Socializing Capital

A boost of resources and talent is beginning to flow towards brands with social consciousness at the core of their identities. New Resource Bank, backed by Al Gore’s investment firm, is lending solely to ventures with social missions, looking for returns that are social and environmental in addition to financial. Meanwhile, the founder of Avaaz, the global online organizing powerhouse, has created Purpose, ushering in a wave of marketing potential for companies looking to mobilize consumer movements. Some entrepreneurs are even trying to reinvent the economy altogether. David Brancaccio recently reported on a “time-banking” initiative that has sprung up in Portland, ME, where people are swapping skills denominated not by the dollar, but by the hour. This is likely an extreme frontier, but integrating social consciousness into one’s business model may promise more sustainable success. After all, as Jack Welch recently reminded WSJ readers, “Corporations are people working together toward a shared goal, just as hospitals, schools, farms, restaurants, ballparks and museums are.” If that’s the case, why not reflect that humanity in brands and businesses?

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