Top Insights Shared at 2015 Brand Leadership Summit

Simon Mainwaring / Brands / 2 years ago

Top Insights Shared at 2015 Brand Leadership Summit By Leading Brands including Levi’s, Virgin and Timberland

Reflecting on the amazing roster of speakers at this year’s Brand Leadership Summit and the quality of insights shared, we wanted to extend some key learnings to our community who may not have been able to attend. Below are select takeaways from each of the speakers, take a look, have a think on how they relate to your business, and share your thoughts with us.

CHALLENGE MEETS PURPOSE: INSIGHTS FROM PWC’S CHIEF PURPOSE OFFICER

Shannon Schuyler, PwC
Principal, Corporate Responsibility Leader, PwC & President, PwC Charitable Foundation

Key Takeaways:

  • Purpose must be material. We are seeing companies move away from framing purpose as strictly Corporate Responsibility (CR), and the criticality of framing purpose in terms of what is material to your business. From a materiality standpoint, we look at the things that make accountants and our services trusted, and decide what we may need to change. Asking questions such as, ‘What do we need to start/stop doing to stay true to our purpose?’
  • Purpose is personal. Purpose takes ideas that are universal and makes them personal. It is about taking global issues and making them individual. From an employee perspective, it is moving them from having a ‘transactional’ purpose to a ‘transcendent’ purpose, where employees find value in the work they are paid to do, rather than solely through more traditional employee engagement (volunteer) programs.
  • Purpose takes time. Purpose must be authentic and approached as a journey. To take hold in an organization, it has to seep through culture from many different angles such as: Peer-to-Peer; Embedding purpose in recruiting processes, Having conversations with different sectors and LOB’s leaders, Embedding purpose in client engagement processes, and Creating a hub where your people can talk about it and share stories together.
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Levi Strauss & Co.

SUSTAINABILITY AS A BUSINESS STRATEGY, NOT A BUZZWORD

Michael Kobori, Levi Strauss & Co.
Vice President, Sustainability

Key Takeaways:

  • Integrate sustainability. Sustainability commitments must be embedded throughout the entire business – and right onto the products themselves.
  • Bring consumers into the process. Make consumers aware that their actions matter. For Levi’s, this means consumers’ washing habits through to donating back used clothes so ‘they don’t go to waste’.
  • Be authentic. We cannot undervalue the importance of speaking in your brand voice and being authentic to who you are, especially when talking to consumers about sustainability. Levi’s sustainability storytelling efforts are entirely aligned with its brand values and personalities, recognizing that the stories, information and actions must be ‘fun’ in order to be adopted and authentic.

Colleen Vien, Timberland
Sustainability Director
Presentation Title:
SERVE IT UP! HOW TIMBERLAND ENGAGES EMPLOYEES ON A PATH OF SERVICE

Key Takeaways:

  • Importance of leadership. In order to rally an entire organization around its purpose and mission, leadership must be prepared to literally ‘roll up their sleeves’. Timberland’s notable Path of Service program began because leadership wanted to not only get employees out in the community a couple times a year, but also instill an excitement in them to do so outside of Timberland’s service program. Leadership also readily engages with all employees in their Annual Service Days.
  • Keep it simple. One of the best ways to engage employees is to keep it simple – the explanation or story, the requested actions, and the impact they create.
  • Create traditions. By developing company traditions, employees begin to develop expectations. For example, Timberland employees expect to have the opportunity to volunteer every year on specific service dates.
  • This year, Timberland celebrated 1 million hours of service since 1992.
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Sevenly, Sony Pictures Entertainment, THRIVE Farmers

SUSTAINABILITY STORYTELLING: HOW TO INSPIRE SUPPLIERS, EMPLOYEES & CUSTOMERS TO BECOME PASSIONATE ADVOCATES FOR YOUR BRAND & ITS IMPACT

Josh Aven, Sevenly
Co-Owner and CEO

Key Takeaways:

  • Go to market with a singular cause. Sevenly’s is to change the world
  • Create an experience within customers. First start with the customer’s heart, then validate with concrete facts.
  • Clearly define your mission and let it guide your business every day. Our mission is to ‘activate activism’.

John Rego, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Vice President, Sustainability
Presentation on Panel:
SUSTAINABILITY STORYTELLING: HOW TO INSPIRE SUPPLIERS, EMPLOYEES & CUSTOMERS TO BECOME PASSIONATE ADVOCATES FOR YOUR BRAND & ITS IMPACT

Key takeaways:

  • Be true to who you are as a business. Sony is in the business of powerful storytelling, and we are turning the lens to see how this can mobilize social and environmental impact.
  • Strength in numbers. Sony’s recent engagement with WWF’s earth hour demonstrates how seemingly disparate communities and countries can all rally behind one cause for our one planet.
  • Leverage your community. By bringing a notable entertainment figurehead – Spiderman – into the WWF earth hour program, greater attention and engagement was possible to achieve around the world.

SUSTAINABILITY STORYTELLING: HOW TO INSPIRE SUPPLIERS, EMPLOYEES & CUSTOMERS TO BECOME PASSIONATE ADVOCATES FOR YOUR BRAND & ITS IMPACT

Ken Lander, THRIVE Farmers
Founder and Chief Sustainability Officer

Key takeaways:

  • Be prepared to pivot your storytelling. THRIVE’s storytelling journey was an evolutionary one, pivoting from how to tell the story of a farmer direct supply chain and impact, to the value consumers receive in store and in the bag.
  • Be open to partnerships. THRIVE has seen tremendous success with its recent partnership with Chick-fil-A, though still recognizing this brand is of hot debate around its beliefs.
  • Don’t compromise. Find ways to collaborate and work with others to grow the business without compromising your brand values or principles.

UNAPOLOGETIC: THE NEW ERA OF COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING FOR GLOBAL ISSUES

Jennifer Kim Field, UN Foundation
Vice President, Global Partnerships

Key Takeaways:

  • Don’t underestimate the power of social media for information exchange. The global exposure and engagement of SDG’s has been tremendous, though, how people learned about them was rather unexpected.

The top place people discussed the SDG’s was on Twitter, and in the top 5 were also Facebook and Tumblr.

  • Listen first. Be prepared for the unexpected. And, be sure to manage consumer fatigue and over exposure – more is not always better.
  • Not just digital. Complement digital activations with offline (in-person) convening’s. For example, UN’s Social Good Summit Global Meet-Ups.
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Coca-Cola

WHY COLLABORATION IS ESSENTIAL TO BUILDING COMMUNITIES

Ricardo Caceres, The Coca-Cola Company
Global Marketing Director, Sustainability

Key takeaways:

  • Recognize your responsibility. As a global brand, The Coca-Cola Company’s reach is extensive through its many brands and product portfolio. Pairing a global outlook with a local approach and understanding is critical to creating impact.
  • Keep an open mind. Listen on the ground to people’s needs and develop specific programs that cater to each community.
  • Balance economic, social and environmental sustainability. As an example, Coca-Cola’s Acai beverage drink, brings new jobs to farmers, supports local communities, while also safeguarding biodiversity in its farming region.

REINVENTING LEADERSHIP: SUPER HERO TO SUPER COLLECTIVE

Jean Oelwang, Virgin Unite
President and Trustee

Key Takeaways:

  • Take an entrepreneurial approach to making an impact. At the epicenter of Virgin Group, Virgin Unite supports all businesses in the Group portfolio to develop sustainability programs and initiatives specific to their business and market. Providing each business the independence, bandwidth as well as support to design their own impact programs helps ensure ownership, buy-in and engagement. There’s also the entrepreneurial spirit in how Virgin Unite decides which issues to tackle, in keeping with Branson’s mantra of ‘not accepting the unacceptable’
  • Leverage your brand to address big challenges. Virgin Unite leverages the power and strength of the Virgin brand to address massive issues across socioeconomic and environmental sustainability around the world
  • Establish powerful, yet innately understandable, guiding pillars for the entire business. Virgin Unite has three core pillars applicable across its business: creating no harm to the planet, being 100% human in all they do, and having zero tolerance for corruption.

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