Good is The New Cool – Afdhel Aziz + Bobby Jones

The one sentence summary: There is a new way to market like you give a damn by harnessing the power of cool to make money and do good


There are three big cultural shifts going on:

  1. Generational: Millennials and Gen Z have new expectations of brands.
  2. Technological: technology has disrupted advertising.
  3. Spiritual: there is a crisis of meaningfulness in marketing. “The fact of the matter is that consumers don’t trust marketing.” (Morton Albaek)

Great marketing optimizes life. The new model of marketing is to make money and do good by harnessing the power of cool.

To do this, brands (Commerce) need to work with nonprofits (Conscience) and artists (Culture).

“Every time you spend money you’re casting a vote for the type of world you want live in.” (Anne Lappe)

The seven principles of how to market like you give a damn are:

  1. Know your purpose: great companies have a higher-order purpose than just profit.
  2. Find your allies: build coalitions with allies who have similar purpose.
  3. Think citizens, not consumers: treating people as ‘consumers’ creates a low-quality one-dimensional relationship with them.
  4. Lead with the cool, but bake in the good: you need great design as well as a great story to make it all work.
  5. Don’t advertise, solve problems: add value to peoples’ lives by solving problems, don’t just advertise at them.
  6. People are the new media: 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family. That’s what marketers should be striving for.
  7. Back up the promise with the proof: people can spot bullshit so provide tangible evidence of the good that you claim to be doing.


The least four valuable professions to society are advertising/marketing, actor/actress, dancer, and PR professional, so there’s an automatic credibility gap when advertising.

Cause washing or purpose washing is touting a noble cause without following through with authenticity. Avoid this.

Look for ROP not ROI: return on purpose, not investment.

Your culture is your brand – that’s people being good people and creating ‘storyworthy’ moments.

Overall, create purpose-based marketing experiences and services that are so inspirational, educational or useful that they create an army of advocates – a complete change from old-fashioned broadcast advertising.


The book is mainly full of case histories, some of which you may have seen before, so you could just read the first part.