Everything begins with shared purpose and belief

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The power to describe groups used to belong to institutions. Governments and corporations segmented us by age, gender and income. These demographics underpinned mass marketing, mass production and mass consumption. Social media now gives people the power to describe and form their own groups. Most powerfully, people associate with each other based on shared values, shared interests and shared ambitions.

In this era of psychographic self-segmentation, corporate strategies must negotiate the intersection of the corporation’s values and purpose and those of its constituents. Brands achieve authenticity only when their activities are both transparent to everyone and demonstrate the underlying shared purpose and belief.

Successful brands are learning how to collaborate with employees, customers and communities to define and evolve their shared beliefs. For corporations, this collaboration is an opportunity to grow business by expanding brand permission.

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Daniel Diermeier
Kellogg School of Management

“One of the few really sustainable sources of competitive advantage is brand and reputation. And that is fundamentally based on trust…We’re no longer saying, ‘We’re selling you insurance.’ We now say, ‘We’re selling you peace of mind.’ Well, peace of mind is a pretty high standard.”

Fernando Chacon
Banco Itaú

“Our responsibility goes beyond merely providing a financial function…now more than ever, relationships between customers and brands are based on learning and sharing.”


Doug Ulman
The Livestrong Foundation

“Livestrong leaders all over the world communicate with one another and with their own communities daily using social tools. This gives us bigger reach and impact without the infrastructure.”


Bill Watkins

“If we fail, we fail. But let’s fail trying to change the world.”



Biz Stone

“We were creating a brand that represents freedom of expression…We felt that people should be allowed to have their voice, so we erred on the side of leaving everything up unless it broke specific laws. That can be painful sometimes, but in the longer view of things, if your brand is about freedom of expression, then you can’t be deleting things.”

Marc Mathieu

“I talk about co-marketing, where we create marketing platforms that allow people to jump in and share with us. They need to care enough and then share with their friends who then add to the conversation.”

John Miller
NBC Universal Television Group

“You still reach people through emotion, humor and the heart. People cry, people laugh, people hurt, and that’s the essence of making marketing resonate. How you do it and where you do it, that has changed remarkably.”


Geoff Cottrill

“The digital world and social media allow people to turn themselves into brands. If you give them the right kind of experiences and have the right kind of interactions, particularly in the social space, but also in the real world, they will speak on your behalf.”


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