Why did Google choose “Don’t be evil” as its corporate credo?
For one thing, it’s a great public relations spin. “Don’t question our motives when it comes to user-privacy, etc. – we’re doing no evil!”
Nowhere has Google’s motto been put to the test more than in China, where, most recently, Google has stopped censoring results at the demand of the Chinese government.
Over the years, Google has donated generously – money and manpower — to various philanthropic efforts ranging from wind energy R&D to disaster relief.
GE has touts “ecomagination” as an altruistic endeavor to “market new technologies that will help customers meet pressing environmental challenges.” It’s earmarked over $1.5 billion towards clean technology research.
Scott Kier has launched Mosaic EcoSystems to help companies capitalize on the triple bottom line – people, planet, and profit.
SocialVibe helps consumers raise millions for charities by interacting with brands.
Green marketing and selling altruism can be more than just an effective PR ploy. To fully exploit… er, leverage it, brands must fully embody the concept of sustainability and show consumers the impact you’re having at the local level. It’s ok to brag if you have the bag to back it up.
“Green Marketing isn’t a fad. It’s not a two-year-plan. It’s an underpinning of commerce moving forward.”
When it comes to altruism, all of these truisms must be taken into account.
Jan. 30, 2010: Apparently not everyone is buying Google’s altruistic angle. Today, Wired reports that Steve Jobs told Apple employees that he thought Google’s “Don’t Be Evil” mantra was “bullshit.”
April 15, 2010: It’s all aboard Altruism Air for Proctor and Gamble (P&G) as the company expands its Future Friendly initiative to “consumers save water, waste and energy at home.”
July 9, 2010: In this chapter, Lawrence Wan of Omnicom Media Group is quoted as saying, “it’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when, the Chinese government starts blocking and slowing down access to google.com.hk from within China.” Looks like that when has been pushed off a bit. Today, Google announced that the Chinese government renewed its ICP license.
Aug. 19, 2010: “Don’t be evil” is being tested again in the context of the net neutrality debate. Shared my POV in this blog post about the recent Google/Verizon net neutrality proposal.
Aug. 29, 2010: Puma is selling altruism by making sustainability sexy with its “clever little bag.”
Sept. 28, 2010: Per Cone in AdWeek, “Cause Marketing’s Still All to the Good.”
Nov. 13, 2010: More green marketing from GE. “GE Campaign Turns YouTube Videos and Flickr Photos into Clean Energy.”
Mar. 15, 2011: Google has carved out precious real-estate on its homepage to promote to this page with information on the recent earthquake/tsunami in Japan and ways to contribute. For what it’s worth, I’ll be donating 25% of my first royalty check from the Japanese edition of this book to the Japansese Red Cross to help with the relief efforts.