Call it a mad dash, a bum rush, a jump on the bandwagon or just what it takes for big business to successfully operate in a marketplace that’s increasingly being regulated by customer consciousness and evolving social standards. In recent years, Corporate Social Responsibility has morphed into an essential part of the new marketing tool kit. For some organizations, CSR offers a powerful way to leverage the We Care quotient that has become central brand communication, brand positioning and brand presence. For others, organizations that really and truly do care, CSR is just a label for doing what can be done with significant financial, human and communications resources.
But not everyone loves the C in CSR. Enter Social Responsibility, what many in this new industry now call their programs and initiatives in an effort to, arguably, make themselves seem, well, less corporate. A tricky way to say we’re all in this boat together? Maybe, but the ride gets a little rocky when you’re floating the idea that you’re out to save the world when your business relies on pillaging its resources. For those less-than-exactly-ethical organizations SR is fine, but what about PSR?
Idea Couture’s first book, No One Works Here, is primarily about how brands can explore and cultivate innovation space between the edges of industry boundaries. But it’s also about how people, cultures, consumers, needs, desires and technologies are initiating that cultivation. Which is where PSR comes into play. Personal Social Responsibility brings activism, donation, empowering others and bettering the world, squarely into the responsibility-realm of the individual. Instead of suggesting an innovative idea for breaking off a piece of every banking transaction or gallon of gas (and we’ve got more than a few of those, too!), we decided to suggest an idea that strokes the edges of two very socially interactive boundaries (think: Etsy and Webkinz) to better stimulate another. That idea is Dolladoption.
Dolladoption draws on the philosophy behind the Waldorf doll as a way for individuals and organizations to use their creative and imaginative abilities to design a better world. Through a series of inter-connected innovations in retail channel, online interaction, micro-economics and social responsibility, it suggests that – between the old and the young, the big and the small – we can change the world together, one stitch at a time.
As a retail channel for traditional craft cultures and new DIY markets, Dolladoption enables artisans around the world to work from home while their designs reach a global market. By operating a personal cottage industry, it creates a hands-on opportunity for artisans, young and old, to learn the entrepreneurial ABCs of running a small business. For established businesses, it offers a product extension that encourages existing and, more importantly, young and future customers to engage with brands in a more playful way. As a consumer experience, Dolladoption lives in a fun interactive world where dolls come to life and, along with collectible clothes and accessories, can be bought, traded and donated to children anywhere. Through the Buy One-Give One program, it helps connect kids around the world to share stories about their dolls and themselves. And finally, as a Social Responsibility channel, Dolladoption is designed to teach kids and other consumers that they can make a difference. Along with the participant brands engaging consumers in their CSR initiatives, spaces on Kids Social Responsibility, Personal Social Responsibility and Experiential Social Responsibility encourage every visitor to design a better world through birthday parties, school fundraisers, fair trade, recycling, charitable work and community participation.