An excellent analysis of content creation by Page member Alex Jutkowitz of Group SJR in a Harvard Business Review blog post includes this insightful comment:

Content, it seems, has miraculously given brands a greater purpose. Brands are no longer merely peddling products; they're producing, unearthing, and distributing information. And because they do, the corporation becomes not just economically important to society, but intellectually essential as well.

The Page New Model of Enterprise Communication holds that enterprises should build a strong corporate character worthy of trust. An essential element of that character is the enterprise's purpose, and Page makes the case that the purpose not only should be to create customer and shareholder value, but broader social value as well. Enterprises whose activities benefit society are worthy of trust, and earn permission to operate.

I've always thought of this purpose as being related to the core business, with the idea being that the products and services created by the company should advance human wellbeing or progress. A pharmaceutical, hospital or health insurance company advancing human health, for example. Or a technology company providing solutions to vexing problems like public safety, energy efficiency and the like.

But this insight of Alex's broadens the ways for enterprises to build social value by recognizing their ability to use useful information to advance social causes, for example. This stunning video from Always, a Procter & Gamble feminine hygiene product brand, is a great case in point. See if you can watch it without being deeply moved.

Other companies use their publishing capability to advance understanding of important technical issues related to their expertise. In his HBR piece, Alex highlights GE's content publishing, which advances ideas about topics ranging from "aircraft mechanics to wind turbines."

In other words, enterprises now have the capability to build a better world not only by providing useful products and services that advance the human condition, but also by publishing information that advances human understanding and promotes progress.

For chief communications officers, many of whom have a background in or at least an affinity for journalism, this provides yet another way to add value to the enterprise in a direct and meaningful way.