05 Who wants to be good?

Hands up – who wants to be good?

Turns out almost everyone. And at this event – the fourth in the Brand New Thinking series from Pollitt & Partners – that was quite a few people.

It’s grown more and more popular each time they put it on, perhaps reflecting an agency that, a couple of years on from making the shift to become an employee owned partnership, and with new CEO, Natalie Maher now at the helm, is entering exciting times.

So, it was just as well they’d moved this event from their Covent Garden studio to the Wallacespace just down the road. Nearly 100 people packed in to discuss exactly what it means to be good.

Simon Coley, Co-Founder of Karma Cola was first up, lulling us with his laid-back New Zealand lilt through a dizzyingly rapid tour of their journey from failed banana importers looking for a great new idea, to a global range of six drinks, a positive p&l sheet, and, best of all for him, transforming people’s lives around the globe.

His advice on how to do it? First, look good. You need to be noticed and chosen. Second, taste good. The product’s got to perform. Third, do good. As he put it: “All the other great stuff that happens because of your engagement.”

He talked of the constant battle with opportunities to take on high-volume low-profit sales. Erode your margin and you’re no longer able to do or be good. Or as he put it: “If they mention price early on in the conversation it’s probably best to move on.”

He made it sound almost easy to do – “You don’t need a ton of capital to get started with a product like this, and there are consumers actively looking for – even researching – brands like this.” Anyone who’s ever tried launching a consumer brand knows it’s far from easy, but he inspired the audience with his vision of how to be good at being good.

As did the other two speakers. Alex Kenmure, Head of Business Development at GoodGym and Batman uber-fan, talked of how they’re finding ways to create a positive social impact from exercise. Most strikingly, he posed the question “When did community service become a punishment?”

And finally Susie Lawrence, business psychologist, coach, and Director of  Runway Consultancy, gave us a different dimension – to do good you must be good at what you do, and how do we achieve that? First be in touch with what matters to you, be that corporate mission, self-actualisation, or some other goal. Second, be prepared for your definition of good to evolve over time. Third, achieve a balance of judgement, drive and influence. Fourth, pay attention to the small, mundane things – taking a break can transform a day. And fifth, whilst striving to be better remember to celebrate how good you already are.

As the evening drew to a close, Sean Davey, Partner & Strategist at Pollitt, kept order, breaking us into smaller groups to debate precisely what it means for a brand to be good.

It was an evening packed full of new ideas, and we left inspired by possibilities, determined to be, if not good, then at least better – and looking forward to the fifth instalment of Brand New Thinking.

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