Steve Hilton believes there's money in being nice. Putting theory into practice, the 29 year old former M&C Saatchi ad man has devised a new brand, 'Good', around which he and business partner Giles Gibbons intend to build a profitable group.
So far, it extends to two ventures. The first, a consultancy called Good Business, advises clients such as British Airways and BSkyB on how to create and market socially responsible brands. All else being equal, consumers would rather buy a washing machine from a company contributing to a Costa Rican relief effort than from one with junk bonds in Paraguay. 'Brands are the 'credible messengers' through which people's attitudes, and therefore society, can be changed,' Hilton says.
The second venture, The Good Cook, is a restaurant in a community arts centre in west London, serving decent food at greasy-spoon prices. 'First-rate food is not just for the rich,' says Hilton, who has invested his own money in the project.
Hilton, whose CV includes Conservative Central Office in the glory years, knows a successful brand when he sees it. He got the idea for the 'Good' brand after handling an anti-racism campaign and finding that raising money for causes people believe in was relatively easy. By tapping into the Zeitgeist of responsible business in the community, Hilton could be on to a winner.