Sarah Ford | December 3, 2014

Brands’ Future Is Creating Shared Value, Not Just Social Responsibility Campaigns

By Kirk Souder

In a seminal article that appeared in the Harvard Business Review in 2011, Michael Porter and Mark Kramer defined a new paradigm for business with the words “shared value.” The idea is that the future of today’s brands will lie in aligning business success with positive social impact for people and the planet. This is a new way of looking at corporate citizenship, from occasional philanthropic and cause-oriented actions that lie outside of their core business, to the core business itself and its potential to make the world a better place.

Both of these represent a transient, perhaps insincere, and unsustainable role for brands in making the world better, whereas aligning how the actual products and services can make a positive impact makes them enduring and sustainable.

The truth is, today’s greatest and most enduring brands came into the world through a shared-value idea. The world’s most-loved brands started with a single person who saw a societal need and looked to create something that could address that need and make the world a better place.

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