Thursday, October 06, 2011

We the People, not We the Corporations

"Doug Millison: I am the 99 percent" photo by Doug Millison

We the People, not We the Corporations. Liberation aside, what's it mean for all of us who have to work for them, craft their messages, sell their stuff?

The #OccupyWallStreet movement signals a sea change in the attitude towards corporations, the investment community that sustains them, and the relevant regulatory and governmental infrastructure.

Even if this protest wave should fail to create significant structural change, the growing perception that corporations lie at the root of current woes, means new challenges for companies, employees, and the brands that for consumers represent the daily face of so many corporations.

I've been spending a lot of time in recent months closely watching brands on the Web and in social media. Some few years ago, I co-authored a book called Firebrands: Building Brand Loyalty in the Internet Age. What does #OccupyWallStreet mean for corporate strategies and business tactics that rely on public confidence and trust in their brands?

Expect a nauseating wave of brand messages designed to reinforce the notion that corporations and their products, services, and CEOs have our best interests at heart. Some reactionary companies will instead target the anti-OccupyWallStreet crowd and seek to reassure them that their brands will rescue them from worrying social turbulence.

The companies that back up their claims with concrete steps that help them regain public confidence, will best withstand the coming years of blame and litigation that seem certain to follow the past decade's excesses.

Personally, socially, #OccupyWallStreet feels liberating. I don't know for sure what expectations might in fact be unrealistic. I'm ready for #OccupySanFrancisco. 

Yet I know that stronger protest waves have been channeled into the two-party system in the past. Whether that happens or not, it seems clear to me that this activist wave is here to stay…and their anti-corporate messages. 

I expect that the younger folk among us, just now coming of age, will find ways to use technology to help corporations change their ways, so they can serve society instead of raping the Earth and its inhabitants, human and nonhuman. That's my hope.

1 comment:

ctguy said...

Perhaps there is a need for a different model. I would personally like to work for an employee owned firm that practiced real democracy.