WE First published in 2011, by Simon Mainwaring
Simon Mainwaring is the founder of WE First, a brand consulting firm that helps companies use social media to build communities, profits, and positive impact. He is an influential blogger, and a social media expert.
WE First shows us how brands can leverage social media to build consumer goodwill, loyalty, and profit, as well as how consumers can use their new social-networking power to drive sustainable change in the business world. Simon Mainwaring presents truly compelling vision of how to transform that power to the benefit of society and the good of capitalism. He chose the title “WE First” as a desperately needed counterpoint to “ME First” mentality that informs much of the capitalist self-interested behavior that led to where we are today. He uses case studies and offers a compelling plan for prosperity and renewal that speaks to marketers and consumers alike [Pepsi, Walmart, Starbucks, Toyota, Nike, Patagonia].
“WE First” is inclusive of Me First: Serving everyone’s interests and also serves our own. Me serves only self. WE serves all and uses capitalism as the driver of prosperity for the greater good. WE First is neither anti-capitalist nor anti-wealth. It is pro-prosperity.
Today’s corporate self-interest is tomorrow’s oil spill, groundwater contamination, food shortage, shuttered factory, unemployment lines, or even international conflict. Today’s profits are tomorrow’s corporate collapse, market bubble, or global recession. Rather than short term profits, corporations must seek to create enduring value and prosperity.
Consumers are equally guilty of enabling a selfish Me First mentality. WE, too, must accept a higher level of responsibility for creating the world we want by caring about the products we buy and reducing how WE consume. Overspending relative to income, 1982 to 2007 household debt went up from 60 to 130 percent of income; 2010 average household credit card debt was $16,007; today consumers own average 13 credit obligations including: credit cards, store charge cards, gas cards, bank cards, as well as car loans, mortgage loans and student loans.
Above all, WE First capitalism seeks to put corporations, consumers, and government together as partners and collaborators working toward a realistic goal of improving life for as many individuals on the planet as possible.
Why is changing capitalism more possible today? What makes this time more realistic and actionable? And why should corporations and consumers care? The answer is social media. Just as the Industrial Revolution transformed manufacturing and the digital revolution transformed communications, the social media revolution is transforming the way business is conducted. It is doing this by giving consumers new platforms to influence the purpose of capitalism through their conversations and the strength of their purchasing power. Just as the Internet democratized information, social media is democratizing the market, providing people with new leverage to push back against corporations that misuse their resources, expertise, and mission only to create profits for themselves without regard for the world.
WE First, painted a crystal clear picture of the challenges and problems WE face, the health of our world and the people that live in it, WE and US! He acknowledged and made me realize that the simple everyday questions I and many others have about fairness in the workplace (poor working conditions, overworked, cheap labor, enormous salaries and bonuses exploited by CEO’s, corporations not caring about workers, corporations not having to pay for the consequences of bad business practices…) are all legitimate issues and problems of sustainability that affect us all.
I am moved, deeply inspired, and changed forever after reading WE First. In his writing, Simon Mainwaring was inspired by Bill Gates, as was I. I’d like to leave with his thoughts in the hope that you will be moved and inspired, too.
“I’d like to ask everyone here- whether you’re a businessman, government or the nonprofit world - to take on a project of creative capitalism in the coming year. It doesn’t have to be a new project; you could take an existing project, and see where you might stretch the reach of market forces to help push things forward. When you award foreign aid, when you make charitable gifts, when you try to change the world, can you also find ways to put the power of market forces behind the effort to help the poor?” by: Bill Gates, January 2008
WE only have one world with billions of people in it, US. WE depend on it for survival. It’s in trouble. It needs US. WE can help. If this is not the world you want and you want to be inspired I highly recommend that you read the book and help US make a difference.
By: Ruby Lee