Simon Mainwaring, Brand Strategist, Social Entrepreneur & Bestselling Author

Spend five minutes with Simon and you know: This is a man on a mission! Simon’s taking on our culture of conspicuous consumption and suggesting an alternative — contributory consumption; or, as he likes to frame it, moving from a “me first” to a “we first” society. More than pure altruism, Simon’s vision was born of three practical insights that business leaders would do well paying attention to:

June 2015

  • Brands cannot survive in societies that fail
  • Today’s consumer wants a better world, not just better widgets
  • Social media has created the means for people to connect as consumers and citizens

It’s the subject of his New York Times best-selling book, We First, and regularly featured in his Fast Company blog. But Simon is much more than a man with an idea. What makes his leadership exceptional is how he has built a strong community around it, putting every channel at his disposal to work for the cause. Simon is an expert at creating and channeling energy to make big things happen, and the perfect person to offer a perspective on how we as leaders can build critical mass in our organizations.

On being purposeful in the marketplace (2:09)
Competition between brands is a delicate issue particularly for leadership right now. More and more brands are realizing that there are certain issues that are larger than themselves. This plays into this purpose discussion.
On corporate responsibility (3:01)
I think that social technology is this connective tissue between employees, between the idea or what a brand stands for, what a company stands for, and then ultimately to their customer base.
On Creating the Solution (4:02)
Leaders create ambassadors in a number of different ways. They may put the resources of the company behind an initiative that came from the employee base. We see a lot of brands out there crowd sourcing with their customers. You can also do it internally.
On moving from "me" to "we" (3:05)
I spent twelve months thinking through what my brand stood for. Anyone who followed my blog would have seen the tagline for the blog change every few weeks as I thought this through. Eventually I distilled it down to the business of social transformation. I am deeply passionate about the contribution that the private sector can make to social change. As a father and as a man, I think the world needs it right now.
On Technology (3:30)
One of the most exciting results of the advent of social media in these new technologies is that you can effectively put your community to work for you if you motivate them sufficiently. That can help you drive momentum. How do you do that? It is by defining what the brand stands for and communicating that consistently.
On the social business marketplace (2:20)
We are in this transition phase from the traditional marketplace through the digital marketplace to a social business marketplace. I think we will look back in a few years and we will not be able to remember a marketplace in which customers did not have multiple channels to communicate with companies and employees.
Unleashing Capability - Part 2 (2:22)
Companies make mistakes. Leaders make mistakes. You need to give yourself permission as a leader and your community of employees to make mistakes; otherwise they will never try anything. Some of the best companies out there that I have had the good fortune to work with are not necessarily smarter. They just risk better on a consistent basis.
Unleashing Capability - Part 1 (4:21)
You cannot control the conversation. Employees and customers are the co-authors of your story.