The connectivity of the Internet allows people to see the impact they have on the world. People are extending this social and environmental awareness to their decisions as consumers and employees. This new Conscience Culture is widespread and growing, especially in three distinct areas:
Conscience Culture Beliefs
There are several new core beliefs and motivations that influence the way people behave and make decisions about how they connect and communicate with others, what they purchase, and how they support themselves. These new beliefs include:
* Collective self-actualization. In the Conscience Culture, the collective good outweighs personal gain. Self-actualization is a group activity.
* Optimism. Millennials believe that the world they create will be better than what came before them. They also think that businesses and individuals have the responsibility to work for the common good.
* Fairness. The idea that everyone deserves the opportunity for a good life is deeply embedded in the Conscience Culture. Companies appeal to this notion by promoting transparency.
* Well-being. Consumer items are expected to make people’s lives better, and companies are expected to promote the health and well-being of their employees.
* Transparency. The Internet allows investigation and rapid dissemination of information, requiring businesses to embrace transparency in all of their practices.
* Sensible environmentalism. Environmental awareness is now a requirement for most companies. Those that operate in an environmentally sensible manner will attract and retain like-minded employees.
Conscience Culture Expectations
Members of the Conscience Culture expect there to be total synthesis between virtual technology and the physical world. They believe they should be connected at all times in the following ways:
* Mobile connectedness. Access to global information networks is expanding, and companies that find innovative ways to keep their brand names in front of consumers have an open avenue of advertising.
* Human connection. Personal recommendations of products outweigh company advertising. Companies need staff members who can make personal connections with customers both in-person and online.
* Actionability. The new generation expects interactive products that adapt to their needs. They are interested in products that will help them start businesses or create products that will have a positive impact on the world.
* Smarter everything. In the new economy, consumers expect that everything–from their refrigerators to their cars–will become progressively smarter and more responsive to their needs.
* Adjustable anonymity. As people seek to remain connected but also maintain control over their privacy, there is a shift to platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram.
* Shareable content. The concept of individual ownership is changing. Renting and sharing are the new purchasing models.
Conscience Culture Players
The key players in today’s Conscience Culture all have a common mission: doing good. These players fall into several categories, including:
* Social enterprises. Private businesses with social agendas remove some of the burden from social service agencies, work for the common good, and already account for more than $200 billion in the U.S. economy.
* Certification associations. There are a wide range of certifications businesses can tout, from being “green” to fair trade to organic, all of which weigh heavily with consumers.
* Goodness marketplaces. Businesses that provide a central location for purchasing responsibly sourced products are appearing both online and in brick-and-mortar stores.
* Democratizing enablers. Mechanisms such as crowdfunding are enabling entrepreneurs at all economic levels to pursue their business and product ideas, which otherwise would not come to fruition.
* Built-in philanthropy. Another business model involves donating a product or service for each purchase a consumer makes.
* Role models. High-profile leaders and celebrities can use their positions to promote social awareness.