Peter Merholz told me I should read Conley, and he was not wrong. This interesting book explores marketing in socially-aware organizations. Conley runs a chain of small hotels that try to be great places to work, in an industry that is not known for its enlightened employment policies. I really like his Hotel Rex, and we’ve had Tinderbox weekends there several times; an aside in this volume explains what I like about the Rex and another aside explains what the plan for the Rex actually was. Eric Friedenwald-Fishman runs a socially responsible bank. How do these organizations use their social stance in their marketing — and how do they use their marketing materials to advance their cause?
Many of the recommendations here are familiar. Most, indeed, are common sense. Too much is made of success; like most business books, we assume that the bottom line justified (and is explained by) the practices we’re studying. There’s not much attention to thing that go wrong. (In my experience of business, things are always going wrong. Why do people in case studies never have that problem?)