Book Review : Good Works – Corporate Marketing Initiatives That Build A Better World And The Bottom Line

Published June 25, 2017 by vishalvkale

There is hardly an MBA, at least in India, who hasn’t heard of Philip Kotler. Without his book, one cannot imagine studying Marketing. Thus, on noticing a book co-authored by this Author, I didn’t have to think twice before buying it. The book in question is titled : “Good Works! Market And Corporate Initiatives That Build A Better World… And The Bottom Line”. It was the last few words that got my attention; CSR will likely remain an afterthought, a regulatory requirement, unless it is linked with the Bottom Line. That is the nature of the modern for-profit organization.

This book is a treatise full of case studies around Corporate Social Initiatives, bunched around 6 central themes :
*  Cause Promotion {Persuading Consumers To Join Your Company In A Good Cause}
*  Cause-Related Marketing {Making Contributions To Causes Based On Product Sales And Consumer Actions}
*  Corporate Social Marketing {Supporting Behaviour Change Campaigns}
*  Corporate Philanthropy {Making A Direct Contribution To A Cause}
*  Community Volunteering {Employees Donating Their Time And Talents}
*  Socially Responsible Business Practices {Changing How You Conduct Business To Achieve Social Outcomes}
I strongly recommend every marketer, corporate honcho and management eduationist in India should read this book; the theoretical framework it presents combined with the real life examples stated herein make for deep learning and give natural insights, as well as act as provocators of independent thought.
My mind, once again, goes to the same old conundrum : I can find a Western book, with few connects to India and Indian Realities, in an Indian Book Store. And I am yet to find a good book on Indian Case Studies – I am aware of a minimum of 6 excellent books of case studies of which I myself have studied 5 {Anisha Motwani, Prachi Garg – 2, Anuradha Goel, and a book on Positioning}, with a fifth in my purchase list already. Not one of these has made it to bookstores in India, at least not on a comparable scale. Why is this shocking pusillanimous and thoroughly repugnant fascination we have for the West still present? To management faculty, institutes and colleges – my blunt & straightforward question – ALL of these are Corporate Professionals. Why have you abandoned your core duty of documentation and research? Where are you in this list?
Take this book, for instance. I could not make a connect with any case study, save one or two, as the atmosphere was not Indian. I had no common point of reference, no connect with either the Brands or the Social Causes mentioned. This severely hindered my learning and my takeaway from the book. But perhaps the most stunning aspect is this book – an out and out Western book – contains an Indian reference as well. Just spare a thought on this repugnant thought : someone from outside India can identify an Indian example, but we Indians don’t have the time for it. Wow. I am frankly speechless.
Does this mean the book holds no value for us? Of course not – it holds tremendous value for us as a people, as a nation, and as professionals. As professionals, reading this book gives you ideas, learnings, as well as deep insights. The book is completely practical from start to finish. I could quote volumes on this, but as the examples aren’t Indian, they would be meaningless. That said, your mind will automatically identify Indian examples as you read the literature – for example, Tata Tea Jago Re, or the Re 1/- donation to give just two examples
Further, it will also give a deep and disquieting set of questions : that few Indian initiatives have been really cashed in on by the organisations; they haven’t managed to connect with consumers. Thus, it means that they are either doing it out of the goodness of their heart, or legal CSR requirements, or most likely both. They haven’t managed to connect these with Branding Power, Consumer connect by and large. A further deeper disquieting question also arises – maybe the consumer in India does not place an adequate value to such efforts, or it maybe that the consumer body is just too cynical…

This feasibility comes to the fore even more strongly as you read case after case after case after case of community, consumer, NGO, employee and Organisational involvement in various small, medium and national as well as international causes. This is repeated throughout the book, leaving one with questions and still more questions. Where are the Indian Examples on a comparable level of community, social, individual and organizational involvement? Just to take one example – where are the employee volunteers? Where are the community cases – I know some are present. But where are they in the public and company consciousness, and why aren’t they more prevalent? Why do we ignore these vital aspects? 

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