Profit through people

Ankur Khurana

Five years ago, while applying to colleges in the US and UK for a second MBA, I had written an essay on "inclusive growth". In my years as a student of the profession called marketing, I'd often seen the importance of diversity and inclusion being underestimated and ignored in the process of economic progress, and the development of nations and organisations. Five years after my essay and, well, the world doesn't seem to have changed much.

It's common knowledge that a successful brand creates value for its organisation and stakeholders – a tangible and visible value. After all, only if a brand makes money can it plough investment back into innovation and developing the quality of the product. However, what most marketers overlook in this process is the "social capital" that the brand generates, and the value of this social capital in the book of accounts.

Social capital. Or the intangible, invisible value that the brand generates for itself in the course of its life. One way of measuring it is to observe the brand when it makes a mistake. A brand with sound social capital would attract "well-wishers" even when it's in trouble. Investors and consumers who believe in the brand would be willing to forgive it, and keep it alive through commercial activities or social channels of interaction. We have seen this being repeated time and again in history. Not so long ago, Apple lovers all over the world forgave the iconic brand for the fiasco of its Maps app for the iPhone 5. Tiger Woods, the human brand who went from the peak of fame to the nadir of unpopularity, was given a second chance, too.