Live Long and Prosper” —Spock

I saw the new Star Trek movie last night and enjoyed watching the new Spock re-introduce us to the famous line & associated 4 finger salue, “Live Long & Prosper“.  While we don’t have Vulcan life spans (apparently they can live to be over two hundred years old) we Earthlings would still like to maximize our time on the planet (and prosper if possible).  Companies, however, can be more Vulcan like with their life spans.  Enduring companies can, theoretically, live forever if they are in stable industries and are agile enough to adapt effectively with the times.  Side Note: If anyone is interested in a list of the 100 oldest companies in the world, click this link.

In order to live long and prosper, many companies see the “Green & Socially conscious product” writing on the wall, and they are adapting their product strategies to the new realities.  I saw a recent post on the Forrester Consumer Product strategies blog (I seem to go there often lately) breaking current environmental and social strategies into four different levels:  ranging from Level 1, which is the most explicit — a flagship “green/social” product — to an implicit Level 4 approach in which consumers likely don’t even know that a product has socially responsible features.

I found the chart offered up a helpful view on the E&SR (Environmentally & Socially Responsible) big picture.  You could even build the model out a bit further within your own industry, inviting debate on how well you are doing vs competition.  As Forrester notes, the chart could also be helpful in evaluating internal commitment by asking “just how central is E&SR really to our consumer product strategy”?  Could I take the project that I am doing now and extend it across all of my product lines?  Of course, as author Sally Cohen points out, it will important for companies to understand who their consumers are and how E&SR fits into the value equation.  And, it will surely get harder to only play on the left side of the chart going forward as consumers get more cynical about companies only touting flagship products & not going “whole hog” with their product strategies.

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