With challenges like these facing us and our children, we need some big answers, and now. Fortunately, new heroes are emerging.
Welcome to the era of the Hero Brand™.
Hero Brands help solve problems mere mortals cannot and we love them for it.
They have missions beyond simply making money. They look for ways to make the world a better place, just like good brands should.
They enjoy loyalty from their supporters* (whether employee or customer) and are more resilient to financial downturns**.
They are many of the most successful brands of today and the brands that will own tomorrow.
This guide explores what makes a Hero Brand and gives you some steps toward becoming one.
So pull up your undies, strap on your cape and let's go up, up and away.
A hero is someone who solves the problems that are too big for the rest of us.
In the movies this means saving the world from being destroyed by the latest death ray, then finding out the girl you love is your twin sister.
In real life it's bigger than that. It means championing fairness, fighting injustice and saving the world from being destroyed by climate change, forest destruction, poverty, famine and the like.
Whether real life or imagined, heroes have certain attributes that simply cannot be ignored.
They are uncompromising, fighting for their cause like it was a matter of life or death (which it sometimes is).
They are steely-jawed in the face of adversity, never backing down to even the biggest bully enemies.
They are easy to recognise, with a signature logo, outfit and, often, catchcry.
They are public in their actions, never hiding from doing what is right.
They do it for the cause but get a lot back in return, appearing on the front page of every paper in town (normally as it spins into frame) and enjoying the adulation of the masses.
In short, they do good and the world is good to them in return. Being a hero is a great place to be.
Just as a hero is a person who thinks beyond their own personal gain to the benefit of all, a Hero Brand is a company not just here for financial gain, but to make the world a better place. After all, if a person can improve the world and become iconic for their efforts, why can't a brand?
You just need to know how.
Deforestation, damming of untouched wilderness, social practices, landfill, pollution, toxic chemicals. These are issues more likely found on the website of an NGO than a multinational company.
Yet they are also right at home in Patagonia's approach to
The social and environmental impacts of their supply chain are tackled by what they call the Footprint Chronicles.
Their Common Threads initiative does a deal with their customers to work together to reduce the impact of what they create and how it is used.
Their advertising talks about the problems they hope to impact and challenges us to act in ways that help solve them. Online, Patagonia has done a deal with eBay to make it easier to buy and sell second hand Patagonia stuff.
In store, Patagonia offer to take back and recycle anything that's had its day.
For the 2012 US election they encourage people to learn about their representative's environmental record and vote accordingly. And when it comes to making a profit, they give 1%. For the Planet, an initiative which they co-founded back in 1985.
The brand defines its actions based on values and its actions define the brand. People who believe in what they have to say (which, let's face it, is most people who love the great outdoors) buy from them.
That's what being a Hero Brand is all about.
We've been in business long enough to know that when we can reduce or eliminate a harm, other businesses will be eager to follow suit.
Businessmen who focus on profits wind up in the hole. For me, profit is what happens when you do everything else right.
Yvon Chouinard, Founder*
* Plenty more where this came from in his book
** Or make more time for mountain
|The Common Threads video is inspiring and inspired.|
In this chapter we've defined what a hero is and talked about several kinds of hero personalities in history that have brought about change. We stated that the hero notion is also applicable to the business world.
According to you, can businesses be heroes? Or will they never be able to make the world a better place?