Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Corporation

I read a book on the weekend called "The Corporation, the Pathelogical Pursuit of Profit and Power” by Joel Bakan. It seems a bit surprizing that I would read a book that is very anti-corporate but as I got into the book, saw that the primary view is that the corporations are not immoral, they are simple amoral. Any social responsibility that a corporation takes should be for the good of the shareholders is the thesis behind the book. “Executives who choose social and environmental goals over profits – who try to act morally – are in fact, immoral.”


As a marketer, I always look for any insights that I can get from books and although the book is certainly not about marketing, it does talk about the “nag factor.” The following is an excerpt:


Then, during the National Hockey League Stanley Cup play-offs, my son nagged me again, this time to buy him a 24-pack of Labatt Blue beer. He absolutely had to have the plastic Stanley Cup replica that came with the 24-pack, a promotion he had learned about from an advertisement run frequently during the games. Labatt must have known that the young children would be watching the Stanley Cup play-offs with their parents – it’s a national ritual in Canada – and also that most adults would not be enticed to abandon their preferred brand of beer to obtain a plastic Stanley Cup replica. Therefore, it seems reasonable to assume that part of the company’s aim was to get my son to get me to buy its beer – which it did.

In buying that beer (and being nagged to buy the Kia SUV) I was an unwitting victim of the Nag Factor, a brilliant new marketing strategy that takes manipulation of children to the extreme."


I have always been an idealist, not only for companies, but for people. The book does challenge my thoughts in this regard.

I still believe that being a responsible corporation is good for the corporation and the shareholders. The goodwill fostered in the supplier, customer and employee communities can pay dividends. When in doubt, I often give personally and let SYNNEX take the credit.


2 Comments:

At 12:40 PM, Blogger Joel Bakan said...

Hello -
I'm glad you enjoyed my book. My intention in writing it was to engage thoughtful business people, like yourself, not to alienate or villify. I have in fact been delighted at the response of business people - whose organizations I regularly address on the lecture circuit - and the business press, which has been highly respectful of both the book and the documentary film that is based upon it.
All the best,
joel

 
At 11:46 AM, Blogger Jim Estill said...

Thanks for comment!

 

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