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Just Good Business by Kellie McElhaney

Just Good Business by Kellie McElhaney

Just Good Business: The Strategic Guide to Aligning Corporate Responsibility and Brand

By Kellie McElhaney
Berrett-Koehler, 2008

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4 stars: Thought-provoking and intellectually stimulating materialWhile everyone from corporate board members to Sports Illustrated writers[1] is discussing global warming and going green, Kellie McElhaney’s timely book Just Good Business: The Strategic Guide to Aligning Corporate Responsibility and Brand discusses the ethical business strategy called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Although CSR is known by a dozen different labels, McElhaney defines CSR as “a business strategy that is integrated with core business objectives and core competencies of the firm and from the outset is designed to create business value and positive social change, and is embedded in day-to-day business culture and operations.” CSR is useful for attracting certain market segments, building market share, and if done right reducing bad press from watchdog groups and protesters.

Part I of Just Good Business introduces CSR while Part III explains what to do about it. Part II discusses the seven principles for connecting a corporation’s CSR strategy to its brand:

  1. Know thyself.
  2. Get a good fit.
  3. Be consistent.
  4. Simplify.
  5. Work from the inside out.
  6. Know your customer.
  7. Tell your story.

Each principle has its own chapter offering good corporate examples that flow nicely with the text. Because the author has kept these stories short, at less than a page, they make the point without distracting the reader. The book concludes with chapters on planning, smart metrics, and the future of CSR.

This is a medium-sized, 194-page, and very readable book. McElhaney brings more than just the CSR story to the reader; she provides an action plan tied to corporate branding and marketing. I recommend this book to those who want a role in the future of their corporation’s CSR strategy.

[1] Alexander Wolff, “Going, Going Green,” Sports Illustrated, 106, no. 11, March 12, 2007.

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