Sunday, 4 December 2011

Rebranding Greece

Brand Greece certainly has a perception problem. While other EU countries have worse economic indicators regarding debt and fiscal discipline,  Greece  easily is considered Europe’s top laggard and a  prominent member in the PIGS club. Greeks are the ones that according to Eurostat are  working more harder in EU (30% more that the Germans and the others in the European North … not included the usual second unregistered job sometimes ) and are consider lazy !! So who to blame about that? The answer is ..Zorba, according to  Peter Economides, a prominent branding guru. Peter Economides is a Greek  brand strategist with a global perspective. Owner and founder of Felix BNI based in Athens, Peter is a former Executive Vice President and Worldwide Director of Client Services at global advertising agency McCann Erickson Worldwide and Head of Global Clients at TBWA\Worldwide. You can see the relevant slide presentation here and watch a  recent video  with his speech about ‘ Brand Greece’ and some other  big misconceptions here

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Brandkarma: an open reputation system for brands

Brandkarma is a new, open reputation system for brands designed to amplify ratings and suggestions to drive positive change.
Brandkarma looks at brands in a new light. How good are their Products, how well do they treat People, and how well do they look after the Planet?
For a brand to have good karma it needs to score well on all three Ps. It's a simple approach to sustainability that everyone can engage with.
Brandkarma is open, democratic and transparent and we're aiming to be a positive influence on brands. Besides rating them, users can make suggestions to improve a brand's Product, People or Planet karma.
Interesting enough to see in the top 3 position in relevant rankings up to now one of our favorite, nice , brands : Patagonia. See more about Brandkarma here.

Friday, 9 September 2011

What Brands are Doing to Our Brains?

Brands activating our left angular gyrus, left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex  or left orbitofrontal gyrus, ie systems  in our brain that are associated with the extraction of meaning, conceptual organization,  reward, etc could be  common topics in the  daily agenda of branding managers of  high-value brands in our  times.
Neurosciences have entered in a close engagement with marketing in search of the Holly Gray of Branding: finding  and controlling  our Buy  Button in the deep of our vast brain ocean with billions of connections.
But where are the ethical boundaries of such initiatives like  Neuromarketing and Brain Branding? Paradoxically, and contrary to what is believed by naïve observers and writers , in the last  decades the more the brands were growing  and flourishing the less  is the level of  human happiness and human satisfaction, in steady decline in the western world (see Easterlin Paradox).  We are not all aware but we are  living in the era of Branded…  Unhappiness, as I had analyzed in my  book Nice Capitalism. As Tim Kasser’s  (The High Price of Materialism) research shows, those who place a higher value on acquiring material goods  and brands, aren’t as happy as their less materialistic counterparts. He further provides evidence that such a behavior leads to low satisfaction, personality disorders and even antisocial behavior. And are the brands today that,
through advertising, are imposing our Value System  and Lifestyle.  But what is even more worrying is that brands , through overstimulation, invasion and manipulative techniques, could lead  individuals to  the dark sphere of depression. Depression will be the second larger killer after heart disease by 2020 and a contributor to coronary disease. Almost 15% of the population suffers severe depression  in the western world (more than 20 million Americans). Further on, it appears now  more and more in  the youth and not only in those around 40 years old. The mechanism that describes the secret path to depression in  our branded world is described in detailed in my book and is graphically presented in the illustration above (click to enlarge). As a scientist  with a long experience in marketing, I strongly believe that branding  should exist for the mutual  good of the individual and the business. And that good, ultimately, is to improve human satisfaction and human happiness and well – being. Those brands that are investing in the exploration of the ocean of  our brain connections should  return back to their true  and legal mission. In the opposite case the society has to  re - evaluate  their license to operate. What’s your opinion? Do you share the view that branding should have certain moral boundaries? Let’s start the discussion. 

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Brands in search of a more enlightened form of capitalism?

 “Conventional capitalism is dying with yesterday’s industrial era model of growth in permanent decline. Increasingly, the advantage will cede to companies that practice a more enlightened form of business, paying more than just lip-service to environmental and social agendas. According to the Irish Times, that’s the central premise of Umair Haque’s thesis in his book which offers a blueprint for a better form of capitalism.
Capitalism, he says, is founded on the equation of creative destruction. The cornerstones of capitalism as we know it systematically and chronically undercount the costs of destruction and over-count the benefits of creation. The result is an oversupply of “bads” with too much economic destruction for too little creation. The sum of over-destruction and under-creation is the deep debt a society incurs. Umair Haque  is clarifying the goal of the 21st Century brand, which is to create what he calls “thick value”—value that matters, value that lasts and value that multiples, not the “thin value” of the 20th Century firm that is artificial and unsustainable, often gained through harm to or at the expense of people, communities or society. It is about making a positive difference in people’s lives, not merely having a differentiated product and brand. The New Capitalist Manifesto by Umair Haque is  also available at Amazon.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Towards the customer obsessed brand?

Welcome to the Age of the Customer and invest accordingly says Josh Bernoff  of Forrester Research , author of a new report titled "Competitive Strategy In The Age Of The Customer". According to the report, previous sources of dominance (ie  manufacturing, distribution, even information mastery ) are now just table stakes. This is the age of continuous disruption. Your relationship with customers is the only thing that enable you to survive that disruption. Companies must be more than customer focused, they must be customer obsessed. A customer obsessed company focuses its strategy, its energy, and its budget on processes that enhance knowledge of an engagement with customers, and prioritizes these over maintaining traditional competitive barriers. An interesting piece of work. Find more here.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Restoring Confidence in Brands: What’s your Big Idea?

”Business (and brands ? ) is a necessary evil in society… only the worst sorts of people are involved”, Plato,  the ancient Greek philosopher used to say.
Corporate power, accumulated by the “Arrogant Capitalism” of the inequalities, is dramatically deteriorating, also as a result of the economic crisis. “Disaster Capitalism”(see Naomi Klein’s latest book) and the School of Chicago failed. Now  “Nice Capitalism” is wanted (see at Amazon Costas Kataras latest book here). Long before the crisis, a number of studies showed a growing lack of trust in business and their leaders,. For example, only ¼ of the public trust them. Further on, brand importance goes also steadily down. For example, brand loyalty today is only 9%, from 40% some years ago. The crisis also showed that the notion of “Powerless State” is a myth. Society is now pressing harder for a new “corporate social contract “ and the new issues for the businesses are endless, including: regulation, environment, unions, privacy, safety, off shoring, civil society, governments as owners, consumer activists, NGOs and others. How modern corporations and brands could respond to these strategic and organizational challenges, beyond simplistic CSR, “Green Wash” practices and the recently invented by brands concept of “social missions in the supermarket shelf? . And this, at a moment where “shareholder value is growing increasingly irrelevant as government and society take a larger role in shaping business and industry. This discussion is about sharing ideas. So I am very pleased to ask you what is your big idea on how to restore confidence in brands. Please join the conversation by providing your best idea by sending an email at:

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The stigma of CSR

Numerous studies in the last decade or so are supporting the view that brands and corporations involved in CSR are rewarded with a number of benefits: from increased brand preference and brand loyalty, to improved financial performance and stock prices. But from now, these CSR conscious brands and corporations will have also to carry a stigma: the stigma of being bad corporate citizens and.. irresponsible. According to a recent working paper by the National Bureau of Economics Research (USA)  " companies are engaged in CSR in order to offset Corporate Social Irresponsibility (CSI)". Authors Matthew Kotchen and Joe Moon suggest that their, more than 10 years, research shows that "harmful companies are those mostly involved in CSR. When companies do more harm (CSI) also do more CSR" , the authors suggest. Or to make it simple: companies do "good" in order to offset "bad". What a nice subject for a debate. Looking forward to hear your opinion. For the full text of the paper, click here . 

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Focus on “Nice Brands”:Patagonia - Nice Lessons from a Reluctant Businessman

Before the recent global interest in  corporate social responsibility (CSR), there is already a  sustainable company called Patagonia. Yvon Chouinard, the founder and owner of Patagonia, Inc is one of the few business leaders who understand that if your business is not part of the answer, then your business is part of the problem.
Patagonia grew out of a small company that made tools for climbers. Alpinism remains at the heart of a worldwide business that still makes clothes for climbing – as well as for skiing, snowboarding, surfing, fly fishing, paddling and trail running. These are all silent sports. None requires a motor; none delivers the cheers of a crowd. In each sport, reward comes in the form of hard-won grace and moments of connection between us and nature.
The company’s values reflect those of a business started by a band of climbers and surfers, and the minimalist style they promoted. The approach it  takes towards product design demonstrates a bias for simplicity and utility. Patagonia, amongst others,  uses a portion of  its sales to support grassroots groups working to make a real difference .  To make it short , Patagonia is one of the most representative Nice Brands that are emerging in the new brand ecosystem.
Find out more about Patagonia’s environmental initiatives here. In 2001, Yvon also co-founded 1% for the Planet, an alliance of businesses that contribute at least 1% of their net annual sales to approved environmental organisations.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Who says beauty is not sustainable?

Why is an ageing society significant for L’Oréal and its consumers? How the cosmetics giant approach biodiversity challenges? What is its position on scientific breakthroughs such as adult stem cell research?
These and other key sustainability topics have been identified by L’Oreal through active engagement and consultation with stakeholders. Each topic has been analysed, both in terms of stakeholder concern and relevance to the company, and mapped on a grid . Click here to see the graph and to download a factsheet summarising L’Oréal’s approach to each of these challenges and topics. For the company’s latest sustainable report click here.
“L’Oréal’s engagement draws on a vision of corporate responsibility in which economic success, human progress and social development go hand in hand”, says Jean-Paul Agon, the company CEO. And he adds: “Providing access to products that add to quality of life, while safeguarding the planet’s natural capital and contributing to society, are the key ways in which L’Oréal can create value to benefit everyone. Contributing to a more beautiful life and a better world is L’Oréal’s constant ambition”. Who says beauty is not sustainable?

Monday, 1 August 2011

Two books and the Greek crisis: A BBC Perspective

BBC’s Paul Mason noticed two books in English on the desk of the Greek ex finance minister a couple of months ago: Andrew RossSorkin’s “Too Big to Fall” and Costas Kataras “Nice Capitalism” . As Mason starts his interesting article “ Greece: Spearing the Octopus ” …. ‘”Greece has had all it is going to have of “nice capitalism” for some time and the Greek finance minister is about to discover if his country is like the book says, too big to fall”. Always relevant analysis, regardless the fact that the country has today a new finance minister.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Arrogant Brand? You're Dead To Me!

It’s almost three years now, and before the economic crisis, that I wrote my book “ Nice Capitalism- A Secret Journey to the Death of the Arrogant Brant”. Since then, continuously and steadily new research data and studies are confirming my theory. Recently, I was very pleased to read an article in S+B magazine presenting fresh data from a survey in the context of Young & Rubicam’sd Asset Valuator (BAV) . According to the article “among the once-prized brand attributes that declined in this period were:“exclusive” (down 60 percent), “arrogant” (down 41 percent), “sensuous” (down 30 percent), and “daring” (down 20 percent). On the opposite side of the scale, the brand attributes Americans found more important as they began to sense the impending recession and then suffered through the crisis were: “kindness and empathy” (up 391 percent), “friendly” (up 148 percent), “high quality” (up 124 percent), and “socially responsible” (up 63 percent). But if the Death of the Arrogant Brand is an inevitable reality, which are the new emerging species in today’s Brand Ecosystem? The book explains why a number of emerging forces could have devastating effects on brands and lead to the rise of a new species of brand, “Nice Brands” and “Nice Capitalism”, two developments that are clearly interrelated, as the book explains, which usually lead to happier people and more “Happy Nations”, particularly in Europe. Find more in my book here!

Friday, 29 July 2011

The two pillars of any successful Community investment

Financial commitment and active engagement are the two pillars of any successful community investment according to experts. . And Bell Canada seems to know well this rule.
The largest communications company in Canada, has just published its 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report online. The report meets the Global Reporting Initiatives GRI–G3 A+ reporting level.
Among other things, the report details Bell’s leadership in sustainability including the company’s recognition from the FTSE4Good Global Index, the Jantzi Social Index and Oekom Research.
The report features detailed performance data and qualitative descriptions of several key corporate responsibility initiatives. The five main sections of this electronic report address the issues that are most relevant to the company’s business and to its stakeholders.
However, of particular interest is the company’s Community program : a five-year, $50‑million Bell Mental Health Initiative and other community investments. Bell people are actively engaged in their communities. In addition to giving time and money to worthy causes, many employees are playing leadership roles, mobilizing themselves and others by getting involved. The company encourages community involvement through internal campaigns, volunteer grants, payroll and credit card deductions, and organizing volunteer teams. See more and download the report here.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Harvard now(?) wonders how to fix Capitalism: Replace it with … Nice Capitalism stupid!

Anna Farmery of the Engaging Brand is producing another top class podcast, talking about how business can help create social value. This time in an interview with Mark Kramer, founder and managing director at FSG and a Harvard CSR fellow, who co-authored the article with Michael Porter of Harvard Business School. So sad that Harvard was not aware about the research work and the book “Nice Capitalism” by Costas Kataras ,published before the 2008 financial crisis, that was prophetic. Do not miss this podcast, click here.

CSR conscious companies have better access to finance ?

This is under examination in a recent Harvard paper by B.Cheng, I. Ioannou and G. Serafeim.
Authors investigate “whether superior performance on corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies leads to better access to finance, hypothesizing that better access to finance can be attributed to reduced agency costs, due to enhanced stakeholder engagement through CSR and reduced informational asymmetries, due to increased transparency through non-financial reporting." To read the complete paper use this link.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Corporate Reputation again in the rise in America, according to Harris Interactive U.S. Reputation Survey 2011

Overall corporate reputation is experiencing rehabilitation as the American public gives high marks overall to corporate America, specific industries, and the largest number of individual companies in a dozen years. This, according to the findings of the 2011 Harris Interactive RQ Study, which measures the reputations of the 60 Most Visible Companies in the U.S.
Google ranked highest, supplanting Berkshire Hathaway, which falls to the 4th position. Johnson & Johnson ranked second again, followed by 3M Company at 3rd. Apple continues a steady rise begun in 2002, ranking 5th, as its corporate reputation catches up with its elite brand status.
The top 10 companies on this year's list in order of ranking include: 1) Google; 2) Johnson & Johnson; 3) 3M Company; 4) Berkshire Hathaway; 5) Apple; 6) Intel Corporation; 7) Kraft Foods; 8); 9) General Mills; 10) The Walt Disney Company. For a full list of the top 60 companies and other findings visit:
The bottom 10 companies on this year's list in order of ranking include: 51.) Delta Airlines; 52) JP Morgan Chase; 53) Exxon Mobil; 54) General Motors; 55) Bank of America; 56) Chrysler; 57) Citigroup; 58) Goldman Sachs; 59) BP; 60) AIG.
There are six reputational dimensions that the RQ survey focuses on that influence reputation and consumer behavior. Below are the six dimensions along with the five corporations that ranked highest within each:
Social Responsibility - 1) Whole Foods Market; 2) Johnson & Johnson; 3) Google; 4) The Walt Disney Company; 5) Procter & Gamble Co.
Emotional Appeal - 1) Johnson & Johnson; 2); 3) UPS; 4) General Mills; 5) Kraft Foods
Financial Performance - 1) Google; 2) Berkshire Hathaway; 3) Apple; 4) Intel; 5) The Walt Disney Company
Products & Services - 1) Intel Corporation; 2) 3M Company; 3) Johnson & Johnson; 4) Google; 5) Procter & Gamble Co.
Vision & Leadership - 1) Berkshire Hathaway; 2) Google; 3) Apple; 4) Intel Corporation; 5) The Walt Disney Company
Workplace Environment - 1) Google; 2) Johnson & Johnson; 3) Apple; 4) Berkshire Hathaway; 5) 3M Company

Danish secrets for a Better Life- The country steadily tops all happiness metrics

How do you define a better life? What matters most to you – good schools, safe streets or something else?
Don’t worry. The Danes know all these secrets as they are No 1 in all relevant well-being , better life, and happiness indicators. Now, as usual, the are in the No1 position in a new indicator presented by OECD . It is called the Better Life Index. The OECD Better Life Initiative proposes an interactive tool, Your Better Life Index, which enables you to rate your country on the things you feel make for a better life. The benchmarks, which can be calculated for all 34 member OECD countries, fall into 11 areas: housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, governance, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance.
The OECD’s intent is to encourage individuals to come up with weightings for measuring their country’s “better life” quality, and then submit that formula to the OECD. All the proposed calculations will be put into a database that the organization will consult in examining what matters most to individuals in evaluating quality of life. But if you want to make it short, just ask a ..Dane!

Monday, 18 July 2011

CSR :Top five trends of Q2/2011

“ With the maturing of CSR (and some will say, the ‘commercialization” of CSR), the conversation is revolving more and more around the deeper integration of sustainability into business value, strategy, culture and the intersection of CSR with core business lines” says Adine Mees of CBSR. See the full story here.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Desperate Brands (…for Media )

Media fragmentation—and its resulting complexity of choices—remains the biggest challenge facing Unilever and its agencies. Brands can be part of the answer, by connecting media channels in an organized and compelling way, according to Weed. After all, as he sees it, brands simplify life and can simplify the media scene as well. To Weed, the chief marketing and communication officer at Unilever, modern marketing embraces the convergence of entertainment, media and brands. He reiterated that point several times during an interview at the 4A’s Transformation 2011 conference in Austin, Texas. See more here.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Nice Brands Finish First ? - The Emergence of New Species in the Brand Ecosystem

Analysis is showing that brands today, contrary to what is widely believed are forced both off the market and out of the hearts and minds of people. A number of emerging forces or "known unknowns" have been identified that could have extreme and devastating effects on brands. This leads to the emergence of a New Species in the Brand Ecosystem and the rise of "Nice Brands", a clear winner in the new "brandscape" in comparison to their "Arrogant Brands" counterparts. How to address this colossal corporate threat is a huge challenge for modern corporate leaders and the "Nice Way" strategy proposed could create a clear competitive advantage in our turbulent times. The above was the key massage of the presentation by Costas Kataras at BRANDNEWDAY Conference in Brussels few weeks ago, at the Royal Flemish Theater. At the event were presented new platforms, the shift towards social, content marketing, conversation management.The integration of new media with the classics and the ever changing redefinition of life values by consumers make it both interesting and tough to truly understand the needs of the consumer and to act on them. What's the future of brands and what kind of role does advertising play in it, was a common theme in most discussions. Some of the marketing world's foremost thinkers and talkers concerning this future minded topic presented, including Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive Officer of WPP Group, as opening key-note speaker. To learn more about the Nice Brand paradigm in the emerging new brand ecosystem download for free and read the book “Nice” Capitalism- A Secret Journey to the Death of the Arrogant Brand” click here . If you want a copy of the presentation by Costas Kataras send an email at: or click here. For a Darwinian approach to the essence of the “Nice” Paradigm, see a video series by Richard Dawkins titled “Nice Guys Finish First” here.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

"Cradle to Cradle" : A biomimetic approach to the design of products that calls for radical changes for corporations and brands

In Cradle to Cradle, authors McDonough and Braungart argue that the conflict between industry and the environment is not an indictment of commerce but an outgrowth of purely opportunistic design.C2C is a biomimetic approach to the design of systems. It models human industry on nature's processes in which materials are viewed as nutrients circulating in healthy, safe metabolisms. It suggests that industry must protect and enrich ecosystems and nature's biological metabolism while also maintaining safe, productive technical metabolism for the high-quality use and circulation of organic and synthetic materials The design of products and manufacturing systems growing out of the Industrial Revolution reflected the spirit of the day-and yielded a host of unintended yet tragic consequences. It calls for a radical change in industry: a switch from a cradle-to-grave pattern to a cradle-to-cradle pattern. It suggests that the "reduce reuse recycle" methods perpetuate this cradle-to-grave strategy, and that more changes need to be made. The book discourages down-cycling, but rather encourages the manufacture of products with the goal of up-cycling in mind. This vision of up-cycling is based on a system of "lifecycle development" initiated by Braungart and colleagues at the Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency in the 1990s: after products have reached the end of their useful life, they become either "biological nutrients" or "technical nutrients". Biological nutrients are materials that can re-enter the environment. Technical nutrients are materials that remain within closed-loop industrial cycles. The book itself is a physical symbol of the changes to come. It is printed on a synthetic 'paper,' made from plastic resins and inorganic fillers, designed to look and feel like top quality paper while also being waterproof and rugged. And the book can be easily recycled in localities with systems to collect polypropylene, like that in yogurt containers. This 'treeless' book points the way toward the day when synthetic books, like many other products, can be used, recycled, and used again without losing any material quality—in cradle to cradle cycles. See also a video with Williams McDonough at TED.

The European Year of Volunteering 2011 : Make a difference

The European Year of Volunteering 2011 is both a celebration and a challenge. It is a celebration of the commitment of millions of people in Europe who work in their communities during their free time without being paid – for example in schools, hospitals, and sports clubs, protecting the environment, providing social services and helping people in other countries. Their efforts and those of the many thousands of volunteering organisations make a huge difference to our lives in countless ways. The world would be much worse off without volunteers! The EYV is also a challenge to the three-quarters of the European population who do not do any volunteering. Learn more how to make a difference here.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Income inequality and the global crisis

Michael Kumhof, Deputy Division Chief, Modeling Unit, Research Department, IMF and Romain Rancière, Associate Professor of Economics at Paris School of Economics are apocalyptic regarding the origins of the financial crisis in a recent article (06/02/2011, VoxEU) and are fully supporting now the ideas and similar findings and forecasts of Costas Kataras as described in his latest book “Nice Capitalism” (2008). The two authors are saying that “ of the many origins of the global crisis, one that has received comparatively little attention is income inequality. This column provides a theoretical framework for understanding the connection between inequality, leverage and financial crises. It shows how rising inequality in a climate of rising consumption can lead poorer households to increase their leverage, thereby making a crisis more likely. The US has experienced two major economic crises during the last century – 1929 and 2008. There is an ongoing debate as to whether both crises share similar origins and features (Eichengreen and O’Rourke 2010). Reinhart and Rogoff (2009) provide and even broader comparison. One issue that has not attracted much attention is the impact of inequality on the likelihood of crises. In recent work (Kumhof and Ranciere 2010) we focus on two remarkable similarities between the two pre-crisis eras. Both were characterised by a sharp increase in income inequality, and by a similarly sharp increase in household debt leverage. We also propose a theoretical explanation for the linkage between income inequality, high and growing debt leverage, financial fragility, and ultimately financial crises”. “Nice Capitalism” is a truly prophetic book . You can now download for free here or to order from Amazon.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

A list of the world’s most sustainable companies for 2010

Corporate Knights, a Toronto-based media company, released its seventh-annual list of the world’s most sustainable companies. Corporate Knights worked with a research firm to winnow down its list of publicly traded companies from 3,000 to 300, based on financial performance and other criteria. Then the Corporate Knights research group worked with two different asset management firms to evaluate those 300 companies based on 10 environmental, social and governance performance metrics, including energy productivity, waste productivity and CEO-to-average-worker pay ratio. An eleventh indicator was added for “transparency.” The Nordic countries (Norway, Denmark, Finland) placed especially well in the rankings having 7 out of the top 20 companies. The United Kingdom failed to place a company in the Top 20 of the list. A complete list at Forbes .The list's most sustainable company comes from the oil and gas industry--a counterintuitive pick. The Norwegian oil and gas producer Statoil leads the list, thanks in part to improvements in its water productivity. Rounding out the top 10 list are Johnson & Johnson, Danish biotech company Novozymes, Nokia , Belgian tech company Umicore, Intel , AstraZeneca , Credit Agricole, Norwegian financial services company Storebrand, and Danske Bank.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Turn chaos into opportunity

EXPLOITING CHAOS by Jeremy Gutsche is an award-winning, bestselling, magazine-style book about 150 ways to spark innovation during times of change. Disney, CNN, MTV, Hyatt, Microsoft, Apple, Fortune, GE, and Hewlett-Packard. Each of these companies were created during periods of chaos. Their proven strategies will help your company to thrive in chaos, suggests Gutsche .

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Great Sites For Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability

‘Must Have’ sites on CSR, the best blogs , websites with excellent resources, links, media, tools, news, people to follow on twitter who will ensure you know everything there is to know about CSR and Sustainability, and much more in this interesting blog

Monday, 31 January 2011

When the Social Media Bubble Burst

The social media bubble is about to burst says Axel Schultze, social media practitioner, author of “Channel Excellence”. People are recognizing already that the endless hours of watching the incoming streams from Twitter and Facebook or all the status updates on LinkedIn are hours wasted. All the paid tweets and people or agencies, who have been hired to tweet are not going to contribute to the bottom line. And the fan pages people build to get "fans, followers, connections" are just hopes that it will do something for the business – but it won't.
Axel seems to have a lot of supporters. "Despite all the excitement surrounding social media, the Internet isn't connecting us as much as we think it is. It's largely home to weak, artificial connections, what I call thin relationships", says Umair Haque, author of The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business, in the Harvard Business Review .During the subprime bubble, banks and brokers sold one another bad debt — debt that couldn't be made good on. Today, "social" media is trading in low-quality connections — linkages that are unlikely to yield meaningful, lasting relationships, says Umair. Further on, Social Media Advertising it seems that is in early infancy, too: represents less than 1% of global industry total, says a recent Deloitte report. Despite the fact that social networks look likely to surge through the 1bn user mark in 2011 and will deliver 2trn advertisements, Deloitte predicts that advertising revenue will remain at a US$5bn, or US$4 per member. It says this represents less than 1pc of the global industry total.“That’s a slow start for the technology sector’s next big thing which has promised greater rewards. The decade-old phenomenon of search advertising and perhaps the billions of stated 'likes' on social networks does not translate into tangible purchases. It is early days for this fast-growing sector which could yet be used as e-commerce spaces or payment platforms while the strong trust element that social networks command amongst users could be harnessed by advertising companies and their clients,” explains the report.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Fashion and Social Conscience: Prestige vs Practices of the Brand.

Most of us have an inherent need to be accepted and will alter the way we present ourselves and our buying habits accordingly, says Yoan Massie in an interesting article about the world of fashion. Over history, the following of fashion and trends has been more about personal validation, self-expression and social acceptance rather than practicality or economy. Today, is this still the case? In the present economic climate, there appears to have been an adjustment of values from the everyday consumer. The onset of the global financial crisis (GFC) has been a driver for shifts in the ‘luxury vs. necessity' boundaries. And Mr Massie continues: “Business guru and author, Costas Kataras points out: "Brands are no longer about products, services or experiences but have risen to a ‘pseudo-status'. There is deep engagement of the human psyche with brands. The consequence of the human encounter with brands by far exceeds the simple transaction at the shop, and affects the future of society and its well-being." In an economy fuelled by uncertainty, cash-strapped consumers are favouring simple pleasures, frugality and conservation over extravagant indulgences. Materialistic culture has been rejected and even people who have the money to spend, appear much more hesitant about showy displays of cash. It seems the latest essential fashion accessory is a social conscience. ‘Eco-chic' is a term that has become increasingly prevalent. Defined as combination of trendiness and environment, being eco-chic is not just a look, but a mentality. Nowadays it seems as though purchase decisions have less to do with the prestige of the brand and more with the practices of the brand. Read the fuel article by Yoan Massie “The Death of the Bling” with clear reference to Costas Kataras’s book and the “The Death of the (Arrogant) Brand” .

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Who gets your vote for the 2010 "CSR / Business for Society" Person of the Year?

Which CSR / Business in Society Person had the biggest impact on you and the world, in 2010? Is it going to be an inspired Business Leader, Philosopher, Philanthropist, Academic, Researcher, Author, Journalist, Policy Maker or someone else? Vote now. Simply leave a comment and tell us who and why this person should be.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Top Ten CSR Reports of 2010, according to Blogs

CSR Reports… almost impossible to compare or rank them, despite numerous CSR Report competitions each year. However, some reports did come out on top of the pack , according to expert sources . See here The Top Ten CSR Reports of 2010, according to the CSR Reporting blog.