The belief system at Good for Business is that communication can be a force and source for good. It's a belief that began to take deep root when we developed an AIDS Awareness campaign in 1990. Through that experience, we realized the impact messaging can have on matters of life and death. The campaign elements included television, radio, billboards, transit, posters and press kits (this all happened pre-Internet, Twitter, Facebook and blogs like you are reading now). The heroes of the campaign included an attorney who stepped forward to tell his story to the community via two television PSA's (he soon thereafter died from the disease), prostitutes, drug addicts and teenagers urging other teenagers to use condoms (this campaign was the first in the U.S. to show a condom without a wrapper). Although the campaign was created for the community we lived and worked in, it eventually was distributed nationally. The overall impact raised the level of awareness of AIDS in ways that showed how it touches all walks of life. The direct impact to us at Good for Business was to begin to fully realize the power of a message, especially when that power is driven by a noble purpose.
Now, jump forward three decades. The landscape of communications has been altered almost beyond recognition thanks in large part to the internet and social media. What hasn't changed is the wide spectrum of messaging intent. On one end you will still find a majority of messages pushing unconscious materialism, unwarranted desires and needs and resulting in sense of ennui and profit-led reasons for being. On the other end you will find those messages that do whatever they can to speak to 'the better angels of our nature' by championing compassion, service, understanding and love. These messages aren't selling a thing. Instead, these messages make real connections to deeper meaning and purpose. And, when they are successful, the chance for the needles of social and environmental justice to move improves.
In between these two ends of the communication spectrum are businesses, organizations, movements and individuals who struggle with the tension to make a profit, get a grant or expand market share on one hand and a gnawing need to make a positive difference on the other. We believe that in the middle of the spectrum is the untapped ability for communication to be a source and force for good. It is our belief that the surest route to tapping this potential is through purpose. We believe our survival as a species depends upon the vast majority of human beings waking up in the morning with a sense of noble purpose. People will go to work realizing profit isn't the end game, but instead is a fuel for achieving something good and greater than themselves. People will go to school seeking out the kind of knowledge and understanding that clarifies their sense of purpose and bolsters their fortitude to move fearlessly forward. People will seek out relationships, collaborations, and partnerships based on how human connection is a key ingredient for making positive change and achieving purpose.
We at Good for Business are extremely excited about the prospects of purpose. We are dedicated to doing whatever we can in our world of communications to express the great power of purpose to cultures, customers, constituencies and communities. We know full well we won't be working with one end of the communication spectrum. We are thrilled whenever we can apply our talent and imagination at the other end of the spectrum. But, we are actually looking forward to the challenge and opportunity to work with the spectrum's center and to help make it strong so the center can, in fact, hold. Call us idealistic, but we envision the center alive and well because the tension between profit and purpose vanishes. We see the center flourishing while addressing climate change, economic justice, health care and disease, human rights and environmental justice. We see the center creating products from recycled, organic, nontoxic materials and these products answer a need, not a craving. We see the center empowering their employees with equal and just pay, concern and care. We see the center helping to make communities healthy and happy for everyone at this point in time and for generations to come.
Our role in all this? Our purpose of helping to create communications that are a source and force for good will intersect the center of the communication landscape. This purpose that emerged in a soul-stirring and eye-opening moment 1990 continues to guide our work today, 25 years later. It will serve as our true north moving forward. Whether we are helping create a purpose-led message platform through Message And Purpose (MAP) or helping to create communications with the purpose of informing, inspiring and igniting action to address the issues and opportunities of our time through Factivist™, we'll do what we can to make a difference.
To commemorate the passion and revelation of 1990, you'll also note we updated the Good for Business web site. It reflects our ongoing evolution.
We look forward to your comments, ideas, and insight regarding the subject of 'Can communications be a force for good?'.