Monthly Archives: November 2008

carbon consumerism

Innovation is born of necessity.  And strangely the carbon cap and trade system just might fit into that category.  History has proven that we need crisis to catalyze change.  And then it requires everyone, and I mean everyone, to understand and participate in the solution.  So while the cap and trade system is targeted at businesses, consumers will play a huge reinforcement role.  Enter ideas like the Carbon Quotient Project.  The CQ is an extension of similar concepts launched in Thailand and Japan that essentially strive to create a standard unit for product labels.  Much like the nutritional fact labels that adhere to all packaged food products, the CQ could give us GHG’s emitted, reduced or otherwise advise on a stand unit of measure for the carbon footprint of each product.  We, the consumer, then have the ability to offset our bag of potato chips or bottle of beer by riding our bike to work or simply not purchasing.  There are actually a million different behaviors that this could launch but the bottom line is that we would start to become educated relative to a standard unit (so the theory goes), hold businesses accountable and gradually start to bring about global responsibility and accountability for how businesses are impacting the deteriorating environment around us.   It has been said before but change is incremental.


and the need for sustainable capitalism.  what Al and David said.   amen.

innovation gone awry

At first I loved this idea:  a clock-radio that racks up the cash contribution to charity every time you hit the snooze alarm!  How clever I thought.  This takes real innovation in terms of examing our every day behaviors for the purpose of mining it for something good. But then I read, and actually re-read, the copy.  You’re supposed to set it to the charity that you hate so that the double-negative of “wasting” your money while wasting away your productive hours angers you into getting up…..huh?  Why all the negativity?  Is that a way to start the day?  Why not set it to your favorite charity and enjoy the fact that those needed extra minutes of sleep are not only helping your body recover but helping someone else too?

lessons for brands of change

Marketers have been watching the emergence of the Obama brand since nearly its inception. At that time, I don’t think anyone even dreamed of the impact this carefully crafted icon would create.  Quite literally, this brand power got us to this, our 44th President-elect.

While not every brand driving messages of social change will have the benefit of rising to such fame in two years compliments of $65 million in funding and daily prime news coverage, Obama’s campaign does clearly exemplify the fundamentals of building a strong brand.

1. Be different – stand out, stand for what you believe in.

2. Be authentic – never waiver from your purpose.

3. Be optimistic – people want to love something that makes them feel good.

4. Be consistent – and do it with passion.

5. Be individualistic – speak to your consumers 1:1.  Every relationship matters.

For more on Obama’s Lessons for Marketing from Henry Lambert on


OK, its the “day after”.  And the meaning of yesterday’s elections have been and will continue to be reflected upon over and over.  However as we think about social change in the world.  Its important to consider how that change will happen and the role of leadership.

Its been quite some time since we’ve seen examples of real leadership.  Mostly we’ve seen ‘the guys at the top’ looking for post-fraud scapegoats or excusing themselves out of straight-up bad or arrogant decision-making.    These were never individuals fighting for change, they were looking for power and/or money.  However, in the post-election glow that most of us are feeling, we are finding profound hope in a single individual who demonstrates the true qualities of a leader.   Integrity.  Character. Humility.  Calm assurance.  The ability to listen and respond with sound, articulate reasoning.  Stamina.  Focus.  A champion for his followers.  A passion for truth.  This is where change starts and this is why change becomes inevitable when true leadership exists.

With leadership, not only do we expect follow-through but we expect excellence.  Leaders build excellence, they don’t command it.   Barack Obama comes to us with cross-cultural beginnings and a foundation in community building.  He knows that change is not possible without the commitment of every individual he leads, which means he knows how to communicate and engage.   These are qualities we can all learn from in our own efforts to impact change.    Real leadership requires discipline and an unprecedented commitment to see things through.

We can all be inspired by the story of Barack Obama and the impact he will have on our lives – from what is personally possible to the real impact he will have on the change we all believe is necessary.