Co-Creating Communities, Brands and Impact – Social Leader Executive Insights


Today, all organizations struggle with employee engagement, customer loyalty and brand trust. The future of profit now centers around purpose and success.

It’s about becoming a “mission with a business rather than a business with a mission.”

Culture and story are now the foundation for building relationships and today brands have new opportunities, through social, to lead conversations around things that matter.

With social business platforms, and a culture that embraces open engagement, organizations can shift from “mefirst” mindset to a much more powerful “wefirst” mindset. It’s about putting “people at the center.”

At the WeFirst Leadership Summit, Coke, Unilever, IBM, Patagonia, TakePart, Toms Shoes, the UN Foundation and others shared insights into they are transcending business to transform culture to make an impact to the world, and the bottom line.

It’s a ‘wefirst’ rather than ‘mefirst’ mindset, putting people at the center.

At the Summit, I had the great honor of doing video interviews with 11 senior leaders from Patagonia, UN Foundation, Unilever, Toms Shoes, Facebook, First United Bank, Nutiva and more, to capture deeper insights and perspectives from their point of view and from their organization’s experience.

In each of the short video clips, you will see and hear learnings from other organizations that you can take and apply with your workforce, stakeholders, partners, customers and community.

I hope you find these interviews as insightful and valuable as I did. I am really excited to be able to share these with you here. I also want to extend my gratitude to each of the guests for their time, openness and thoughtful insights. In particular, interviewing Rick Ridgeway was like a Bucket List experience for me.


Leadership Video Interviews

Increasing business impact with Facebook communities
Andy McKeon, Global Customer Marketing Lead at Facebook, shares perspectives on social business, around creating the most relevant content for communities and individuals including: storytelling; the shift to mobile; mobile video; removing “”social”” and “”digital”” from marketing; the importance of using digital to inform your creative from the start; connecting with people with relevancy; and the importance of focusing on business outcomes rather than social metrics.

Rethinking how businesses engage with their workforce, their partners and their clients
Chris Crummey, WW Executive Director of Social Business for IBMshares recommendations for organizations on how to start on the social business journey, including: starting with a crisp strategy; the importance of engaging employees, reinventing business processes through social; driving collaboration through the wisdom of the crowds; as well as some of the key findings from the recent IBM Study on Social Business.

Co-creating with your community
Heather Wajer, VP of Marketing with the Livestrong Foundationshares insights on social business around collaborating and co-creating to scale innovation and develop new solutions with the community, and how they weave this into their organization to make a bigger impact on the lives of cancer with your community. 

Engaging in digital to drive industry leading growth in business
John Roulac, CEO and Founder of Nutivashares his insights on social business around how Nutiva has engaged their community to grow their business (Inc Magazine’s fastest growing company in America, six years in a row), including: soliciting the community’s input, how to amplify the dialog; the importance of workforce culture; sharing knowledge; and driving ecommerce on the web through social. 

Amplifying through the “we”
Liz Heller, Director of Business Development at TOMSshares takeaways from the Summit and insights from TOMS around the topic of social business, including: transforming internal and external collaboration through social platforms; scaling through collaboration – it’s about we; driving campaigns through social and leveraging social to listen to feedback; and the importance of creating a connection to the mission. 

Providing environmental protection through business
Rick Ridgeway, Vice President of Environmental Affairs at Patagoniashares insights on how businesses can lead environmental protection, including: being intentional about manufacturing processes; supporting environmental efforts; reframing the concept of ‘consumer’ and a business’s relationship with a community; building for the long-haul; and collaborative partnerships with customers. 

Bringing humanity back into business as a key differentiator
Scott Flowers, Chief Banking Officer with First United Bankshares perspectives on social business around connecting people to people, including: importance of employee engagement and values; sharing an organization’s unique story; engaging communities; growing business by doing what’s right; sharing customer stories; inviting communities into conversation to collaborate and co-create; the importance of an organization’s mission and sharing that with customers.

Putting people at the center of the conversation
At the WeFirst Summit, Aaron Sherinian, VP Communications & PR with the United Nations Foundationshares insights around social business and putting people at the center, including: how to connect businesses, important initiatives, and people; how brands can participate and make a bigger impact; key takeaways for brands on how to engage their community to co-create and collaborate; how to co-create together, learning from failures, and tapping the expertise in your community to tackle key issues they care about.


Using brands as forces for good
Marc Matthieu, Global SVP of Marketing at Unilevershares valuable insights on social business and the journey of engaging the workforce and the marketplace in new ways, including: inside the Unilever sustainable living plan; transforming brands as forces for good; engaging social communities to help people be part of the movement, the solution; the importance of leadership from the top and engaging the energy of the youth in the organization; and an inside view into how Unilever is changing how they do marketing with a shift to social; and finally, on the value of collective intelligence, enabled through collaboration platforms, to unlock new innovation.


Leading as a double bottom line company
Scott Roesch of Takepart (the digital division of Participant Media), shares valuable insights on how companies can do well while doing good, with takeaways on: being a double bottom line company (turning a profit while making a positive impact); shaping conversations on key topics that matter; ah ha moment on how IBM is enabling employees as ambassadors; being intelligent about aligning causes with an organization’s mission; reflections on IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative; the value of storytelling in social engagement; and increasing engagement and bringing a brand to wider conversations by talking about key issues that people are passionate about.

Reducing school drop out rates in the lowest performing schools
Malina Brown, Managing Director of Communications at City Year LAtalks about key lessons learned at the summit on topic of social business, including: the importance of storytelling; driving impact through digital engagement with minimal resources; keeping it simple to mobilize people; and the one word that describes the emotion you are trying to evoke.


Hope you found these helpful in better understanding how you can better engage your partners and your customers to create communities where you can co-create greater impact on things that matter.

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