Good Brand makes good after 10 years

I could only spare half a day to attend the Making Good, the 10 year anniversary of this CSR consultancy. But it was well worth it. Held at the Welcome Foundation a range of speakers from Good Brand and their associates unpacked what CSR is turning into.

I was particularly interested in the two casestudies of Nespresso and Danone’s feed a child programme in Poland. Because it was clear that the governance structures were carefullly thought out. Partners included NGOs to keep the initiatives honest. And metrics were a lot more than the hardline on increased sales on the one hand or fluffy feelgood on the other. I was interested that Danone had gone out of their way to keep their branding off the programme. The only way you knew they were involved would have been through word of mouth – of one of the volunteers involved which ultimately would have been more powerful if you were close enough to one of them or the company to hear it on the grapevine.  There was also an interesting balancing act in the example of Nespresso – Increasing the quality of the raw coffee product doesn’t of course lead to a rise in prices but since access to Nespresso is limited to those who have bought the coffee maker and signed up to receive the coffee by mail order they have found a way to build a connection between quality and fair trade on the one hand and premium delivery at the far end even though these don’t necessarily belong together. They had even got agro tourism together so affluent Europeans could find out where their coffee came from.

I had an interested exec with an Asian PR exec about vountarism and what it entails.  I had some experience of this when researching volunteers for VSO a few years ago. The concept is culturally loaded. Charity, what it is, who does it and who to and why are culturally loaded concepts.  In a multicultural society it is going to get even more confusing. She told me a great story about prioritising a sponsored walk over a festival where her duty lay in going to the big family get together. It was no conflict of interest for her – but she had to argue her corner when she got back home.   

It was a vivid reminder that CSR has really moved on a long way from the early days where it was little more than patronage.   Here’s an animation which they started the day with. And the presentations films are due to be posted soon.

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