Time for brands to start thinking inside the box

John Griffiths
Planning Above and Beyond

The short answer to the question, "Can a brand maximise profit and be a force for good?" is: No, it can't. And it shouldn't try. Profit maximisation is fatally flawed, as Giles Hutchins writes in The Nature of Business. Companies should instead focus on creating value.

Maximisation, taken to its logical conclusion, would make it impossible for the company to continue trading – it's a strategy for winding up a company, not sustaining it. Profit maximisation has led to mass unemployment, pollution and short-term gains that are unsustainable. "This approach cannot lead to an innovative sustainable resilient business," says Hutchins. He also pleads for a more organic optimising of profits, orientated towards sustainability.

Optimisation is a better term, and one which takes into account innovation, the renewing of infrastructure and all the operations which still enable profit to be taken, but also gives regard to the health of the enterprise, the categories in which it trades and the communities that participate in its activities.