The economy has changed for good and it’s not only social media, internet over-connection or globalization: “living to consume”, “buying to exist” and “profit at any cost” are no longer the only way of life and the market is recognizing this shift. A new generation of enthusiastic entrepreneurs express through their businesses the change they want to see: love, compassion, care, enthusiasm and drive.
It could be simple rule of economy: “where there is a blank need, comes an offer”. But you can also see in there a new way of doing business where humanistic values and a deeper sense of purpose play a central role. Marketing is no longer a commercial tool used to push whatever products, but the expression of the company’s essence and it is “baked in” the whole company charter and activities.
My husband and I recently experienced one of these jewels: we were visiting the discrete clothing label Homecore in its Parisian store. The pure lines, comfortable materials and cuts had brought us in. But the reason why my husband purchased two items had to do with this: “Do you remember what Hip Hop used to be back in the 70’s?” asked the shopkeeper. “It was a street expression of freedom and love; Alex (Alexandre Guarneri, the founder) started some 20 years ago to design Hip Hop inspired T-shirts but then it all got commercialized and segregated into style clichés. Homecore still stands for what Hip Hop was back then but Alex dropped the clichés and for him, it’s all about bringing people together again”. It’s no surprise that one of the jackets displayed a print from the French street artist JR’s face to face photographs.
Patagonia, Lulu Lemon or Starbucks were such companies in their original essence. When growth, financial targets, IPOs, and shareholders’ return expectations take the lead, the troubles come. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz explains this in his latest book Onward: things started to drift when the company multiplied boutique openings, wildly extended the range from cheese sandwiches to stuffed animals without reviewing the fit to its core purpose.
Maybe our future better world will be driven by millions of small engaged companies; maybe a major shift in business strategy will drive multinationals to incorporate a deeper purpose at their core. Who knows?
There are many ways to peel the onion in business and drive this change: every one of us can start exploring our own contribution. Have you thought what you could start to do today?