Brands That Do Good Do Well

Ann M. Mack is the director of trendspotting at JWT. Here’s what she’s spotting:

Today, thanks to the ubiquity of online technology and a new global-mindedness, people are thinking less about “me” and more about what “we” can do to address the challenges of modern society.
This collective consciousness denotes a mind-set that’s particular not to an entire society or nation, but rather to a group of global citizens who share an ethos of responsibility and cooperation, and are using technology to connect, swap ideas and organize events. Yes, groupthink and herd-mentality behaviors are potential downsides. But the upside is enormous: that the worldwide collaboration of smart, engaged citizens will produce viable solutions to some of the world’s most difficult issues, such as poverty and global warming.
Our collective consciousness is a manifestation of several factors: the desire and ability to join communities based on fluid identities; the ease with which the Web allows people to organize collectively; a new generation’s desire to be more active and engaged; and the growing realization that large-scale problems need large-scale, collectively driven solutions.

Naturally, Mack goes on to suggest that brands help enable consumer movements. I like it. A lot. But brands are in business to move product off the world’s shelves, so the empowerment has to work for everyone.
Can all masters be served? Can brands empower people who, in turn, solve local problems on a global scale while shopping for goods and services of a branded but conscious variety?



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.