Thursday, March 19, 2009

Being Good vs. Doing Good

I was looking at a company called Innocent today. They make fruit smoothies, and other foodstuffs. The products are all-natural, and their corporate ethics are squeaky clean. They’re doing “good” simply by being good.

It’s an interesting distinction. Some companies operationally ARE good (i.e. have a conscience), and then there are companies that go out and DO good.

Companies that ARE good: Tom’s of Maine, Innocent (drinks), Method (soap), Icelandic Glacial water, Starbucks fair trade coffees, Kashi and other organic foods, etc. A Hybrid car may fall into this category. They make internal decisions about how they run their business with one eye on profits, the other on impacting the world. The sustainability movement pushes for this sort of thing, and it’s a huge part of “good” marketing. Their customers are fans because of the way they do business.

Then there are companies that DO good. Many of those are featured in this blog. Pedigree helping shelter dogs, Quaker feeding the hungry, Diet Coke advocating heart health, Tropicana saving the rainforest, etc. These companies aren’t necessarily “green” or operationally “good” at all. But they see the value in helping society – not just for the world, but for their brand.

Ideally a company will do both. They’ll BE good, and they’ll DO good as well. But heck, I’ll settle for either.
They’re both very real reasons to choose one brand over another, especially in a parity category. (“Would you like to buy the soda that’s two cents cheaper, or the one that saves babies, ma’am?”)

So while WalMart keeps tweaking it’s operations to become more “green” (thanks in part to the efforts of SaatchiS), shoppers will be looking for ways that part of their consumer buck can go toward making the world a better place in the regular course of buying dog food.

Hey, lazy people can save the world too. I'm reading: Being Good vs. Doing GoodTweet this!

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