Power and pitfalls of social media: Kenneth Cole

Social media has not only changed the way people communicate witheach other but how global brands look to connect to theirpotential customers.

Power and pitfalls of social media: Kenneth Cole

Increasingly, companies are now blurring the lines betweenbusiness and morality to engage with the hearts and minds ofconsumers in addition to their pocketbooks.

Fashion designer Kenneth Cole has been on the leading edge ofcorporate social activism for decades, making provocativecommentary on controversial issues of the day through the company'spun-driven advertising. "I was able to marry all of my personaland the brand's sentiments together in our messaging."

He said Friday, in a CNBC interview, that social responsibilityhas become part of the way of doing business. "We've been able to… connect to people on not just what they stand in but whatthey stand for, not just what they look like on the outside butwho they are on the inside."

For example, Kenneth Cole Productions, the company he foundedmore than 30 years ago, was one of the first companies topublicly show support for gay rights in the 1990s—years before this summer's Supreme Court ruling that same-sexcouples have the right to marry.