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We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Build a Better World [Kindle Edition]

Simon Mainwaring
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A social media expert with global experience with many of the world's biggest brands --including Nike, Toyota and Motorola--Simon Mainwaring offers a visionary new practice in which brands leverage social media to earn consumer goodwill, loyalty and profit, while creating a third pillar of sustainable social change through conscious contributions from customer purchases. These innovative private sector partnerships answer perhaps the most pressing issue facing business and thought leaders today: how to practice capitalism in a way that satisfies the need for both profit and a healthy, sustainable planet. Mainwaring provides case studies from companies such as P&G, Walmart, Starbucks, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Toyota, Nike, Whole Foods, Patagonia, and Nestlé as well as a bold plan for how corporations need to rethink their strategies.

Editorial Reviews


“Few understand the power of brands and consumers better than Simon Mainwaring. In We First he presents a truly compelling vision of how to transform that power to the benefit of society and the good of capitalism.”--Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do? and New Media columnist for The Guardian

"We First lays out a movement to transform corporate America, providing plenty of food for thought for the business leaders of today and tomorrow."--Tony Hsieh, New York Times bestselling author of Delivering Happiness and CEO of, Inc.

“Simon Mainwaring shows how to use social technologies to create and deepen business relationships, which in turn drive profits. Put meaning back into your business by buying this book. Actually, buy two and give one away to someone who is also yearning to take their business to the next level.”--Charlene Li, author of Open Leadership and Founder of Altimeter Group

“Simon is the new master of the 'three wins' - for your company, for you customers and for the planet. He shows us clearly that companies that mean more actually make more, turning customers into their most important evangelists. Today, values count as much as value, and Simon shows us how to find, foster and share the best of both."--Steve Hayden, Vice Chairman, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide

"Simon Mainwaring has a deep and powerful understanding of social media and presents great opportunities to use it for real change. In We First, his approach inspires and empowers both brands and consumers with innovative solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing our world."--Scott Harrison, Founder of charity: water

“Social media—viral, borderless—is the perfect vehicle to promote "contributory consumerism," and Mainwaring has fascinating suggestions for technological innovation and systemic change…the author's enthusi...

About the Author

Simon Mainwaring is founder and president of We First, a brand consulting firm that helps companies use social media to build communities, profits and positive impact. An award-winning advertising creative director, influential blogger and international speaker, he is a member of the General Mills Digital Advisory Board, the Advisory Board of the Center for Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California Annenberg School, Ad Age's Power 150, and is an expert blogger for Fast Company. British narrator John Lee has read audiobooks in almost every conceivable genre, from Charles Dickens to Patrick O'Brian, and from the very real life of Napoleon to the entirely imagined lives of sorcerers and swashbucklers. He has won numerous Audie Awards and AudioFile Earphones Awards, and he was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile in 2009. Lee is also an accomplished stage actor and wrote and coproduced the feature films Breathing Hard and Forfeit.

Product Details

  • File Size: 552 KB
  • Print Length: 257 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B005JQRD1E
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Trade; 1 edition (June 7, 2011)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004QGY36G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #654,692 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A lot of people have dreams of making an impact, and some even offer well-intended suggestions of what needs to be fixed. In his new book, We First, author and branding expert Simon Mainwaring actually shows us how. What I like most about this book is that it provides concrete solutions and plans for HOW to solve problems like world hunger, poverty and disease rather than just a diatribe of wishful thinking. And, what's more, it takes into account the fact that capitalist businesses are out to make profit. Period.

Because Mainwaring acknowledges the necessity of the profit motive rather than deploring it, the solutions he suggests are all the more believable. I mean, what business is going to turn away from big profits to sing Kumbaya? None. However, what businesses will do is pay attention to increasingly strong consumer demand for socially conscious and environmentally sound practices. As We First suggests, social media puts the power back in the hands of the ordinary consumer, and it also gives companies and brands the tools to connect directly with those consumers. So, profit is tied to purpose. Genius work from an expert who really knows what he's talking about in practical terms. This is not only going to be a very important book, but the start of a global movement.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cleverly disguised political diatribe November 9, 2011
Author Simon Mainwaring has written a book ostensibly to discuss how brands and consumers can change the world through the use of social media but instead delivers a lengthy political diatribe that describes how to bring about his version of global social justice.

The social media aspects of this book seem only incidental in Mainwaring's mission to create a global society of activists who "create reputational damage" to corporations using social media. Not all corporations mind you, just the ones he views as not living up to their social, ethical and/or moral contract with all global citizens of the world. This "fairness of rewards" for the global citizenship is a very high ideal indeed, and one that simply cannot be attained until there are equal outcomes for all people on the planet. If this seems like something other than a book about social media and branding then please place a gold star on your forehead and move to the head of the class. When the author sticks to the issue of using social media he delivers solid information but he seems rather stuck on the "why to" employ social media as an activist tactic rather than a "how to" go about using social media the proper way.

From the onset of the book the author tries (a little too hard) to convince us that he is not anti-capitalist but that he thinks capitalism could use a little freshening up or transformation. There is little evidence to suggest that he is anything but anti-capitalist as he then goes on and on (and on) about everything that is wrong with capitalism. It is clear the author stands firmly against capitalism and prefers a system that is more "morally-sustainable, ethically-sustainable" and "environmentally-sustainable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
>>>..."We First" is a MustRead Future View, Vision & Think about how the Power of Social Media through Private Sector TeamWork of Brands & Consumers can Use Social Media to Create a New Version of Capitalism (MeFirst to WeFirst), etc. that will establish them as Partners in building a Better World, starting Now / Today!!!...Author Simon Mainwaring has put together 250+ pages of Knowledge, Context & Content that may facilitate the Intellectual & Behavioral shifts that must occur for the entire Private sector to come together as a third pillar of Social Change, working with governments and philanthropic organizations to advance the Well-Being of All!!!...>>> If this is of Interest to You, Your Journey begins Now!!!...
>>>..."We First" opens with a MustRead Dedication, Acknowledgments & Prologue!!!...>>>...Author Simon Mainwaring indicates that the First Half of "We First" / Chapters 1 to 5 examines why we need to change the thinking behind our current practice of Capitalism, while the Second Half of "We First" / Chapters 6 to 10 explains how we go about doing it!!!...
>>>...Chapters 01 to 05.
>>>...Chapter 01 - Transforming The Engine Of Capitalism.
>>>...Chapter 02 - Redefining Self-Interest From Me First To We First.
>>>...Chapter 03 - The Future of Profit Is Purpose.
>>>...Chapter 04 - Creating Sustainable Capitalism In Five Ways.
>>>...Chapter 05 - Instilling We First Values Into Capitalism.
>>>...Chapters 06 to 10.
>>>...Chapter 06 - Why The World Needs A Responsible Private Sector.
>>>...Chapter 07 - How Brands Build Their Business And A Better World.
>>>...Chapter 08 - How Consumers Build Responsible Brands And A Better World.
>>>...Chapter 09 - How Contributory Consumption Creates Sustainable Social Change.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Social media lessons for brands and businesses June 21, 2011
We First is well worth reading, whether you're a company trying to navigate the "End of Us And Them" or an agency or marketer striving to guide clients.

In short, Simon makes three strong arguments. The first is that in an age of consumer control and the ability to support or take down a brand for its misbehavior or bad judgment, all companies should learn to leverage that same social behavior by inspiring positive word of mouth through actions that do good.

Second, the author lays out convincing evidence that consumers are motivated by more than low price. Brands that have integrity, that commit to sustainable practices, whether economic, environmental or social, enjoy higher sales, greater loyalty and more endorsement.

And finally, Mainwaring reminds us that our biggest problems - global warming, hunger, economic disparities, and potable water -- are too significant for governments and NGOs to solve. It's time for business to embrace a new set of values and focus on making contributions of value to society and community.

Simon is clearly not talking about making charitable donations or using superficial social acts as a ploy to generate PR and temporary good will. In fact he condemns the "hypocrisy of many businesses to save with one hand what the other hand has destroyed." The truly sustainable company wouldn't need to write checks because its daily operations would enrich rather than deprive the community.

We would all be better off if business heeds some of We First's recommendations and examples.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good critique, naive solution
There's a lot to like about Simon Mainwaring's <I>We First</I>. This former advertising executive pulls no punches. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Dennis Fischman
4.0 out of 5 stars The future isn't about you or me, it's about WE - & the sooner we...
It is a curious book indeed that posits the need for a change to the world's dominant economic system from someone who readily and repeatedly concedes he is not an economist. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Them
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
This was a great book for marketers, consumers, and people interested in sustainability. I read this book for a marketing class and I will definitely reread the book because it is... Read more
Published 23 months ago by John W. Pollock
1.0 out of 5 stars Totally deceiving
Wow, I was really surprised to find out that this book is all about liberal democrat principles of the redistribution of wealth. Read more
Published on December 8, 2012 by Chad Childress
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Waste Your Time
This book is a frustrating mess. He contradicts himself so often, I cannot believe an editor would let it be published. Read more
Published on November 26, 2012 by Bob
1.0 out of 5 stars What is left of LEFT?
If you like big government regulation as the great "fixer", you will love this guy's work.

While the work might be intellectually interesting, the work seems to support... Read more
Published on January 4, 2012 by Kuranda
5.0 out of 5 stars 2011 Best Business Book
We First is that rare marketing book that is truly visionary. It is also sure to be controversial, because Simon Mainwaring takes trends such as green marketing, cause marketing,... Read more
Published on December 6, 2011 by Strategy And Business Magazine
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend for consumers and business thought leaders
Simon Mainwaring makes a compelling argument for the need to redefine capitalism, factoring the social and environmental footprint into how we evaluate and support corporations. Read more
Published on July 24, 2011 by Eric Jensen
4.0 out of 5 stars An insightful, academic read for those serious about change
Simon Mainwaring is on a mission. His philosophy about how companies and brands can do good, as well as doing well, is admirable, and something everyone can learn from. Read more
Published on June 29, 2011 by Mary Henige
5.0 out of 5 stars A book not just thought leaders; but anyone old enough to comprehend...
Put behavioral economics, corporate social responsibility and social media - Three topics causing quite a stir in the business community today; and you get "We First". Read more
Published on June 21, 2011 by Chris Ee
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More About the Author

Simon Mainwaring is a branding consultant, author, blogger and speaker. A former Nike creative at Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, and worldwide creative director for Motorola at Ogilvy, he is the founder and CEO of We First, a social branding consultancy that helps brands and creative companies use social media to reinvent their industries and our world.

He is a member of the GMI Digital Advisory Board, the Advisory Board of the Center for Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School, AdAge's Power150 and is an Expert Blogger for Fast Company. Most recently he was a guest of the Brookings Institute at the US-Islamic World Forum in Doha as part of their New Media working group and a speaker at the 2010 Cannes International Advertising Festival.

In 2011 Simon's first book entitled We First will be released that presents a new vision for the practice of capitalism, the role of the private sector, and for how brands and consumers use social media to build communities, profits and positive impact:

Simon has received over sixty international awards at the Cannes Advertising Festival, the One Show (U.S.) and the British Design & Art Direction Awards, among others. He studied Law and Fine Arts (1st Class Honors) at Sydney University and lives in Los Angeles. His website is, he blogs at and tweets @simonmainwaring


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