(Originally published at The Conscientious Capitalist Blog)
Marketers flocking “…to whatever is popular until they ruin it,” isn’t new.
What is new is the generation of young entrepreneurs I see who want to make the world a better place while they still make money building great companies.
They get it.
Systemic racism, the ever-widening wealth gap, economic and social injustices and inequalities, poverty, hunger, education, climate change; these are existential. They are global challenges that must be addressed, and if being woke means being aware of them and accounting for them authentically, then count me in as awake and eager to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the truly purpose-driven marketers and corporate leaders.
If a company — and more to the point, the leaders — are authentic and genuine about their desire to make the world a better place, then the advice in Mark Schaefer’s article that inspired this blog, “Woke Washing: How purpose driven marketing is being hijacked,” offers what I think is a good way to examine whether your marketing strategy is authentic or not.
To me, leadership has always been about being authentic about who you are, what you truly value, and how go about actually doing something to make the world a better place. It’s about how a leader serves and whom they serve.
What leadership is not is inauthentically and opportunistically looking to attach oneself and one’s company to a purpose for short-term and self-serving ends. Let’s be real. Consumers are getting smarter, better connected, and more willing to call out inauthentic and disingenuous companies with each passing second.
That’s why I’m happy to see more and more woke corporate leaders and marketers, and I wish those who are doing it with authenticity and true purpose all the best.
Greg Russak is The Conscientious Capitalist. He provides sales and leadership consultant primarily to small and midsize B2B businesses who need to take the guesswork out of forecasting and growing sales.
He incorporates principles of servant leadership and conscientious capitalism so that salespeople become Trusted Advisers to their customers, and leaders create a corporate culture that attracts and retains ethical and committed team members.
Greg believes that how you make money matters, and that it’s not only possible to make money without doing harm or sacrificing your ethics, it’s the only way worth doing so.