Topics in Emerging Media and Communications

Brand It

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As referenced in my previous personal post regarding social good, I am trying to formulate a better understanding of how to connect people in a meaningful way to bring about change. Reading Habermas left me a bit disillusioned in my thinking because of his scorn for modern consumption and our reliance on external assistance.

I assumed that if you provided the infrastructure, a slick marketing campaign, and serious networking was the formula for success. But this formula is missing the dangling carrot. In a society that is overloaded by consumerism, people will not act unless there is some real benefit to them. Ie: people will much more likely buy a campaign (RED) t-shirt than send a check in the mail to Africa because they are getting something out of the bargain.

In fact, JoinRed gives a list of corporate sponsors, all providing products to consumers who want to do good and get something too.

(Note the Starbucks cup above designed by Jonathan Adler thrown in the mix)

Clearly having corporate sponsorship legitimizes your non-profit. It also helps promote brand awareness and adds that “coolness” factor. The most successful non-profit humanitarian organizations have presented themselves as a brand, which makes one ask the question of do the means justify the end result?

My conclusion for now is that if we believe Habermas’ assertion that modern society is driven by the life of leisure consumerism and it is impossible to connect with others, then I suppose we need to go after society’s desires. We have to dangle that corporate branded carrot in front of their noses.


Written by HiuHiMedia

January 26, 2011 at 5:53 pm

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