Monday, June 2, 2008

People power

Making the world a better place one person at a time feels like simple commonsense to me. It is a lesson I learnt from my early days in business. When I was selling stuff, we figured fast that if we could get one box of product into a store, we had the fantastic opportunity to create a partnership for life. It is the same with our current environmental, cultural and social challenges. If one person shifts their attitude, you can count on that shift rippling through their family and friends. From there, it is a short viral hop to workplaces, local communities and out into the wider region. What we have to have is that first bunch of inspirers who take the message to heart, set it alight and share it with the world.

This philosophy is why I am increasingly concerned by how apathetic and hopeless many people feel about the challenges we face. They feel apathetic because they don’t feel they have any control – and this in an era where markets and marketing are being transformed by the shift in control from manufacturers and retailers to the people who buy and use products. Now, while I’m glad Al Gore got the world to sit up and take notice of the threat of climate change, I believe it’s time to move on and focus on what we can each do as individuals. Knowing about a problem is an important first step, but knowing and then simply feeling bad about it, makes no difference at all.

If you think this one-person-at-a-time approach is too low-key, take heart from work Saatchi & Saatchi S did just before they joined us. Working with people from Wal-Mart, they developed what they called PSP (Personal Sustainability Projects). Some of these projects were as small as walking to work. Others involved community clean-ups. All represented a shift in attitude toward sustainability and people power. I’ll post more on this remarkable program as it begins to take hold in Saatchi & Saatchi, but let’s remember that even when doom and gloom surrounds you, one step can be the beginning of a journey towards rejuvenation and change.

Dream as if you'll live forever; live as if you'll die today.


Josephine said...

(What we have to have is that first bunch of inspirers who take the message to heart, set it alight and share it with the world.)

I still have the copy of lovemarks that kevin sent me last year, I also have the envelope that it arrived in, and every so often I find myself staring at the envelope and sighing dreamily as I read the words saatchi and saatchi new york.

The lovemark message has stuck with me and I liked it so much that I passed the message on to friends, family and colleagues especially those who worked for or ran businesses.

A year later and after a break due to burn out I am once again trail

the lovemark message

as i begin work on a business plan for a community not for profit cafe. My hope, that all those local authority bosses and

decision makers who I'll come across will be insipired enough to help with the fundraising process as we try to create in the words of Ray Oldenburg our first local Great Good Place for families and golden oldies. Bye Bye social isolation, depression and despair and hello community, warmth and lovemarks.

Hope you're doing well Mr KR been a long time.

Josephine Fay

Anonymous said...

No one feel apathetic or hopeless about the challenges facing.
People think in term of priorities in life.
How can a homeless or a poor can be sensitive to the environment or global concerns if he faces every day hunger and survival troubles?
How can unemployments or employees working hard for a small salary can be inspired for environmental and social issues?
It is clear that rich people are more willing to donate money to the Philanthropic causes, but anyone can do it in comfortable circumstances.
And it is clear that people with great value still exist if only we take time to be better listeners.

Paris, France

Kevin Roberts said...

Josephine, you’re on to it – inspiration at the community level has the power to turn a dream into reality. Keep up the good work, KR.