In Brands We Trust: Pink Cadillacs and the Art of Giving

In business, establishing and maintaining long-term trust relationships between your brand and your customers is easier said than done. In the world of woman’s cosmetics and beauty products that challenge is even more daunting when you consider the discerning taste woman have for the products they use on their skin, hair, and body each day.   

An example of a company driving trust and reputation of their brand is Mary Kay. Founded in 1963 and with an initial $5,000 investment by entrepreneur and philanthropist Mary Kay Ash, Mary Kay is a company that continues to live up to the ideals, passion, and brand of trust that was embodied within its spirited founder.

Mary Kay has become a dominant brand among women globally. The company now has more than $3.5 billion in global wholesale revenue generated by 3 million Independent Beauty Consultants who offer more than 200 premium products in more than 35 countries worldwide. The company has competed on innovation and the ability to produce superior products that women want. But the true power of the Mary Kay brand and their thriving business has been the ability to build, maintain, and grow trust, particularly with their sales representatives and customers.

Beginning in 1969 the company began awarding its top five independent Sales Directors with the infamous pink Cadillac to reinforce the positive potential of women. By 1979 one of the company’s original Independent Beauty Consultants surpassed the $1 million in lifetime commissions, the first time in Mary Kay’s corporate history. By 1984 and after 20 years in business the company was featured in Fortune magazine’s “The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America”.

In 1996 the company established the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation which is currently known as The Mary Kay FoundationSM, a nonprofit which provides funding for preventing violence against women and to support research of cancers which affect women. In this same year the company’s global wholesale sales exceed $1 billion for the first time.

By 2009 Mary Kay’s global sales exceed $2.5 billion and as their sales force reached 2 million people worldwide. By 2010’s the company was celebrating key milestones including their 30th anniversary in business in Argentina (2010) and their decade of business in Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Philippines, and Slovakia (2010). In 2013 the company celebrated 50 years of business in the U.S.

In 2014 Mary Kay announced that their Beauty That Counts® global cause-related marketing program would donate $2.50 from each sale of their limited edition Journey of Dreams™ Eau du Toilette fragrances. The proceeds will be support The Mary Kay Foundation’sSM shelter grant program which provides financial support to women’s shelters across the U.S., serving the needs of domestic violence survivors. Mary Kay’s Beauty That Counts® campaigns have led to the donation of more than $7 million (USD) to organizations that benefit women and children throughout the world.

When it comes to manufacturing, packaging, and distribution of their cosmetics, Mary Kay is not using excessive concealer. The company’s Environmental Policy anchors their commitment to pollution prevention, resource conservation, regulatory compliance, and continual improvement. In addition, Mary Kay has enveloped alternative and more sustainable forms of energy and materials into the manufacture, packaging and distribution of their products. The Mary Kay® Botanical Effects™ product line, for example, is made of 50% post-consumer resin, and their cartons are comprised of 100% post-consumer recycled materials.

The company has, since 2008, reduced its total transportation carbon-footprint by 33%. And, the company has reduced water consumption at their global manufacturing facility by nearly 20%. These accomplishments are just a small sample of the corporate-wide environmental sustainability initiatives Mary Kay has in place (other initiatives include recycling, tree planting, renewable material use, energy conservation, and carbon reductions).

Trust relationships are built and sustained over time by action, authenticity, and accountability. Mary Kay’s choice to leverage their iconic brand toward social causes of consequence is a testament to their leadership and decision to be a company that wants to be trusted by their Independent Beauty Consultants, their customers, and by society. In the act of driving positive trust-based relationships, Mary Kay is demonstrating how leading companies can be a force to mobilize humanity toward a more sustainable future.

 

Mark Coleman is the author of “Time to Trust: Mobilizing Humanity for a Sustainable Future” and “The Sustainability Generation: The Politics of Change and Why Personal Accountability is Essential NOW!” Mr. Coleman is President of Convergence Mitigation Management (CMM), a management consultancy focused in the areas of sustainability, risk, and innovation. Mr. Coleman resides in the Finger Lakes region of New York with his wife Aileen and two boys, Owen and Neal.

Follow Mark on Twitter @TheSustainGen.

Learning to trust as we look through the fishbowl of life: growing up, getting old, giving back

Do you remember a time when all you wanted to do was to be like the bigger kids? The bigger kids were cool. They were faster, stronger, and older. When you’re young the bigger kids are idolized for how they dress, talk, and behave. It always appeared as if the big kids had more responsibility and freedom; they stayed up later, got to talk on the phone longer, and played more active sports. But as we age we learn that getting older is not as cool or as romantic as our young minds once perceived. In fact, the curiosity and excitement of our youth is perhaps as free as we ever are.

While youth yearn to be older, adults fondly recall the allure of childhood.  We gain wisdom as we age. Wisdom is collected and achieved from our life experiences. Although life’s lessons seem to manifest into wisdom later in life, when our bodies and minds have been well worn; it is never too late to remind ourselves to continue to discover that which provides us with a sense of promise and possibility. Youth does not interpret the things such as limits, controls, risks, and boundaries the manner in which adults do.

My 6-year old son is always telling me he wants to be older. His 4-year old brother has caught on to the “older is cooler” bandwagon as well. I tell them both that they are the perfect age, full of wonder and delight with the world around them, much like the way they have both gazed at their new friend, “Sunny Coleman,” a tropical freshwater Betta Fish species. The boys adore their new friend and member of the household.

 The wonder of life

The wonder of life

Sunny is wonderful and a joy to have around. As far as pets for kids go, he is low maintenance. He doesn’t bark, scratch, itch, growl, snarl, hiss, poop, pee, or smell. Sunny is peaceful and beautiful.

Most importantly, Sunny has already begun to capture the imagination of the boys. For example, my wife and I were delighted when the boys wanted to watch Sunny instead of the iPad at meal time. Sunny has shifted the boys’ focus from YouTube, video games, and other electronics stimulation. Don’t get me wrong, they still love their iPad time, but with Sunny in the home they now take time out to learn about and care for another form of life.

As I see the emotional and cognitive growth of my two sons motivated by a fish they named Sunny, it reminds me of the power of life, in all of its forms. Humans are fascinated by all that is alive, as life makes us flourish individually and collectively. The diversity of life is so important to our wellbeing, yet each day “adults” make deliberate decisions to destroy life.

 Sunny Coleman

Sunny Coleman

Whether we are at odds with each other’s religious or political ideology or choose to harm others for economic gain, the adult version of the wide-eyed children we once were is disturbing. War, terror, sex trafficking, child abuse, animal cruelty, ecologic damages - - these are indicators of anti-life behaviors. To end these behaviors we need to teach and show our youth a different, more progressive and promising side of humanity. The child daydreaming as they stare into the fish tank today may be the adult glaring out of an armored tank tomorrow.

Youth looks at the world as it is, raw and naked, and continues to see the value of life and its potential. In doing so they and often remind us “adults” of what truly matters in life. I’ve been grounded many times by my sons asking tough questions: Why do people fight? Where does God live? Why do we throw things away or waste them?  

These questions have direct answers; they also have multiple points-of-view and interpretations. The questions are difficult to address with 4-and-6 year old children because the honest answer is either “I don’t really know” or, “because adults are foolish and not as wise as we think we are, or as we should be.”

Most adults don’t want to admit they don’t have the answer, or let on that as we age we tend to become more rigid, pessimistic, and narrow-minded regarding our view of the world around us. Sadly, the fishbowl begins to look and feel less promising as we allow our life experiences, good and bad, shape our perceptions, values, and beliefs of the world around us.  

It’s time to change. It has been so for far too long. The question is whether "you, me, and WE" have the ability to put trust in ourselves and each other to truly make our world a better place. Our generation is the last hope to step up to the plate and do something to change our world. I believe that we can rediscover the power of trust to lead a Sustainability Generation forward.

Think big but begin small. Start in your home, your neighborhood, your community. But don’t stop there! Don’t stop yourself from seeing the world as the child looking at his new fish does, full of wonder, possibility, and potential. It’s time for us to show our children that we (and they) can become all that we have ever dreamed to be.

It's time to trust ourselves to openly address when and where unsustainable and destructive behaviors manifest and perseverate in society. It's time to trust our generation to mobilize, lead change, and to take swift action toward a more sustainable future. It's time to trust ourselves to see the world as we once did, full of potential and limitless opportunity.

 

Mark Coleman is the author of “Time to Trust: Mobilizing Humanity for a Sustainable Future” and “The Sustainability Generation: The Politics of Change and Why Personal Accountability is Essential NOW!” Mr. Coleman is President of Convergence Mitigation Management (CMM), a management consultancy focused in the areas of sustainability, risk, and innovation. Mr. Coleman resides in the Finger Lakes region of New York with his wife Aileen and two boys, Owen and Neal.

Follow Mark on Twitter @TheSustainGen.

Trust is Essential to Success

The greatest barrier to success is "you, me, and WE."

Success means different things to different people, however most would agree that being happy, healthy, and loved are key elements of success; if not the essential requirements for enjoying success.

Living life with a sense of passion, purpose, balance, and resolve are ways in which we can be accountable to ourselves and to all of the great people that come into and out of our life. Perhaps the single biggest contributor to personal accountability and success is trust. "Are we viewed by others as trusted individuals? Can we put our faith and trust into other people?"

 For more information see  www.timetotrustbook.com

For more information see www.timetotrustbook.com

These questions come up more frequently than one might imagine, even if they are inquired and reconciled within our subconscious. The foundation of success, then, is intimately entwined with how we value, understand, manage, and foster trust.

Trust is not only something we put into others. The act of trusting is but one dimension of this life-essential element. Trust is what others put into us and what we also put into ourselves. Trust is at a minimum a two way street. But more often than not, trust is a six-lane highway, international airport, racetrack, space mission, rollercoaster, and off-road excursion on an ATV. Trust is a wild ride of asymmetrical inputs, perceptions, data, feelings, opinions, facts, and behaviors.

Trust is is inherent in every human engagement and interaction. While measures of success are subjective, there is no doubt that happiness is a goal for many people.The more we understand and sense just how omnipresent trust is in our life, the more we can ensure we foster trust relationships and interactions in ways that support our true self and individual happiness.

Mark Coleman is the author of “Time to Trust: Mobilizing Humanity for a Sustainable Future” and “The Sustainability Generation: The Politics of Change and Why Personal Accountability is Essential NOW!” Mr. Coleman is President of Convergence Mitigation Management (CMM), a management consultancy focused in the areas of sustainability, risk, and innovation. Mr. Coleman resides in the Finger Lakes region of New York with his wife Aileen and two boys, Owen and Neal.

Follow Mark on Twitter @TheSustainGen