In last year's "What's Next" presentation, this was (a version of) one of the closing thoughts for how brands need to start behaving differently. I was reminded of this a week or two back when the NY Times ran a piece on figuring out how much of your income should be given to donations.
In the article, they shared that Americans donated $229 billion in 2009, with about half of that going to religious institutions. Consider that for a moment.
People openly gave over two hundred billion dollars to organizations because they believed in what the organizations are doing and because of the way helping those organizations makes them feel. Not because of a product they took home to use. Not because of a service performed for them. They gave simply because they wanted to support something that they believed in.
I bring this up because it's part of how I think and talk about the "commit to something bigger than yourself" idea.
The talk around this slide wasn't about committing to adding a cause or charity to your business. It was about committing to being about something bigger than making a profit—it was about focusing on doing good things for the people who buy your products or services, not only for yourself or your shareholders.
As I look back at this now, I still agree with this but I do think it isn't worded quite right. It leans too much towards causes and charity. Not that those are bad things, but we've got several major brands around who weren't built on these principles and in trying to pull them in now, they come across as shallow ploys to try to get more people to buy their products.
I think the way I would word it now would be something like, "Give people something to believe in." It's really about committing to doing things for and with people, and then living out those commitments every day. In doing that, you're showing them that they can believe in you; and as the donations numbers show, people like to support things they believe in.
Maybe still not quite right and certainly needs more work. Would love to hear your thoughts...