The world is changing – because of the worst – hopefully for the better. What has been deemed success is perhaps not so.
What is valued is now vile. Companies as brands slowly but surely recognize that competitive advantage doesn’t mean
externalizing production costs to gain competitive prices and higher margins. It can and should mean re-evaluating
impact both tangible and intangible that gains people’s (as consumers) attention and support.
It will be tougher for companies to do so before it gets easier and new companies that leapfrog legacy operational issues
will only keep old giants on their toes.Transparency via the interweb has to be one of the most significant forces that
can make companies and consumers see eye-to-eye or in many cases, the raw truth.
What is most inspiring for me is commercialism harnessed through a strong positive point-of-view
about how things should and can be. Being not only a mirror but a beacon to society, pointing out things and
pointing the way.
The two biggest forces within that are brands and the film entertainment industry.I’ve been fortunate to be involved
with 2 of the biggest brands, Nike and P&G as they were reevaluating and reorganizing their vision.
It’s inspiring to see that they now see competitive advantage as an alignment of the brand’s POV with the consumers’
POV – shared values.
Nike is now incorporating sustainability (in broader more strategic sense of the word) not as a separate CSR
component but as part of its core tennets right next to innovation and inspiration. And P&G sees
its mission statement as a competitive advantage, ” “Touching and improving more consumers’ lives in more
parts of the world more completely.”
I’ve also been fortunate enough to sit through all 6 seasons of my all-time favorite American
series, The Wire, as it provoked and entertained viewers, pointing out urban America for all its warts and highlighting
specific and suffering industries; journalism, law enforcement, public education, etc.
Recently 2 examples have reinvigorated my perspective on this:
Chipotle’s new challenge and vision to the quick service restaurant industry, using pop and music culture
via Coldplay and Willie Nelson emotionally and effectively.
And an older film entertainment reference in the form of Charlie Chaplin and a consumer-generated add-on.
Charlie, in rare speech form via The Great Dictator, speaking out against another major tension in his time.