Changing the world with branding

Ever since different social media channels appeared they started developing and growing at a very high pace. People indulged in internet communication, sharing mood statuses, pictures, significant dates of their life and much more. Not long after, businesses followed: updates on new products, interactive games, internet tolls, you name it. In a present situation if business wants to keep up with consumers and wants the real feedback, presence on social media channels is not even in question.  Instead, companies should critically evaluate what they do in SM and how.  With the capability to outreach to the entire world in just one click – should the companies continue to view branding the way they did before? Absolutely not.

As Simon Mainwaring mentions in his book  “We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Build a Better World” , social media allowed brands and consumers to communicate like never before, and this communication is ought to bring the positive change into the world. After working in the branding field for companies like Nike, Toyota and Motorola ,Mainwaring strongly encourages companies to start shifting their structure from so-called “I First” perspective to “We First”, the change being evident- changing from a strictly self-interested branding (and, in general, way of living) to the behavior aimed at the universal well-being of the world population.

I couldn’t agree more. The statements above do not mean that companies need to become non-profit, but they do need to start implementing concepts of synergy. A perfect example of ‘We First’ brand is Lush Ltd. The company’s values are very well-defined (using only ethically sourced ingredients, fighting animal testing and reducing landfill etc.). Moreover, these values are not just simple words; they are supported by company’s actions. For instance, with the help and support of Lush, Humane Society International has been able to phase out mandatory animal testing of cosmetic products in China. It is a win-win situation: Lush strengthens their brand image, China stops animal testing.

Another example of a strong ‘We First’ brand is actually not even a company, but a person. Natalia Vodyanova, a top-model, is very famous not only for her work in the fashion industry, but also for her Naked Heart foundation’s extensive support for children, orphans, and people with physical or mental disabilities. Moreover, using her own personal brand, she has been able to involve big fashion houses (like Guerlain) in helping children.

Social media makes it incredibly easy to spread the message all across the globe, so it is only essential that we use it for the right causes.



Warring, S., 2011. We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Build a Better World. 1st ed. United States: Palgrave Macmillan.


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6 Responses to Changing the world with branding

  1. loch1912 says:

    Social media can really change everything. Nowadays, everyone can become a star just by using SM the right way. The habit of keeping update every news helped the brand to be more and more popular. About the “We First”, it is always a brilliant idea to do activities which are beside the main work. Usually, charities are the best way to earn a positive feedback from consumers. And the brand knows that key can make themselves going forward. Win-win situation.

  2. cayuelajimenezalexandre says:

    Hi Anastasia,

    As the three previous posts I read about, yours is also very interesting and change from the other one, yours take another view of the social media possibilities even if the concept of Crowdsourcing presented by another student have some similarities.

    The “we first” theory will be implanted concretely if the company could really take a value of it and achieve to through it to the consumers because as you already know you have the company identity which is basically what the company is (their values) and you have the company image what is perceived by the consumers. For example let’s take the clothes industry, when we buy a tee-shirt from H&M do we really care about if the manufacturing process to product it pollute the water and how to avoid it? Or will we care more about the price? Another one, what about the oil, if for example X is using more respectful machinery to extract the oil, do you really think that will change something for X? Most of people don’t think about it, they are going randomly somewhere when the car need oil. If tomorrow an oil company are using good process and enhance their image, do you think people will search to go there even if they have to do 10 more kilometers? Depend of your values, if they are ecological responsible they can, but most of the people not. Could be for many reasons as they are not informed about it, they are not ecological, they don’t want to waste time or 10 kilometers and so on…

    I agree that the social media can contribute to build a better world built between the companies and the consumers, but we are in the society dictated by the capitalism where we search to have the lower cost possible (Manufacture exported in Asia where the labor is cheap, worker are flexible and available all the time…) in order to earn huge income. However some companies are already proposing some concept who benefit at the both part and take care of their environment as for example where you can find someone who is doing the same road as you and avoid to take two cares and pollute more and everybody is happy because the price is lower and we can exchange during the travel, it’s friendlier.

    By the way, I don’t know exactly for the cosmetics (I think for this case is justified) but experiments in animals are necessary to progress in the research, indeed most of the time is not possible to apply directly the recent discoveries to humans, they have before to be tested to some animals (usually the rat). They will conduct some research in order to be approved by the national / international instances, when it’s done, they can bring it for human consumption.

    I hope we will achieve one day this double-interest but as you said in your post, those values haven’t to be just simple words but have to be supported by company’s actions. Individuals also can influence companies change, will you be the next one?

    • Thank you for your response! Your arguments are very interesting, and I’m sure a lot of people would agree with you. At the same time, you mentioned that we live in a society that is dictated by the capitalism, that might be correct for the situation at the moment, but that is exactly what the “We First” theory is about- shifting the emphasis from personal benefit towards common wellbeing. The capitalism itself is a very selfish and dangerous notion, and I personally don’t think it will lead the humanity into a good future. It also amazes me when people argue that “we cannot change anything, society just works that way”. But WE are the society, humanity made up the society rules, noone made us live the way we do, so if anyone on this planet is capable of changing anything- it is us.
      And as for the animal testing- I beg to differ, I do not consider animal abuse neccessary in any form. Animal testing is neccessary for mass production of potentially dangerous things, but if companies resorted to using safe materials, testing wouldn’t have been necccessary. But once again- potentially dangerous materials are cheaper to produce with, therefire we are back to capitalist way of thinking. So you see, I think changing from “I First: to “We First” is so so neccessary.

      • cayuelajimenezalexandre says:

        Thank you Anastasia for your answer at my comment, it’s nice of you. I agree that we are the society and we can change the things but most of the time he has to be done with violence and blood, just have a look in the recent confrontation in Ukraine to understand it. Anyway, I don’t want to argue too much here about it because could be strong opinions and I prefer to keep mine far from the internet space but with pleasure we can take one day a coffee and speak about it because it’s very interesting subject that deserve to be handled.

        Regarding to animal test and the “safe materials”, what is for you safe materials? If you are using a new product ( so we don’t know if it’s a safe material) which involve maybe different chemistry process for enhance human being, will you take the risk to test it directly to your skin or in your body? And it’s not always to “for mass production of potentially dangerous things” but it could be to help to attend a disease, disease that animals could also have. (the reason why we use on them beforehand). However, I understand what you mean and I agree that he has to be done with respect of the animals and without suffering if possible and he has not to be abusive and used for a good perspective.

  3. Lilly says:

    Hey Anastasia, thank you very much for your interesting blog post. I really enjoyed reading it because I like the way how brands influence companies in a positive way. Although I already knew about some firms which contribute a lot to society, I was not aware of the marketing term “we-first-brand”. It perfectly describes that we should care about ourselves rather than only about us as individuals. Your post is in close connection to Sophie’s one about The Body Shop, which is an organic cosmetics firm owned by L’Oreal and a we-first-brand, too. In my opinion, it represents love of animals and environment in general as well as is involved in campaigns supporting a vegetarian lifestlye.

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