I recently watched the movie “Hancock” on TV and saw something interesting. The movie used a superhero as a metaphor for big corporations and their responsibility to give back.
Granted, it’s not a new movie, I think it’s still relevant. The basic plot focuses on a drunk, crass, and lazy superhero with a bad temper. Where most superheroes would be praised for their crime fighting, Hancock has no interest in helping the mortals around him. When he does make an effort, it tends to do more harm than good thus people see his actions as selfish and devoid of responsibility for any collateral damage he may cause.
Along comes a soft-spoken PR strategist with big ideas, unfortunately nobody listens to what he is proposing. What’s his big idea? Corporations should give things away for free to those who need it, show the world that even the biggest corporations have a responsibility to help the little guy. He’s pitching CSR and gets laughed at. “Are you high, son?” one of the executives asks.
Eventually, our PR pro haphazardly crosses paths with Hancock and sees his true potential. What if this dirty, angry superhero changed his image? Would people find respect for the once hated hero if he started giving back to the community instead of damaging it?
At this point, the parallel between our superhero and giant corporations should be pretty obvious. What I found interesting was the fact that a superhero and a corporation could even be compared. When thinking about big businesses, I never envision a superhero with enormous power, flying above the city skylines. Yet, in an abstract way, they do have something in common: the power and means to help.
I suppose the sentiment comes down to one important thought. Whether you’re a caped hero or a multi-national conglomeration, if you have the capacity to “save the world” it becomes your responsibility to do so. If you had super-human powers, your destiny would be to put them to use helping others. The same goes for corporations and their abilities.
What do you think of this comparison? Should corporations take a page from comic books?
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