Future Brands’ managing director and chief executive officer, Santosh Desai was the moderator for the second session on day three at AdAsia 2011. The theme for the session was conscious capitalism, and the speakers at this session were, Duncan Goose, founder and managing director, Global Ethics Limited and Anna Bernasek, journalist/speaker.
Bernasek spoke about the integrity firms must have while carrying on their business. While the main objective of business remained profits, Bernasek urged people to trust each other and work with certain integrity.
She gave an example of how trust and integrity has led to the formation of one of the biggest businesses worldwide. She said, “When the internet first caught our imagination in the ‘90s, a small start-up was launched. Investors being sceptical and people on Wall Street doubted it, but the company convinced enough people and managed to start work. The company, I’m talking about is ebay. On ebay, 90 million people around the world trust each other enough to do business on the website. The founder went ahead with his business plan on the basic belief that people were good.”
She also cited the Visa Card example. “Joseph Williams had this idea of lending out money with the hope that they would return it. He had the basic belief that people were good and through that, he thought he could earn his money. He convinced people at the bank and created a Your BankAmericard. 60,000 cards were given out to people, but that turned out to be a disaster. The bank lost eight million dollars and Williams was sacked. But, the formula was right and the bank had sent out 100 million cards by 1970. The card was later renamed Visa.”
Goose ended his advertising career at JWT early, in order to travel the world on a motorbike. Following his two-year motorbike trip around the world between 1998 and 2000, Goose saw the problems some of the developing countries were facing and wanted to contribute to the finding of solutions. He founded Global Ethics, the company behind the One brand.
Goose said, “Consumers don’t need to spend time or money being ethical when the brand can do in on their behalf.”
What he was referring to was his brand One. At One, for all his products (starting from mineral water to toilet paper), the profits go towards the creation of utility for the needy.
To start off with, he marketed his brand One using social media. “When we started using social media, 237190 people started liking it. The cost of joining social media was free, but the turn out was incredible. We were only telling stories to consumers. Whoever liked it, joined it.”