social media and mobile phones as ends in themselves, they are merely new channels and tools through which to generate the most valuable marketing of all, word of mouth advertising. This extends to motivating employees to become advocates for their company, and to customers that can become powerful brand ambassadors using their own social media channels to promote or recommend a brand. The most effective way a company can generate this is by aligning its storytelling around shared values and inspiring all stakeholders to work towards a common purpose.

If you’re interested in how you can bring conscious capitalism to life in your business, large or small, I invite you to visit their website and hear from other business leaders that are going through the difficult, but necessary, transition to becoming brands that don’t just build their bottom line, but also create a better world.