Companies and their brands need to reach out and speak directly to consumers, to honor their values, and to form meaningful relationships with them. They must become architects of community, consistently demonstrating the values that their customer community expects in exchange for their loyalty and purchases.
We need to develop and disseminate an entirely new paradigm and practice of collaboration that supersedes the traditional silos that have divided governments, philanthropies and private enterprises for decades and replace it with networks of partnerships working together to create a globally prosperous society.
Corporations often partner with government after natural disasters, as many companies did in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. As a rule, however, long-term civic/corporate partnerships are still rare .But this need not remain the status quo, as many opportunities are available for such partnerships.
More brands are waking up to their social responsibility and doing good work through cause marketing campaigns. Yet too many still go about it the wrong way. I mean 'wrong' in two senses. Firstly, they are marketing ineffectively, and secondly, as a consequence their positive social impact is not maximized.
The most potentially transformative impact of social media is its ability to encourage brands to marry profit and purpose. The reason brands participate is that such outreach earns those companies social currency enabling them to start or participate in conversations that connect them to consumers in meaningful ways.