Social value: Don't just do the right thing - say it as well

Laurence Green
101 London

There is no shortage of literature agitating for the reimagining of business as an engine of social value, not just economic value. In this article, Laurence Green argues that there is insufficient guidance about how to translate purpose into communications and provides advice on how to do it.

What is missing in the narrative about the corporate higher purpose is how to make sure the brand reflects the social mission overtly in consumer communications. Here we begin to bridge the gap between 'doing the right thing' and 'saying the right thing' based on evidence gained from two recent case studies. But first let's back up a little.

The story so far

Much of the management narrative around 'doing the right thing' has been framed by the entrepreneurial movers and shakers who first dared to build businesses and brands with an unapologetically social mission -from Patagonia to Toms to Whole Foods.