Government Investments, Not Government Subsidies

government investments

The terms we use matter when designing and promoting public and social goods. I don’t like the term “subsidy” when applied to government programs. It lacks the related themes and ideas that I think we want associated with public spending. The term has also taken on negative connotations that further hinder strengthening our communities through the marketing of social goods. I prefer to think about government investments.

I’ll illustrate my point with a personal story from my early career at Microsoft.

Continue reading Government Investments, Not Government Subsidies

Infrastructure: Build sidewalks to build community

sidewalks build community
Flow chart showing benefits of sidewalks and walking

Sidewalks are infrastructure and infrastructure is a reflection of our social nature. Sidewalks are, or can be, important public spaces. They might, or could, be the public space with which we’re most familiar. Sidewalks build community and promote the healthy lifestyle and walkable neighborhoods that many people say they want.

Consider what happens on sidewalks: chalk drawings, tricycle rides, dog walks, hopscotch, jump rope, lemonade stands, neighborhood conversations, holding hands.

Continue reading Infrastructure: Build sidewalks to build community

Social goods, defined

definition of social goods

This blog needs a definition of “social goods.” That’s a bit difficult, though. Even economists don’t have a clear and agreed-upon definition. So by way of definition, let’s discuss the characteristics and problems of social goods, and how those characteristics pose problems for traditional marketing activities such as design, distribution, pricing and promotion.

Continue reading Social goods, defined

Marketing the Social Good: Top Five Posts of 2015

Top Five

To continue bringing you topics of interest in the new year, I took a look back at what you read the most this year. Here are the top five posts published in 2015, as measured by your views:

Continue reading Marketing the Social Good: Top Five Posts of 2015

The power of distribution: free school lunch in the summer

Food Truck in a School Bus

School’s out for the summer, but it’s not always a happy time for kids.  For students participating in the federal free and reduced lunch program, summer time can mean going hungry.  Many schools continue to offer subsidies meals during the summer, but not all students can trek to school during the summer when buses are no longer running.

Continue reading The power of distribution: free school lunch in the summer

The power of design: infrastructure savings of $720 billion

Bridge Construction

Infrastructure in the United States is in disrepair. In 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers graded the country’s infrastructure as D+ and estimated $3.6 trillion needed to be invested by 2020.

How can a marketing mindset help governments address this problem?

Continue reading The power of design: infrastructure savings of $720 billion