David and Goliath – The battle for Authentic British Chocolate…

25 01 2010

You can also get an audio version of this blogpost here: – LISTEN

Cadburys Dairy Milk

US based Global Giant Kraft foods

The David Vs Goliath battle for ownership of British chocolate maker Cadbury now seems to have been won by powerful global brand Kraft Foods.

Employees of Cadbury, residents of Birmingham where its HQ is located, and the wider British public and press are generally up in arms about this planned take-over.

Their real concern seems to be about the Authentic legacy of the Cadbury brand, and fears that Global food giant Kraft will end the higher purpose and philanthropy that the British brand is famed for, particularly within the Bournville Village suburb where it was founded.

But is this fair? Kraft is recognised in USA as one of its most reputable companies, and Forbes Magazine recently ranked Kraft as number one USA company for sincerity i.e. doing what it says it will do; and number 3 for overall reputation. So why is the British public so concerned?

Recent economic events have created a great deal of scepticism regarding the blatant pursuit of profit – and much of the press reporting in this case has focused on how Kraft has borrowed heavilly to buy Cadbury at a time when the Dollar/Sterling exchange rate makes the purchase cheap. And traditional financial reporting has primarily focused on the profit motives of Kraft, and I have yet to see any journalist dig deeper into the values of the Kraft management team, and its social responsibility record or future strategies and policies. However, Kraft itself also seems to have failed to capitalise on its reputation, and its communication programme seems to have stumbled in todays world of word-of-mouth communication. Its management team has a duty to shareholders to pursue opportunities that meet its stated strategy – which this take-over is, but it has failed to engage the wider stakeholders and is now seen as a hostile enemy.

This leads me to conclude that Authentic businesses need to be GREAT at communicating their values and policies, to generate trust, and to make sure that what they do is aligned with what they say they will do. It also confirms a wider trend that I and my colleagues in Authenticis are finding – that people in general are more concerned about the greater purpose of brands and are shunning those who purely pursue short term profitability for economic gain. Kraft will need to beware of boycotts to both brands in the post-acquisition period.

What do you think? leave a comment below, or get in touch to hear how we can help your organisation in developing its Authenticity.

James Rock Cultivar Consulting

Member Authenticis Consulting Network


Making work a happier place in 2010

11 01 2010

You can also listen to the audio version of this blog post here : Listen!

Five years ago TIME magazine published an article entitled “The new science of HAPPINESS” which described research on exactly what it is that makes people happy.

In the article Dr Martin Seligman of University of Pennsylvania describes how he discovered the three components of happiness: –

  • Pleasure (“the smiley-face piece”)
  • Engagement (the depth of involvement with one’s family, work, romance and hobbies)
  • Meaning (using personal strengths to serve some larger end).

Of those three roads to a happy, satisfied life, pleasure is the least consequential, he insists: “This is newsworthy because so many people build their lives around pursuing pleasure. It turns out that engagement and meaning are much more important”.

You can read the full article here : TIME article

Since 2005 life has become less pleasurable for the vast majority of people.  The economic downturn has encouraged many to ask themselves what it is that makes them happy, and many have shunned the blatant consumerist lifestyle that they had been encouraged to pursue in the past. Has this affected you? Do you want to make work a happier place in 2010? If so then make sure that Engagement and Meaning feature in your working life.  Taken together, these are what constitute a sense of Purpose – one of the key principles of Authenticity (see blog article below : Being an Authentic Business ).

For individuals, this means that understanding exactly what provides engagement and meaning for you is really important if you seek true happiness in your work.  For companies, it means that leaders need to provide a true sense of purpose that will deliver the necessary engagement and meaning that will motivate employees. A great example of this is Apple whose CEO Steve Jobs (pictured below) set out to create a team environment to make products that are “Insanely Great”.

Steve Jobs - who set out to make Apple "Insanely Great"

This purpose has created a huge following for Jobs and Apple, from fans of its products and employees alike. The success of the business is one of the phenomenal stories of the decade.

If you want to find out more about Authenticity – for individuals or companies – then contact me and I can share with you the research work I am engaged in at present with a group called Authenticis – we are currently seeking to create a network of  Authentic businesses and would love to hear about those examples you can recommend to us.

James Rock – Cultivar Consulting