Good Is The New Cool: Market Like You Give A Damn is a compelling yet very approachable overview on the complex theme of “conscious capitalism”. In other words, doing business not just for the sake of making money but to benefit people, communities and the planet. Societies are changing and so are consumers’ expectations – brands that will survive in the long run are the ones willing to take on social, moral, ethical responsibilities and do some genuine good to the world. Good Is The New Cool explains why and how marketing plays a fundamental role in making it happen.

Whether it was through Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscars acceptance speech, Greta Thunberg’s pounding activism or the daily headlines on social and wellbeing issues afflicting our communities, I’m sure you will have realised by now that things are changing fast. As consumers, we are becoming more and more conscious about the world we live in – and so are brands.
It comes as no surprise. The total revenue in the US for corporations is $20.1 trillion compared to $3.1 trillion for the government and $1.2 trillion for nonprofits (Michael Porter, Change is in the hands of companies, brands and marketing departments. And that’s a huge responsibility.

Good Is The New Cool is the ideal introduction to the challenge. The book is a bold manifesto on why and how brands can become forces for good while retaining competitiveness and consumer appeal to ultimately thrive for years to come. Authors Afdhel Aziz & Bobby Jones have got skin in the game having worked both client- and agency-side with some of the world’s leading brands, and this helps them to deliver meaty concepts in a witty, simple, conversational fashion. Most importantly the book provides real examples of people and companies that are already pioneering this new approach as well as a clear roadmap to replicate it in our own contexts.

Good Is The New Cool prescribes seven principles to achieve both good and cool marketing, each complemented by anectodes and interviews to personalities like Citibank’s ex-CMO Elyssa Gray and Lady Gaga’s manager Bobby Campbell. They are:

  • Know your purpose.Putting in long hours for a corporation is hard. Putting in long hours for a cause is easy.
  • Find your allies. People and organisations whose purpose intersects with yours.
  • Think citizens, not consumers. Don’t forget about their wider range of passions and causes they care about; aim to develop a relationship that is “transformational not transactional.”
  • Lead with the cool, but bake in the good. The right design, aesthetics, storytelling are still essential but not the only elements.
  • Don’t advertise, solve problems. Look outside traditional advertising media, think about new models of creating content and experiences.
  • People are the new media. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth.
  • Back up the promise with the proof. Demonstrate transparency, accountability and results.

But it’s not all theoretical. The last chapter of the book maps out how to get started in your own organisation, from finding your internal allies to build with what you have, powering through accusations and fears of brandwashing and share the work out there. A nice touch that makes Good Is The New Cool substantially more relatable and actionable

So why should you read it?

Topics like social resposibility, conscious marketing or the much dreaded brand purpose have been abused again and again by marketers over the past few years. But don’t judge Good Is The New Cool by its cover – even if the language might sound idealistic, the idea at the core of the book is a right and very current one.

I have recently been reading more about brands doing genuine good (as in, brands that strive to grow while driving positive change in the world around them – think Patagonia, Warby Parker, Ben & Jerry’s…) and I am more and more convinced that doing business sustainably is the way forward compared to frenetic, selfish capitalism. I found in Good Is The New Cool an insightful, digestible view into this wide and intricate subject, covering its marketing and advertising implications. So if you are passionate about these areas too and want to get a glimpse of what winning brands in the future could look like, give this title a go.

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If you’ve already read Good Is The New Cool I’d love to hear what you think.
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Brand Manager by day, I edit AdCoffee by night. And I don't even drink coffee.
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