Help…I need somebody (to assist with s**m

Yes, the vicious ‘S’ word. This blog, my bastion of thoughts and ideas, is being spammed daily. At this stage, I am moderating these comments out – the only post to attract such troubles was the biomimicry post that went up a few of weeks ago. The one that talked about ‘sour grapes’ and the Battle of Bosworth brand.

 Any hints as to why this might be happening, to ONLY this post? Many thanks to any able to shed some light on this situation.

Lions, Tiger and Bears: Silly thoughts on CSR

I was reading the Fin Review this morning and came across their CEO Poll, which asked some of Australia’s largest companies CEO’s questions about the economy, the challenges for the year and their opinions on climate change.

Foxtel’s Kim Williams climate answer:”Foxtel’s climate change motto is: switch off, reduce, reuse, recycle, ride, walk, car pool, bus it or train it. We aim to achieve carbon neutrality and an active approach to energy reduction in relevant technologies in the course of the next couple of years. We have a real road-map and action plan.

“Sure you do……which is why your ‘motto’ rips off pretty much every other green solution tag line their is. If you stand for everything, you stand for nothing.

Clearly, Foxtel don’t get it. My experience is that companies that do ‘get CSR’ (if that is even possible) don’t try to cover all bases. Their language is simple, their aims reasonable, their achievements real and their PR constructive. The whole CSR thing is still very grounded in spin and rhetoric – which is why we are all experiencing a fair dose of green wash at the moment. I just wish companies would keep their mouth closed until their organisational brains had engaged the issue. Their is nothing wrong with working towards a position on climate change. Their is something wrong with not doing the thinking in the first place.

If Foxtel actually did the thinking, they could come up with some kick-arse ideas to help move the country further down the climate-change road. If you were Kim Williams, what would you do? I’ll post some thoughts in 3 days or so…what are your ideas?

X Rated employers: For adults only.

Rant: Companies should be treating their employees as adults.  I think that people, generally, are smart and intelligent. Which is why I tend to cringe at the horribly cliched, tried and true values and mission statements that are floating around at the moment. Read any corporate web page/annual report/csr report. Boilerplate. We care about customer service. We strive for a greener world. We strive for equality in the workplace. We aim to be the best we can be. 


Yuk. Does anybody actually work to these? Can someone tell me the last time they we’re staring down the funnel, known as their computer, cranking out some piece of work because they ‘cared abut customer service.’ I believe people are adults. That they want to work for good companies, and that the culture of those companies dictates the values and mission statements.

Lets be clear here. I’m a fan of the concept of values and internal mission statements. I think they are crucial in creating an innovative, creative culture. But lets stop with the idea that value statements must test well with the companies customers. The values of a company/division/department should jive with the people (get ready for a shock here) THAT ARE THERE! A truly good values statement should be simple (but not simplistic), and carry with it a clear message about how ‘stuff happens.’ It should signal loud and clear “this is who we are, and this is what we do, and this is how.” It should treat the people that work there, as adults.  

As luck would have it, I’ve found a few examples.

Apple: Yes, everyones favourite brand also creates a great atmosphere and vibe for it’s employees. Check out this link here to see why (yes, another fastcompany article – sorry!) or this book, which has just been released for the down-low. I’ve added it to my wishlist.

The Body Shop: Has represented the non-fluffed, real values, real outcomes side of the green movement for years and years. Check out their very cool Values blog here to read more. These guys care – which is amazingly refreshing.

Ergo Consulting: Yeah, a bit small for these comparisons – and yes, I worked there for a year + a little. But their ‘Participation Behaviours’ ruled the roost. No ridiculous KPI’s. Just good, passionate ways they wanted to go about their business. They are something else – check out the website here and their nascent blog, here.

IDEO: The culture dictates the values. If you don’t conform to the culture, you’ll leave. Simple. Respect. Read this HBR article, Building an Innovation factory,  here.

St Lukes: Everyone is a shareholder. Everyone owns the business, and so everyone cares. These guys are amazing, and don’t need a boiler-plate values and mission statement. They live and breathe their values everyday, unprompted.  If you haven’t already, you MUST read Simple Minds, the book documenting their founding. Check the website here.

Please, next time you’re having the “values” discussion, demand something real that you will actually want to work for. DON’T let customers impressions get in the way here. Just do it!

A great giving proposition. How 'made to stick' meets social gifting.

How do you get a product to appeal to a certain market, get your brand to stick at once, and then make people proud to wear it? One of the better reads I had this year was the book Made to Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath, who also write in Fastcompany monthly. The book focuses on how to make ideas ‘sticky’ and memorable. The authors would love the business model being followed by the company, TOMS Shoes.

The company sells great looking shoes, but then again, so do many cobblers. The key ingredient in the success of the TOMS Shoes brand, is the great social affirmation that comes from buying a pair. For every pair of shoes purchased, the company’s owner, Blake Mycoskie, delivers a pair to a needy child.

Simple. Emotional. Concrete. Winner.

Buy these shoes, and a poor child no longer walks barefoot. It is incredibly sticky, and a great badge of honour for those walking around in the Western world sporting a pair of TOMS.

We deal a lot with the idea of ‘badges of honour’ at World Vision – trying to find a way to give people a feeling that they belong to a tribe when they support one of our causes. The white armband is a good example of this, as ripped from the Lance Armstrong ‘Livestrong’ from years ago. (Do you know they sold 52 Million of those LIVESTRONGS!!!! amazing!). The TOMS messaging will re-appear I’m sure in a world where social conscience is a key pillar of a persons image. By social gifting, in return for purchase of a product, companies can allay their customers world guilt whilst at the same time, create a tribal community feel to their brand. ‘I’m a TOMS wearer…therefore I am.’

Livestong…52 million times!