In this episode of, Can Marketing Save the Planet we spoke to Andy Last, Executive Partner, Purpose and Sustainability from MullenLowe, an end-to-end communications and creative services agency. Part of the MullenLow Group, who believe, ‘purpose is nothing without progress’, and we couldn’t agree more. We are in the definitive decade and progress at scale and pace is needed now more than ever.
We naturally discussed purpose, as sustainability continues to rise up the agenda and how purpose is misused and diluted, but also how it is often forgotten as organisations get swept away and distracted with so much going on and the need to focus on profit taking over. Andy explained, “if it stays in CSR and Corporate communication then it isn’t getting into the heart of the business, and that’s where the power comes from.”
The landscape is changing, innovation is changing, sentiment is changing and marketers need to be taking back the intelligence for strategic intent as this is where so much of the opportunity lies. Andy gave great examples such as Lifebuoy Soap (they invented the word BO) and how once their beliefs and actions were truly embedded into the heart of the brand and core purpose, gave way to brilliant innovations such as a liquid hand soap which turned green once children had washed their hands for more than 30 seconds. This connection back to their purpose which is to ‘make handwashing and sanitising a simple part of everyday routines.’ is what makes it real and measurable.
But, it’s not an easy path to navigate, Andy went on to talk about how “marketers have to understand the markets in which their products are operating is changing, and then to understand how to talk about them, but how to talk about them is becoming increasingly complex, because of accusations of greenwashing and legislation. And marketers have this difficult job of treading a path between these accusations of greenwashing, and not saying anything.”
We talked about who is doing well, and what drove those organisations to be the first movers. How brands have taken on social issues and knitted them into their business models with very clear benefits to both business and society.
Looking inwards, Andy also talked about the structural piece, and how important it is in order to make anything happen. There is a need for incentives, but ones which go beyond rewards, and are ‘part of the job’. We have to be educated and responsible, it’s in all of our roles to change the course we are on.
The theme of Marketers as changemakers continues… another great episode, with so many inspiring examples, grab a coffee and tune in!
And for more about MullowLowe - see here: https://www.mullenlowegroup.com/
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