CMO vs. CSO: 8 Steps to Bridge the Divide That Could Undo Your Business

It’s heartening to see so many large corporations, both B2B and B2C, intensifying sustainability efforts across how they source and manufacture their products, manage their business and employees, and market their brands’ success. Yet as long as marketing and sustainability efforts remain siloed on the basis of outdated organizational, budget, and marketing practices, these brands continue to run the risk of failing to meet marketplace, business, and customer demands that are the key to their survival. Here’s why and what to do about it.

1. Reality Check: Leadership in most major corporations are proving too slow to recognize and respond to the reality of today’s marketplace because their business is too invested in business models, media plans, and profit centers of the past. Meanwhile, 87% of global consumers believe that business needs to place at least equal weight on society’s interests as on business’ interests, and only 20% of brands worldwide are seen to meaningfully positively impact people’s lives. These consumer expectations are driven by a heightened consumer awareness of the multiple social challenges we face and a growing activism among customers to punish irresponsible brand behavior. In fact, only 6% believe the singular purpose of business is to make money for shareholders.

Taking Action: Breathe new life into the mission of your brand by aligning its business around core values shared with your customer base so that your brand becomes relevant and meaningful to their lives.

2. Price of Entry: While there is heightened awareness of the need for sustainable practices among executives, employees and customers, many brands fall way short of what is needed for their business and society’s well-being. With so many large corporations making significant commitments, it is simply not enough to be sustainable. Sustainability is rapidly becoming the price of entry for doing business and must inform all aspects of your company, rather than be separated out in a separate division of the innovation or marketing departments.