The common good. You’ve probably heard this phrase, but have you thought about what it truly means? The common good has historical roots that extend back to ancient philosophy, but it’s also an idea that has contemporary relevance. So what exactly is the common good? To succinctly define it – it is an ideal and a moral measure.
As an ideal, the common good indicates a state of affairs – a community in which all the conditions are in place that would allow every individual to reach their full potential. Such conditions are safe housing, fair wages, access to proper healthcare and education, and the ability to participate in political and cultural life. It is something that humanity must always strive to realize.
The common good can also be perceived as a moral measure. It is a tool we can use to evaluate whether our choices, policies, and institutions align with this ideal. For instance, do your purchasing decisions reflect self-interested concerns for your own living standard, comfort, and status? Or do you try to spend your money in a way that aligns with environmental sustainability?
The concept of the common good is based on a couple of key assumptions. The first is that humans are fundamentally social creatures, built to be in relationships and to avoid living in isolation. The second assumption is that, because people are made for community, their personal well-being is mutually interdependent – my good is your good, and vice versa.
Limitations and Problems of the Common Good
The concept of the common good, unfortunately, does have some issues. When we consider all the existing ill-will and widespread forms of violence and inequality, it’s hard to think that humanity is capable of upholding the principles of the common good. Furthermore, when someone claims they know what is good for all people, there is a chance that their ideal and moral vision is blurred or limited by their own experience, prejudice, or self-interest. In such cases, their vision of the common good can be used to silence those who protest and disagree.
As Professor Philip Kotler says in his book Advancing the Common Good: Strategies for Businesses, Governments, and Nonprofits, today’s society is in a state of “durable disorder,” with a rise in authoritarian leaders and a decline in the number of democracies around the world. He addresses the loss of common values and the meeting of community needs through goodwill organizations and movements, as well as legislation intended to protect and enhance common values. Professor Kotler also provides a guide to fortifying democratic values and creating organizations that pursue a better vision of the world.
These strategies are intended for everyone, starting from those ‘on the top’ – decision-makers, government agencies that aim to improve services and innovations, and businesses that want to contribute to the public good all the way to public citizens who want to help solve their community’s problems. The goal is to understand and recognize which actions and proposals will substantially elevate all citizens’ happiness and well-being.
How Do We Reshape the Common Good?
We must imagine and interpret the issues and problems of the common good concept in relation to other moral commitments and principles, like equality, dignity, stewardship, solidarity, participation, and respect for life. An excellent example of this is a commitment to prioritizing the well-being and the needs of the most vulnerable members of society.
From an economic standpoint, professor Kotler calls for a fundamental change in the world of marketing. The marketplace is changing, and if companies want to survive and thrive, they need to stop using traditional, outdated methods and turn to a new marketing approach, the one which prioritizes the connection with consumers. He calls it Marketing 3.0.
What is Marketing 3.0?
The term, created by professor Kotler in the book Marketing 3.0: From Products to Customers to the Human Spirit, Marketing 3.0. is used to describe the new, evolved marketing approach. Instead of constantly bombarding passive audiences with the same old marketing messages, businesses should direct their marketing efforts towards creating interactive communication with their audience, which is measured by customer engagement and sharing.
While Marketing 1.0 was product-driven, and Marketing 2.0 was created along with IT growth, Marketing 3.0 is driven by customer interaction and their relationship with the brand. Marketing 3.0. is holistic and focuses on the customer’s body, mind, and soul. Businesses that leverage this new marketing approach will have an edge because they can market their goods as part of a greater mission with social impact.
Advancing the Common Good
As the concept of the common good and the new age of marketing calls for a more humanistic approach to management, businesses turn their focus on purpose. Focusing on purpose is a foolproof way to help your business stand out and offer a unique selling proposition to their consumers.
Business leaders should start working on moving beyond the four Ps of marketing (product, price, place, and promotion) and leave for good the era of the push economy. In this modern digital age, it is not enough to tell consumers what to buy. Consumers want to express what they want, when and where they want it.
In my book Brands and Rousers: The Holistic System to Foster High-Performing Businesses, Brands and Careers, I set out to explain how businesses can succeed in these turbulent times by teaching leaders to think holistically and act personally. In practice, this is done by implementing six R’s:
- Leading with purpose and reason
- Generating and maximizing revenues
- Rousing people and dreams
- Building relationships
- Maximizing a good reputation
- Becoming resilient
Journey to Good – For All
To advance the common good in business and beyond means to build a community that offers opportunity for all, regardless of their age, gender, nationality, or income. So what can we do to ensure this? During The Path towards advancing The Common Good, professor Philip Kotler and I try to answer this and other questions and propose actions that can elevate all citizens’ happiness and well-being. Don’t miss out!