Consumers crave a business community where ethics, principles and values hold places of importance in the boardroom. Flock Market is a Facebook Connect site that shows a “ticker” dashboard of the Fortune 500. Instead of showing stock price, however, it shows a real-time Inspiration score based on the community’s sentiment.
According to 10,000 plus consumers (according to The Global Institute for Inspiration) surveyed over the last two years, a new category of company is emerging that can be best described in a word as...Inspiring. In fact, Forbes has adopted the annual list into their portfolio of list branded as America's Most Inspiring Companies. According to the research, these companies are marked by 3 core traits:
1. Authentic - congruent and consistent from the inside out.
2. Credible - willing to stand on principle even at the cost of profit.
3. Servant leadership - committed to aligning and supporting the noble aspirations of employees and customers.
Consumers also revealed that when a company is recognized as inspiring, they are known for making us better people and the world a better place. 92% of survey respondents said they HAVE advocated for companies when felt inspired.
So, why do so many corporations get singularly fixated on the "profits-at-all-costs, live-for-next-quarter's-earnings" mentality? The answer lies in human behavior and the hard-wiring of the brain.
From the publication of Wealth of Nations in 1776 until the most recent neuroscience research...it’s overwhelmingly apparent that nearly all humans (and organizations) have always – and always will – act in their own best interest. Our brains are simply not wired to behave in ways that benefit the masses long-term.
We cannot expect change to occur in the corporate world out of the goodness of the corporations’ (and their shareholders’) heart. We must create an environment where it is in the corporations’ best interest to be inspiring. Not through Government mandates and regulations…but from the demands of their employees, customers and shareholders.
What’s needed is a catalyst for changing behavior…a simple, yet powerful tool that engages consumers, garners attention from the press and ultimately changes behavior inside of the corporation.
Objective: Use social pressure to keep American publicly traded companies accountable to being inspiring, ethical, principled, and customer-focused (rather than quarterly-earnings, profit-at-all-costs focused).
What It Is: An alternative “stock market” style ticker board that exhibits a corporation’s Inspiration score built by a community…a community ready, willing and able to lend their voice to improving capitalism. Those companies who exhibit the characteristics of an ethical, inspiring organization will be listed as the “most inspiring.” Those who don't will see their stock number drop, and risk backlash from the community.
How It Works: A Facebook Connect site that will list the Fortune 500, and encourage members of the community to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down based on if they feel the corporation is an inspiring one or not. The scores will rise and fall in real time as the community votes. Comments and stories can be added, and discussions about good and bad experiences will take place.
Each member of the community is given 10 “votes” per day that they can apply to their companies of choice. A vote can be used for either a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down. The site will be gamified (points, votes, levels, intermittent variable rewards) to encourage interaction with the site community and to encourage return visits.
How It Sustains Itself: Contributors will have the option of filling out longer surveys (in exchange for increased points and rewards). We will be accumulating data on industries that we could sell to the corporations.
Why It Works: This site is indicative of a movement toward increasing consumer empowerment. Oppressed for far too long, the consumer is more than ready to have a voice in creating the future of capitalism in this country. They crave a business community that is inspiring – where ethics, principles and values hold a place of importance in the boardroom.
This dashboard is a leading indicator of consumer perceptions of a company’s ethics, principles and values.
Corporations will be motivated to increase their Inspiration score to avoid the wrath of the Flock Market community (bad comments, boycotts), and to leverage a competitive advantage in their market. Public shame is a powerful motivator, and the bigger this community gets, the more impact it will have at the boardroom level.
Finally, the social sphere has become a formidable weapon in keeping corporations accountable to the public.
(See “Bank Transfer Day” http://sundial.csun.edu/2011/11/bank-of-america-dumps-debit-card-fees/ and “Mona the Hammer” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/01/AR2010120104743.html)
I believe, however, we have only scratched the surface in tapping this incredibly influential resource.
Fund and build the application with the needed functionality. Recruit a 1000 or so contributors (by invite only) and run a beta test for 60 days. This will help us refine the "gamification" aspect and the ticker score formulation.
Terry Barber and the Global Institute for Inspiration: http://www.giinspiration.com/