Carrotmob.org, a movement of do-gooders who have genetically modified the consumer boycott with some Groupon DNA, has created consumer "buycotts." Companies are encouraged to change their practices not with a stick -- the threat of a boycott -- but with a carrot, the promise of new customers. This eliminates the boycott's extortionistic character and replaces it with positive incentive for change.
Last week, Abercrombie & Fitch was pilloried in social media -- and mainstream media -- for obnoxious, self-indicting remarks made by its chairman Mike Jeffries... in 2006. Jeffries has long styled himself a provocateur. So it's no surprise that he's in the middle of a controversy. What's notable is that his arrogance and condescension are catching up to him on a 7-year time delay.
I'm seeing GE in a different, flattering, energy-saving compact fluorescent light -- owing entirely to Focus Forward, a mesmerizing collection of mini-documentary films highlighting -- in GE's words -- "exceptional people and world-changing ideas that have impacted the course of human development ... or with great potential to significantly affect how we live in the next generation." I'm grateful to GE for identifying our common interests and establishing common ground.
Enforced transparency and social media have not only taken every institution from its fortress and relocated it to a glass house -- the whole world is standing outside that house, gaping in. This is a really good time in history for business to behave itself. That means being good to those who depend on you. Customers, employees, neighbors, suppliers, shareholders, the trade -- everybody, everywhere.