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- Publié sur Amazon.com
We live in a free market. If a corporation wants to stay competitive, it needs to move its operations to a place where costs, taxes, and regulations are negligible. As long as consumers keep buying a company's goods, it can operate any way it wants.
That is so 1990s.
Businesses no longer operate as islands, according to the authors of Good for Business: The Rise of the Conscious Corporation. In an Internet-savvy, skeptical, and tumultuous 21st century, societal goodwill becomes more than a luxury. It becomes a business imperative. "Those corporations (who) have taken the humanization of business into their brand DNA...will have the greatest influence with policymakers (of the future) and the best chance of engaging talent, consumers, and investors alike," say the authors (p. 185).
Many things have changed for corporations during the past decade. Public scrutiny has become a norm, thanks to open Internet channels. To stay competitive in today's busy, hypercompetitive markets, companies need to refine their brand images. In an age where a reputation can burn in seconds, soft assets like trust and emotional connection are more important than ever. Tomorrow's leaders (today's millennial generation) require a different kind of workplace than their forebears.
How do you stay successful in a changed environment?
Good for Business covers how these changes came about, what they mean, and what to do about them in a three-part book. The first part offers an overview of how the role of the corporation has changed in today's (post-crisis, millennial) era. It illustrates how consumers have become more aware of who they're buying from, more networked into opinion groups, and more powerful overall. It explains what that all means for corporate brands. It also introduces the four cornerstones of tomorrow's successful, conscious corporation: A purpose beyond profit, a people-centered culture, a sustainable approach to business, and respect for consumers' power.
The second part of the book describes why corporate brands have become so important, and how companies can empower effective brand messengers. It also covers what it means to be a leader in tomorrow's successful corporation (Leader of Tomorrow). In addition, it explains how to create a culture that engages millennials (the Talent of Tomorrow).
The third part of the book talks about building a useful statement of direction for your conscious corporation, then embedding and sustaining it within your company. This chapter is almost like a workbook, detailing exactly what you need to do and why.
The book concludes with examples of corporations that have good consumer perception of their brand and company. The appendix offers a couple of global marketing study results on the way people consume products and perceive companies.
Examples and context strengthen the book
One of Good for Business's biggest strengths is the way it puts the current business
era into context. You close the book understanding not only that things have changed, but why they have changed. By offering easy-to-understand background information on its claims, the book facilitates a deeper understanding of today's business conditions.
Thanks to case studies, survey and research results, and informal examples, the book also makes those business conditions feel familiar. The authors integrate such supporting material throughout the book. Examples cover medium-to-large companies, including Zappos, Whole Foods, Google, and Tesco. Some examples are rather superficial--nobody's going beneath the surface here, especially when it comes to employee sentiment about companies--but they work within the context of the book.
Good for Business covers good topics, but its mission seems unclear
Chapter-by-chapter, Good for Business is full of useful information and tips. The authors (four of them) know what they're talking about. They offer good examples, solid points, and a clear overview of how to get from yesterday's corporate standard to tomorrow's conscious corporation. But beyond that, the purpose of the book baffles me.
I finished the book feeling like I had a good general background on what it meant to run a "conscious" business, but many questions remained in my mind. Perhaps the book tackles too many potentially deep topics. For example, one chapter on millennials will hardly suffice for a company serious about managing them right. It read as though written by someone analyzing Gen-Y from the outside--hardly satisfying.
On the other hand, Part III, on building a statement of purpose, was an incredibly clear, useful how-to. You could read the chapters in that section and come out with your own strong statement of purpose. The chapters on corporate brand also facilitated a crystal-clear understanding. But other chapters don't offer you that kind of walk-through. Instead, you get background and/or general guidelines.
Overall, the topics are good, but I can't tell if the book is supposed to be a reference, description of what a conscious corporation is and how it works, or a how-to for building your own conscious corporation. Summations of the key points at the end of each chapter would have done a lot for this patchwork book.
The most memorable part of Good for Business was that it increased intimacy with what modern business conditions are, how they came about, and how they work. I wasn't clear, however, on how to do everything I needed to do to get my company from Point A to Point B (except with regards to writing a statement of purpose). Was I supposed to know that, or was that not the book's intention? Either way, I was left wanting more.
Overall, I do recommend this book in certain circumstances. If you want a general overview with how the business environment has changed from a brand and marketing perspective, read this book. If you are unfamiliar with why business is different today, read this book. But if you want a complete reference or a how-to, look elsewhere.
(Book review by Drea Knufken as posted on [...])
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- Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
Below is the written review I also provided on my blog, Web Strategy, which I've also copied here into Amazon
I'm attending Steve Forbes's CMO event in Florida with Charlene Li, and part of the recommended reading for all attendees is the book Good for Business, which came nicely packaged to my desk. Not one to defy Steve Forbes, and certainly wanting to be a good student, I've consumed the book on my flight, and share my notes openly, here's what I found:
The Thesis: The Corporation of the Future Should Inspire Trust
Selling products to make a profit is no longer sufficient. Companies must also appease the human nature of their customers as they are now demanding sustainability, open conversation, helping the community, transparency, and an ethos and mission they can relate to. The book asks four fundamental questions, they are: 1) Do customers care about what the brand stands for beyond just the immediate use of the product? 2) Do customers talk to each other about these higher goals 3) What should companies do to assure their brand is more than a collection of boxes or software code? 4) Does it impact the bottom line? If so, how much?
Unlike Other "Do-Good" Books, There's Useful Data
Good for Business is a touchy-feely book which ultimately concludes that companies need have loftier goals than just profit such as donating to charities, volunteer work, and brands that make you feel warm and fuzzy. At first, I groaned when reading the start of the book, having been victim of "do good" speeches when I was in corporate -it always felt like an empty shell. Yet the book started to win me over when the four authors presented meaningful stats and graphs about the growing fickle customer, their desire for brands to be more than just profit machines. Using data they made an argument that companies showing their human appeal a worth while investment.
Chock Full Of Case Studies -With Measurable Business Impact
I'm not sold that the earthy huggy `humanized brand' is right for every company, some cultures simply won't be able to adapt and some customers just want their immediate needs solved. The book also gives dozens of case studies of companies that have an ethos of more than just profit such as: Jones Soda empowers customers by letting consumers pick labels, Ernst and Young connects with their millennial employees talk back by launching an internal community called "Feedback Zone". The Container Store is one of the top places to work as they allow employees to have flexible hours, How UK's Innoccent drinks values it's employees more than sales and profits and dozens of other examples.
Jeremiah's Review: Good For Business
The Good: A Convincing Argument
The book Good for Business sets the stage that the world has changed and companies need to change too. It also gives some juicy data points and dozens of anecdotes of companies that have made the leap. It's well-written, and can be consumed in a few hours.
The Bad: Leaves More Questions Than Answers
The book falls short in a two ways. While stories are entertaining for a long flight I find myself asking more questions that were unanswered, like: 1) What were the challenges these companies went through during this metamorphosis? What was the common barrier 2) Although there's a loose framework towards the end of the book, how do I get started? How do I do this? Although a nitpick, while the cover art is catchy, yet the smiley faced button is reminiscent of Walmart (was that intentional?) or the comic book movie The Watchman, which has no relation to this topic.
The Verdict: Addresses Right Questions, But Doesn't Tell You How
Good for Business asks the right questions, get you thinking, but seems it's missing a few chapters. The thesis convinces you that changes need to be made, but feels empty, as it never tells you how to do it. I recommend you put Good For Business on your reading list, but read the more important books that give a pragmatic approach. To summarize, I give this book a grade of a "B" or "Four out of Five Stars".
That's just my take, so I'd love to hear your thoughts on this book, or similar titles.