David Coethica's Blog

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Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Apple’s Best Advert Yet?

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Yes, this is just an employee engagement video, but it’s also an Apple employee engagement video.

I wonder how many customers (and more importantly potential customers) felt that little bit more emotionally connected to a brand that has historically pretty much kept its head below the social and environmental parapet.

“Inclusion inspires innovation”

It is also further evidence of a company becoming being increasingly comfortable being seen in the CSR space. By adding a deeper values element to their brand Apple are on a dangerous trajectory of becoming a truly inspirational operation. It looks like Tim Cook is truly getting his feet under the big table.

That’s two responsibility videos in three months now! Cautious optimism grows.

Oh, and there’s a great soundtrack too.

 

Natural Born Social Good Evangelist

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Moderating at Lundquist CSR Online Awards, Milan 2014.

 

It’s time to stop over-thinking and speed up the doing, and change is in the air.

Nine years after escaping the carnival that is the business of sport, with many, many commercial lessons learned, and a tough personal 12 months, the moment I hit the ‘Publish’ button a new era begins.

No huge upfront fanfare at this point, merely a few noticeable differences to the way things will be done around these and associated online and offline parts.

The short version is that the original experiment that was Coethica both excellently failed and stealthily succeeded. I did begin the introspection behind the evolution two years ago and the headline (underlined in bold) awakening was that I was an explorer, communicator, evangelist and educator that hardly ever got to play to my personal strengths.

Not great for business. Not good for me. Not any more.

The experiment with social media worked way beyond my wildest dreams creating multiple exciting, and often distracting new tangents, which ironically should have been a bigger part of the direction from the beginning.

So now with a personal account overflowing with social capital from 17 years of a wildly varied social good career that includes over 6 years of social media curation, content creation, network building and engagement, it’s time to spread my wings further, aim higher and fly faster.

I’ll be able to share the new clients and projects soon but I should mention I’d love to have one or two more technology companies in the new communications based portfolio.

Business needs to step up its game and here’s a few examples of what you see me doing differently.

  • As a brand ambassador / evangelist
  • Speaking and moderating at events
  • Supporting world-changing non/low-profits

… all with a stronger focus on leadership, education and innovation.

Over the coming weeks and months I’ll be more formally announcing the new services, and new clients, and I’d really appreciate your support by adding your knowledge to any best practice and thought leadership I find and share on my increasing travels through all things social good (including CSR, sustainability, social enterprise, non-profits etc).

To find out how I can help your organisation or for speaking engagements send me a direct email via david.connor@coethica.com or get in touch via Twitter at @davidcoethica.

 

 

 

How To Create A Sustainable Brand In 90 Minutes

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Campher_LR

 

Book Review: Latest in the DoShorts series -

‘Creating a Sustainable Brand’ by Henk Campher

 

Simplicity is beautiful. In a world saturated by gurus (I even shivered typing that word) and wanna-be experts lining up with their jargon bazookas in strained attempts to prove Einstein’s alleged quote wrong…

If you can’t explain it simply you don’t know it well enough.

..well they do have to justify fees, real wisdom is usually drowned out in the melee.

 

One such source of accessible knowledge is the DoShorts range of books. In particular, keep your eyes open for the latest guide on the block, ‘Creating a Sustainable Brand’ by Henk Campher. Henk has one of my favourite, if a tad long, corporate titles as Edelman’s Senior Vice President, Business + Social Purpose & Managing Director, Sustainability – and breathe. Trust me, this guy knows his sustainable branding eggs.

 

The book’s subtitle is ‘A guide to growing the sustainability topline’ and pretty much nails what you will get from your 90 minute injection of practical expertise. The three core branding based themes cover all you really need to know about managing ‘the fusion of branding and product’ to improve profit in a world of accelerating sustainability change. In a confusing space of greenwash, good product / bad company, bad company / good product, ethical labels, evolving legal structures and corporate rankings make it impossible to directly compare two organisations.

 

This guide provides a strong, concise and robustly educational foundation for anybody new to sustainability, and also as a timely reminder and ammunition for those professionals at the day-to-day coal face. For example, Part 3 of the guide explores ‘The Anatomy of Sustainable Brand’ and offers the following summary

A sustainable brand cannot exist if the product itself does not have any sustainability characteristics. Similarly, a sustainable product needs to differentiate in the marketplace through branding that resonates with the consumer. This is at the heart of a sustainable brand – combining the sustainability of the product and the brand to create a unique sustainable brand value proposition and identity.

 

The guide doesn’t hide away from calling out the obvious elephants in the sustainability room, and Henk’s opinion and expertise is bold and incisive, whilst being fair. How can BP be greener than Greenpeace? Really? In what intelligent and authentically transparent world does that make any sort of sense? If I were to have one criticism it would centre around the guide’s segregation of brand and product that feels at times that it hopefully assumes operational processes into its wider definition brand, which of course it should, but how many brands are that deeply entrenched and understood across all business functions and employees?

Perfection is not part of the sustainability agenda – or else we wouldn’t need constant improvement. It provides us with a scale to assess whether sustainability association in the brand is completely absent or whether it is embedded – from ignored to designed.

 

Overall, this is the most comprehensive, informative and well written guide to sustainable brands I’ve seen yet. Henk’s huge experience on just about every side of the concerned fence from non-profit to corporate and developed to developing nations, all align perfectly with a genuinely insightful, entertaining and endearing style.

 

Get your copy of  ‘Creating  Sustainable Brand’ with a special 15% discount head over to www.dosustainability.com and enter campher15 in the voucher code box.

If you prefer shopping at Amazon click here to go straight to the guide.

 

Come back when you’ve read the guide and let the other readers know what your opinion was.

 

HenkC LIFor more about Henk Campher say hi on Twitter via @AngryAfrican or through his LinkedIn profile here.

 

 

 

 

For disclosure: I have never been paid by either Henk or Edelman, sadly, but Henk and I are both strong Liverpool Football Club fans and quite possibly marginally intoxicated by the dream like potential of our team winning the English Premier League, and in glorious fashion. I have tried to remain totally objective but hey, this kinda stuff doesn’t usually happen in the real world, so please consider this when making your own opinions.

Social Innovation + CSR = #3BLchat

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Susan McPherson #3BLchatA quick date for your diaries, and a new hashtag to watch out for…

Next Tuesday, 17 December, I will be hosting the first ever #3BLchat for 3BL Media.

This 60 minute Twitter chat will see guest expert Susan McPherson explore “Social Innovation and CSR: The New Frontier”, sharing her wide experience and providing real world examples to inspire change and collaboration.

For more information about the event and our guest click here.

3BL logo #3BLchatIt would be great to see some friends Twitter profiles taking part during the event and if you can help spread the word to your networks here’s a suggested ready-made Tweet for you:

Check out: “Social Innovation & #CSR” – Tues 17 Dec, 1pm ET – http://3bl.me/9gxpzt with @3BLMedia & @susanmcp1 #3BLchat

Let me know if you have any particular questions you’d like to ask Susan and I’ll make sure we get them into the tight schedule!

I’ll be hosting the session via @3BLMedia for the event and I’ll remind people that I’ll be switching from my personal profile (@davidcoethica) just beforehand.

See you on Tuesday.

More posts to come soon…

The Most Amazing Sport You’ve Never Seen

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Who would like to support one of the most amazing sports that most people have never seen? Imagine a cross between ice hockey and 5-a-side football. Power, balance, passion and skills – all with metal sticks and a football. This is of course  a very overt request for partners to step forward.

The amputee footballers of England (and the wider UK) have been growing their own sport for some years now with only relatively superficial support. I’ve been away from the sport for too long and want to help these elite athletes and the grassroots programme that supports them.

Please take a few minutes to check out the photos and videos below and then get in touch via the links below…

I was always stunned by the lack of media / corporate support for such a photogenic sport that is pure adrenaline and poetry. Once during my spell in charge of the England team we had a media team courtesy of One 2 One (or T-Mobile as they were once called) follow us on a World Championship in Rio de Janeiro in 2005. This was during a short  period of strong commercial and governing body support as disability football was hitting a larger audience, but very little happened after the event was over, and then external support headed downhill for a while.

Much has changed since then. One of the biggest challenges was the quality of organisation at a global level but many, many more international teams now play, and grassroots participation is accelerating too. The players stepped up and took it over themselves, again, as it was in the start many years ago before the FA dabbled.

The England Amputee Football Association (EAFA) are looking to talk to any potential supporters, especially of the commercial kind to take amputee football to the next level at home and abroad. A huge opportunity on the horizon. Great timing and a great sport.

Who wants a piece of this?…

Here’s some more about the EAFA team and the players from an older video via The Guardian.

These guys have done a brilliant job of getting their sport to where it is now and all support can only accelerate a truly special sport with a bright future. Imagine being part of the bigger team when they win the World Championship? Trust me there is no better feeling and n spectacular opportunity for all partners!

For more information head over to www.theeafa.co.uk or via Twitter at @amputeefootball, use the comment section below or even get in touch directly with me and I’ll share what I know.

And as a treat for reading this far, a special goal from the 2010 World Championship Argentina v Japan game…

Written by davidcoethica

June 11, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Being Good is Not Overrated

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Despicable-Me-PosterYes, I can muster a pretty impressive Meeeester Gru impression. My son may not agree, but hey, it makes me laugh.

Apologies for this post, but this is all about not-so-Despicable me. No offence taken at all if you click away at this point, as I need to indulge myself a little.

After seven and a half years of all things Coethica the time is ready for me to evolve. I know not what that change is specifically at this particular moment – all suggestions are very welcome from anywhere, or any sector in the world – but a new direction will be forged. Some interesting offers are being considered but for the sanity of everybody around me my main hat will at least be worn much less from this day on.

The reason for this channel of personal thinking out loud is to help clear my head and also tap into and share with some of the many amazing people and organisations I have met and shared many ideas online. I am by nature an explorer, a passionate creative nuisance intent on leaving our world better than it would have been without me.

After falling in love with the purest form of this thing called CSR (i.e. holistic, balanced and embedded – you know the one, the lesser spotted variety) about 15 years ago I’ve met leaders from global CEO’s to local start-up entrepreneurs in deprived communities that have both dazzled and depressed. I’ve set up social enterprises, supported corporates and what feels like everything in between. I’m sure there’s a couple of books in there somewhere.

I know for a fact business can change the world, most of the time it just needs giving the confidence to try harder.

This is not to say Coethica will be no more, version 2 is defined and ready to roll, it is that it needs at least somebody else at the helm. Let me know if you want to find out more and take the reins of a ready-made social business to change the world! My gift to the right person, with maybe a couple of thin strings.

It has been for the most part a lonely journey, both geographically and intellectually, setting off in 2005 to challenge and inspire the small and medium market (but not excluding the corporates) to see the benefits of all things CSR / social enterprise /’pick your ethical business buzzword’ all atop a rollercoaster of a personal life that until recently only began to give me genuine freedom to get out and begin to deliver what we had learned through years of grassroots SME and corporate ‘market research’.

Sometimes the hardest decision in the world is being honest with yourself and make that change to re-energise spiritually. My wonderful wife and wider family have supported me through some magical highs and crushing lows and I owe it to them to take a more simplified path. Spinning too many plates for too long, however impressive at the time, is a recipe for one hell of a mess of crockery, not that I’ve broken many but I’ve been close to a couple of wobblers.

In short, I’m taking a the next couple of months to explore my own future as a real person separate from Coethica – a hard task for any entrepreneur, and the options on the horizon so far just don’t feel like the right fit. So, if you or anybody you know has a challenge they need help with or a gap that needs filling, by somebody of certain unique cocktail of experiences and abilities, well, as long as it serves a greater good, my intrigue is open for discussion.

If anybody should want a more focused summary of me, give me a call (get in touch via the comments) as I like a good natter, or for the more passive / furtive out there, my LinkedIn profile is probably as good place to start as any.

And just for pure childish summer fun, here is the trailer for Despicable Me 2. Enjoy. Freeeeze Ray!

Are You A Small Business Communications Expert?

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Do you have experience in CSR, social enterprise, business advice, marketing, PR, human resources – or just about any other aspect of business operation?

Better CSR Advice for SMEsCan you offer any insight on small business CSR communications?

I’m off to Berlin next week to co-host a workshop on CSR communications at an invite only conference not-so-snappily called ‘Better CSR Advice for SMEs‘. 100 small business advisers from across the EU (only 3 from the whole UK was a surprise but I’m glad to have got one of Brussels funded Willy Wonka tickets) are preparing to gather to network, share and take away the latest practice back to their home towns.

We only have a hopeful a mere 45 minutes throughout a 24 hour event to explore what I consider to be the most important topic in the small business / CSR debate, and I’m hoping to take as much ammunition in with me as possible.

What are the key questions? What are the key answers?

 

  • How do we educate small businesses about the benefits of CSR?
  • Who should do it?
  • What are the best ways for SMEs to communicate to their boards, employees, suppliers, customers and local media?
  • What resources are available to help SMEs get their messages out?
  • What are the current communication trends to be exploited?
  • Which SMEs are already good a communicating?

 

Please head over to the blog post on the Coethica website to get the full story & submit your feedback and share this link with your networks.

 

I’ll report back after the event to share the workshop discussions.

 

 

Apple’s Ethical Watershed?

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A window of opportunity and an open letter to CEO Tim Cook.

Is it me or is the current focus on Apple’s supply chain a different tune than we’ve heard before?

For years now many from responsible business community have rumbled in frustration at Apple’s lack of commitment and often blatant avoidance of sustainability issues.  Most of these professionals have ironically also either converted to Apple Macbooks / iPhones / iPad or continued their use throughout the regular ethical issues arising. I go to a few industry conferences and they’re often more like a Halloween orchard with the amount of glowing Apple logos on show.

Let’s be honest Apple products look damn good, mostly do the job you’d expect and you can’t argue with the almost religion-like power of the brand they’ve created under the stewardship of the recently departed Steve Jobs. For full disclosure I was once an Apple fan, during my days producing copious amounts writing, media materials and marketing documents at Everton FC, before I knew better about the details of the business operation and products themselves.  I adored their fanatical ethos about providing the most simple, usable interface which is pure beauty at times, especially compared to Windows Vista and earlier incarnations. I had the usual file format sharing problems but that was nearly ten years ago and much has changed.

I am beginning to sense the sustainability sharks circling. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by davidcoethica

February 22, 2012 at 1:59 am

Coethica Social Media Test Drive

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Hi Everybody.

It’s taken a while to get here but the world has finally been introduced to the new Coethica website. We had a handful of technical problems and distractions that saw the previous site slimmed down to 2 ancient pages for far too long.

We took the decision to go live relatively early and encourage the strongest possible dialogue with all the audiences we’re aiming to engage with to constantly improve the site over the next 12 months. There are also some other improvements / pages / whole new sections / concepts to be added to the site to take it where we think it should be but allowing ourselves good time to evolve both our social media estate and our business model simultaneously.

This also means very soon I get to begin to revamp of this space, my very own wonderful blog, which at times had become a surrogate home for Coethica during the extended periods of technical disillusionment.

All suggestions for ‘myblog2.0′ welcome!

 

Please take a couple of minutes to test drive www.coethica.com, have a good look around, share the link, and send as much feedback as you can, either as a comment on here or via the contact page on the new site.

What could Coethica have done better?

 

Coethica has also added two new channels over at Google+ and Twitter. I think Google+ is going to be fun; it still needs work but I’ve seen it gain momentum from day one and it feels like it’s accelerating. G+ is a great channel, almost like an extended Twitter but better looking and with more functionality. I can see G+ quickly catching Twitter as the centre of the sustainability/CSR communication online universe – according to @FabianPattberg’s recent poll anyway.

The new Twitter account allows me, for my own sanity, to differentiate between me and the business, for Coethica to sell more, and to explore my tweet landscape a little, playing more in areas such as social innovation, technology and sport.

Click on the icons below to find the new profiles.

 

 

3BL Media Steps It Up A Gear

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Today 3BL Media proudly announced the acquisition of Justmeans.

I’m glad the news is out as I’m no good at keeping secrets!

3BL’s CEO, Greg Schneider, has a powerful entrepreneurial drive to make a commercially successful company in the niche area that CSR is, and hopefully beginning climbing away from into bigger ponds. This to me demonstrates a step change in the maturity of CSR communications specifically in the social media channels, i.e. the first substantial consolidation within a profileration of smaller news / opinion sources and portals.

I was a fan of Justmeans when it launched, and even short time CSR Editor (for a whole month) so it’s personally fulfilling for me to be so involved with the integration and future development of both organisations. The combined strengths and the additional opportunities that this deal creates will be keeping us all busy at 3BL for many months, if not years to come.

Without doubt this move consolidates the clear water lead between 3BL Media and all the other players in the CSR content distribution field. The challenging debate internally is how 3BL strategises the exploitation of the newly gained additional assets into new complimentary and profitable channels. Watch this space!

In addition to the technical assets and new client base Justmeans CEO Martin Smith joins 3BL as Chairman reinforcing the depth of the strategic management team.

The announcement of the deal has already generated a strong positive response from the online and client communities with audiences of both companies very being supportive, if maybe initially a little surprised.

My first task is to take over the reins of Justmeans’ Ethical Sourcing and Certification conference in London on September 16th. Please take a look at the microsite and get signed up for the first public event from the 3BL / Justmeans combined team.

Here’s a link to this mornings press release if you’d like more of the details.

I would be really interested in your opinions of what this market needs and how 3BL Media combined with Justmeans can service those needs?

Written by davidcoethica

July 15, 2011 at 1:22 am

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