With C-level titles being manufactured more liberally these days than green and gold chotskies at the Green Bay Packers' fan appreciation day, I'd like to add a new "Chief" position to the org chart for your consideration. The Chief Good Officer (that's right, CGO) sits alongside the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO). Consider it the next evolution of the corporate social responsibility manager, but with a real seat at the table.
The CGO position fills a gap between the operational nuts and bolts of building a robust corporate social responsibility program and the marketing/advertising functions that drive customer acquisition and loyalty. Working alongside the other chiefs, the CGO would be on point to create brand purpose and action that bring a company's social justice and environmental values to life. This is the chef who blends financial and social "bottom lines" into a tasty dish that is as engaging as it is impactful for consumers.
Having read Weber Shandwick's new research that involved interviewing 200+ top executives about the value of social media to corporate social responsibility, I thought it'd be fun to imagine how a Chief Good Officer might leverage seven of today's most widespread uses of social media to do good and generate revenue at the same time. The technologies that I've picked are somewhat random, from the super hot to the its-got-a-shot.
CHECK-IN: Allowing users to "check in" to a physical place and share their location with friends.
- Why is it cool? If you feel like showing off that new fleece or electronic gadget you just bought, Snap ratchets up the fun by rewarding points for future discounts when you automatically share the "news" of your purchase through your social media profiles. Snap can be embedded in membership cards, credit cards, etc., so with a swipe of your favorite store's loyalty card at the register, your Facebook newsfeed and Tweets do the bragging.
- How a CGO could make Snap good? How about a Snap partnership with the YMCA to lower health insurance costs for millions of Americans? Imagine if each time a Y member "checks in" for a workout, Snap's technology (embedded in the Y membership card) simultaneously delivered the information to a secure database that could be accessed by health insurance providers who agreed to reward consumers with reduced premiums for living health lifestyles. Blue Cross/Blue Shield and others are seeking out innovative initiatives to bring about healthier lifestyles and healthier communities. It's a match made in health.
SHOP & SCAN: Empowering users to shop smartly by using smartphones to scan barcodes.
- Technology: ShopSavvy
- Why is it cool? ShopSavvy is the original barcode scanning application for smartphones. Launched in 2008 after winning Google's Android Developer Challenge, it's been downloaded by more than 6.5 million users. Scan any barcode and ShopSavvy instantly churns out comparative pricing for the same product at other stores in your town or on the Internet. Warning: Scanning is addictive. Trust me on this one.
- How a CGO could make ShopSavvy good? ShopSavvy needs to hook up with the Calvert Social Investment Index to integrate corporate social responsibility "AdOns" that help well-educated, young, socially-aware consumers (who are ShopSavvy's core demographic, by the way) pull up instant "features" about the social and environmental practices of Fortune 1000 companies behind the products that they're scanning BEFORE they buy.
MEETUP: Facilitating offline group meetings in various localities around the world.
- Technology: Let's Lunch
- Why is it cool? What do you get when you mash-up LinkedIn with Meetup and add a dash of your Klout score? Let's Lunch - a new reputation based community helps you book lunch with local entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders. How cool is that?!!! When you provide your Twitter handle or Hacker News ID, Let's Lunch assigns you a reputation level (based on your social mojo) and begins to fix you up for lunch with a "mover and shaker" (or at least, that's what you're hoping for). After the meal, you give your lunch partner a score and s/ he does the same to you (make sure to wipe that ketchup off your chin). As your reputation grows you can earn your way to lunching with a VIP.
- How a CGO could make Let's Lunch good? Let's Lunch would build a roster of do-gooder VIPs from TED, the Clinton Global Initiative, The World Economic Forum (Davos), The Skoll World Forum, Pop!Tech (you get the idea) and actively promote "Let's Lunch 4 Good" to leading social entrepreneur incubators of the likes of Ashoka, Echoing Green, FYSE, Unreasonable Institute, etc. When social entrepreneurs come together, the world gets better. Let's Lunch and change the world!
SHARE: Allowing users to share photos, videos and comments with friends through social networks.
- Company: Instagram
- Why is it cool? Aside from hanging its shingle on the ".am" domain (that's Armenia in case you're wondering), Instagram is cool because it's a fast and fun way to share your life with friends through pictures. Users snap a photo (iPhone only at this point, I'm afraid), choose a filter to transform the look-n-feel of the photo into a "memory" and blast it out to friends via Facebook, Twitter or Flickr.
- How a CGO could make Instagram good? OK, maybe this is a stretch, but what if Instagram knocked on Pierre Omidyar's door (the storied eBay founder turned philanthrocapitalist) with a vision to integrate Instagram into SeeClickFix, a technology company that recently received funding from the Omidyar Nework in connection with an initiative called Gov 2.0. SeeClickFix is a mobile application that allows anyone to report on non-emergency issues they come across in their day (a dangerous intersection, a polluted underpass, a derelict building, etc.) by "filing a report" that is sent to local municipalities. SeeClickFix could use Instagram to attach and apply design filters to photos that are filed with reports.
BLOG:Providing users blogging tools.
- Company: Storify
- Why is it cool? As a blogger who loves to contextually integrate Tweets, photos and videos from others, Storify makes it super easy to search relevant content across multiple social networks, and then drag individual elements into a post in real-time. What makes Storify such a sweet tool is that those from whom you are pulling content are likely to share your post!
- How a CGO could make Storify good? Dunno because Storify hasn't sent me the invitation I requested to join! With that said, Storify might consider structuring a social purpose marketing alliance as the official storytelling tool of City Year. City Year -- which unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of service to help children stay in school and on track to graduate -- could expand advocacy by mobilizing corps members with a tool like Storify to share their year-in-service experience. Using Storify to share their stories with the world, City Year corp members would avail themselves of new ideas and sources of information that could influence how they tackle their challenging work. Their storytelling (powered by Storify) could likewise encourage propagation of their life-changing experiences across the Internet, thereby growing financial support for the organization to expand its reach in America's most needed schools.
ANSWERS:Helping users share and find information by asking and answering questions on any topic.
- Company: Quora.
- Why is it cool? Quora believes that more than 90 perncet of the information people want to know is still not available on the Internet in a format that's easy for them to quickly understand. Quora is a souped-up version of LinkedIn Answers or Yahoo! Answers. In theory, Quora users monitor the site so the quality of questions and answers is superior to that of other "answer" sites.
- How a CGO could make Quora good? I find Quora overwhelming to navigate and difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. With that said, the Quora community is chock full of information and busting at the seams with opportunities to make good use of its knowledge base. Curating and delivering "answers" on Quora to the most capable, innovative players in the nonprofit community could catalyze solutions to the world's toughest problems. Quora might explore partnering with The Knight Foundation to provide the seed capital toward developing an "answer mining" service layer -- an easy way for nonprofit champions to access the collective wisdom they need efficiently for on-the-spot application.
DEAL: Tipping point coupon model. If enough consumers purchase, the deal is on.
- Company: Groupon
- Why is it cool? You and 45 million others know why. But the company's halo took a hit on Super Bowl Sunday with the now infamous ad that trivialized the plight of the Tibetan people. However, Groupon will weather the storm because their roots are in social activism -- having been hatched out of a cause-based website.
- How a CGO could make Groupon good? Groupon could use a Chief Good Officer badly right now. The platform is a "10" for delivering on the goods... that is, the Daily Deal. However, the opportunity to integrate social justice and environmental impact campaigns inside the Daily Deal itself is a gaping hole in Groupon's strategy. We know (because smart agencies like Edelman and others have told us) that helping companies harness corporate social responsibility as a business strategy helps them connect with consumers around shared values. Groupon has an unmatched opportunity to use its "collective buying power" to change the world with every Daily Deal. Get The Point?
Last week Cox Communications minted the new position of "Social Monetization Manager" which put a stake in the ground that companies expect (and deserve) an ROI on social media. The role of Chief Good Officer, whose responsibility is to deliver ROI on corporate social responsibility, is equally justified to make Earth a healthier place for all of us and an enriching place for those who are truly its good tenants.