Shared Vision and Commitment to Purpose: The Foundation for Community

Simon Mainwaring Founder & CEO, We First

Posted on July 14th 2013

Shared Vision and Commitment to Purpose: The Foundation for Community

Social media offers businesses and non-profit organizations an unprecedented opportunity to build customer communities that can have enormous value in building reputation, loyalty, trust and bottom line profits. However, building and engaging such communities is not always so simple.

It’s not simply a matter of setting up a Twitter account and running wild with promotions and special offers. In fact, blasting out messages on social media platforms without a defined purpose, compelling brand story and clearly articulated vision can be the quickest way to a social business blunder. Your company or organization must provide real value to its community, and this value comes from a genuine commitment to a purpose that is meaningful to their lives.

Building community without an understanding of shared vision is like building a house with no foundation. A thriving, engaged online community only emerges through its connection to an understanding of the world, a specific mission, or shared goals that provide a basis from which the connective fibers of social relationships can grow. A connection to a shared vision binds members of your community to each other and to your business and its products and services.

Here are five great examples of businesses who engaged their communities around a shared purpose and succeeded with authenticity, transparency, accountability.

PampersThrough its “1 Pack = 1 Vaccine” campaign, Pampers supports UNICEF’s Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination Program, a global campaign to protect the lives of mothers and babies in less industrialised countries.

United by Blue ApparelFor every product sold, UBB removes 1 pound of trash from oceans and waterways by hosting cleanups with other partners and retailers across the country.

Teatulia Tea: Teatulia has established revolutionary education, health, and cattle-lending programs for the Bangladeshi people working in their organic tea garden and surrounding areas.

CampbellFrom it’s Stamp Out Hunger program, to its own food donations (Campbell donated more than $32 million worth of product in 2012 alone), Campbell knows how to rally customer communities to fight hunger.

Patagonia: The Common Threads Project actually encourages customers to buy only what they really need, and in return, Patagonia will help repair what breaks and take back worn out products to recycle or give to those in need.

The future of profit is purpose, and the most iconic brands of the future will be those that drive the most meaningful social change. If you’d like hands-on training from some of the best marketers in the world on how to become a purpose-driven, social brand and create passionate customer communities, we hope to see you at our 2013 We First Social Branding Seminar, Sept 24-25 in Los Angeles.

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Simon Mainwaring

Founder & CEO, We First

Simon Mainwaring is the founder of We First, the leading social branding firm that provides consulting and training to help companies tell the story of the good they do to build their reputation, profits and social impact. He is a member of the Sustainable Brands Advisory Board, the Advisory Board of the Center for Public Diplomacy at the USC Annenberg School, the Transformational Leadership Council and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London. He contributes to Fast Company, Forbes, Huffington Post, Mashable, and GOOD Magazine on branding and social technology.

Simon’s first book, We First: How brands and consumers use social media to build a better world (Palgrave Macmillan) is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Amazon bestseller. It was named an Amazon Top Ten Business Book for 2011, 800CEORead Top Five Marketing Book for 2011, and strategy+business named it the Best Business Marketing Book of 2011.

Simon was included in Trust Across America’s, ‘Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior for 2012.’ He has been featured in Advertising Age, Adweek, Huffington Post, Inc Magazine, Fast Company, GOOD Magazine, and Mashable, as well as appearing on the NBC, CBS, CBC, Business News Network, BNet, Business RockStars and Harpo Radio.

Simon is a sought after international speaker with keynote engagements including the Cannes International Advertising Festival, Royal Society of Arts, SXSW, National Press Club, TEDxSF, National Speakers Association, as well as brands such as Google, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Gucci, Patagonia, First Data, and Nextel. He was voted a Top 5 Marketing Speaker for 2012 by

Prior to starting We First, Simon was an award-winning Nike creative writer at Wieden & Kennedy and worldwide creative director for Motorola at Ogilvy, as well as consulting on dozens of Fortune 500 brands for leading advertising, production, and digital companies.

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