Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Dispatch from the Conference: Social Responsibility

Disclaimer: Loud Punk music playing so not sure if this will make sense - I can multi-task but there's a difference between music and noise.

It's a common theme it seems - this idea of companies needing to be aligned with social responsibility. In the same presentation, by a Baby Boomer, of course, there was a reference to the Gap. Sales have declined because the clothes are too "homogeneous". The same presenter made a reference to Bono as the poster child of this century for social responsibility. Bono - who became an icon well before the Millenial Generation was even born. But the dots weren't connected. We are all well aware that Gap was on board - heavily - with the Red Campaign, so why are they still in decline - shouldn't that be enough reason to shop there?

This notion was flipped by the Millenial generation speaker - Gideon yago of MTV (a "recovering VeeJay"). According to him, their youth/MTV audience doesn't accept celebs as the poster children for causes and they don't want to be told "what they should do". Instead, they want to see themselves - people like them, and what their are doing to contribute to society. They view participation as empowerment - their ability to have an effect. They see Bill Gates as a method for change rather than George Bush.

So sure, there is a big trend in social responsibility, but why is it so hard for us to get corporations on board? At he end of the day it's still about sales, right? Campbells soup saw the uptick last October. But where are the rest of the companies and why aren't they beating down our doors?

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