Posts con el tag ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’

Purpose brands: standing for something

In subjects like Business in Society, we think about what the truth is and the interrelationships between – and the future of – concepts such as CSR and social marketing. The eternal debate about the virtue of sales gains from CSR. Until once again managers find an alternative route to avoid arguing about organisations with a soul (it’s marketing that has a soul!). Let’s give the consumer a more credible value: brands have a soul; brands are becoming purpose-oriented.

When many companies have to fight to turn a profit while competing in price, new leaders emerge, such as Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo, the guest speaker at the recent ESADE Alumni Annual Conference. When digital media generate real-time conversations about companies’ activities and new ways for consumers to access information, consumers expect transparency, authenticity and higher standards of ethical conduct.

Philips has its own index to measure the number of lives the company improves each year, calculated using an algorithm that looks at demand for products directly related to health and how many people those products have affected. Today, Philips is a purpose brand: this KPI explains who they are as a company, their courage to stand for something. This is the only benefit they bring to the world, beyond the proposal of Milton Friedman. And like Philips, there are also the companies ranked by Radley Yeldar, for example.

These are brands that, without being perfect, bring out the enthusiasm in consumers and the talent of the millennial generation that they want to attract. Brands that offer to become part of the solution. When we talk about brands in the non-profit sector, we talk about advocacy or relief brands. But profit-oriented companies are starting to talk about creating movement brands.

Do they work? Take a look at the three following purposes. If you can identify the brands that have these purposes, you’ll know it works.

  • To empower creative exploration and self-expression.
  • To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world (everybody is an athlete).
  • To help women reconsider and redefine what beauty is.

Want more? Attend the ESADE Alumni conference on purpose brands in early 2017.

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Big players, big marketing

Is social marketing for real? We often get this question during Q&A after our sessions at ESADE, in both the BBA and Executive Education programmes. Social marketing sounds appealing – especially to managers – but is it for real?

Let’s take a look at some big players recently mentioned by Knowledge@Wharton:

-          Amy Chen wanted to put PepsiCo on the cutting edge of figuring out new business models that generate revenue while also having a social impact. She developed a plan for a social business incubator and was given one hour to pitch it to PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi. Thus was born Food for Good, an initiative whose mission is “to make healthy food physically and financially accessible for low-income families through sustainable, business-driven solutions”. It’s a fascinating social approach. In marketing terms, as Amy noted, “The task of selling oatmeal to someone is a lot harder than getting them to eat a bag of Doritos.”

-          On March 16, Howard Schultz launched Starbucks’s “Race Together” campaign: the company’s baristas were asked to write the words “Race Together” on customers’ cups as a way to stimulate conversations on race issues. The final result: customers were skeptical, thinking there was an ulterior motive. But, as Prof. Kenneth Shropshire said, “Starbucks is the kind of enterprise that can really have an impact in the long run.” Schultz has no intention of giving up, and will keep trying to stimulate conversations and empathy.

-          Under new CEO Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s recently announced that its US locations would stop selling chicken raised with antibiotics, in an effort to provide safe and healthy food. Difficulties are expected; McDonald’s is still expected to be the fastest and the cheapest. But Steve Easterbrook thinks of himself as an “internal activist”, eager to change the way his company is perceived through a strategic move that has been described as smart marketing that is also beneficial to customers’ health.

As leaders and internal activists, these three CEOs are surfing the markets, thinking ahead to understand what the market wants, and not being cocky by going into a wave that could crush them. Big players, big marketing, real impact.

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Care as the best marketing strategy

We are launching a new section on this blog: the Student Series. After five years of teaching subjects on the social effects of marketing, we thought it was vital to offer different students a space to share their thoughts on the topic.

Sonia Glushkovsky is a student in the International Bachelor of Business Administration (iBBA) programme at the Schulich School of Business in Toronto, Canada, specialising in Marketing and Operations Management. She is currently studying at the ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, as part of an exchange programme.

Gary Vaynerchuk once noted, ‘The best marketing strategy ever? Care.’ The Oxford Dictionary defines the verb ‘to care’ as ‘Feel concern or interest; attach importance to something’. Therefore, businesses need to be interested in ‘something’, but what? Profit?  Themselves? The answer is society, an important stakeholder for any caring business anywhere in the world.

 Of course, that ‘care’ needs to be authentic and genuine, and not simply a hollow message communicated in a marketing campaign. To achieve a win-win situation, efforts must focus on areas that are aligned with the corporate strategy. A company’s internal corporate culture (values) and daily business operations shape its image and can alter profits dramatically. Many companies have corporate social responsibility programmes and focus on ethical issues such as environmental stewardship, providing safe and equal working conditions, and supporting local charities and communities. Even Henry Ford once said, ‘A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.’

 Not only does caring make you feel like a good citizen, it boosts your company’s image, reputation, and brand in the eyes of both your customers and the public at large. Partnering with local charities that support your values is a prime example. The intangible and tangible benefits to be gained from social marketing are unlimited, from empowering your employees in order to increase productivity and loyalty to generating free publicity in the media.

 Many companies use social marketing to differentiate themselves in the market. Coca-Cola, for instance, has partnered with the World Wildlife Fund’s campaign to protect polar bears. For animal lovers and conscientious soft-drink consumers around the world, the polar bear effort is a decisive factor when choosing between Coke and Pepsi. 

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What are managers busy about?

You hear about companies that are interested in, that develop, and that implement CSR. You also hear about customers who require a more socially responsible attitude from companies — although when it comes to spending money, they remain distrustful of these activities. And you also hear about companies that have adopted market-orientation processes as a competitive strategy but have yet to decide where society fits in as a stakeholder.

ESADE’s programmes allow us to interact with managers who are responsible for prioritising the various aspects mentioned above. Today’s managers have shown a growing interest in combining both orientations. Is this mainly because they strive to gain competitive advantage, or because they prioritise on the basis of their personal values?

At the end of the day, CSR implementation, the market orientation, and the possible interrelationships between the two — societal marketing, social marketing initiatives, shared value strategies — depend on managers and their personal values:

-          CSR has been interpreted as decision-making based on economic reputation management. However, whenever someone goes above and beyond the legal limits on responsibility, we must ask ourselves if that individual’s behaviour is better explained by his or her personal values. This would be a form of CSR in which managers assume responsibility for identifying and adapting to the interests of citizens affected by the company’s actions.

-          The market orientation is developed within the paradigm of stakeholder theory. Once again, individual managers are responsible for deciding which stakeholders are given priority. Various studies, including the McKinsey Global Surveys, have found managers who work in a society-oriented manner because it allows them to maximise potential shareholder value while also addressing personal concerns such as global warming.

To reinterpret Henry David Thoreau, managers not only must maximise their dedication — like worker ants — but they must also ask themselves, “What are we busy about?”

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Would you like to be described as a game-changer?

Pulling off a successful marketing campaign/project that has social impact is easier said than done. In my own work with the SCACS advertising team we’ve tried to this; aiming for excellence of the Booker T Washington type – “excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”

The kinds of campaigns that generate these sorts of remarks can, I think, be described as “excellent”:

  • “they are also providing a significant change in redefining the standards of advertising and the unrealistic ideals for the way women look”
  • “this campaign is a game-changer for advertising and more should follow in their footsteps”; “a powerful video, but it doesn’t mean is perfect”;
  • “a campaign that shows how a company chooses when and how to jump into the commercials landscape with the right marketing scheme”
  • “women have reportedly wept over this video, and who could blame them?”

Any idea which campaign I’m talking about? Did you work out who the critics are getting themselves into a lather over? Just a cream soap.

Marketing campaigns that link to societal issues can be game-changers. Check out the examples on Publizia, a fantastic blog that compiles the best advertising samples. Count how many are linked to social issues, both in societal marketing terms or as social marketing campaigns.

A nine day’s wonder?. Last check, Coke ad bringing tears to your eyes.


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Why charity needs to get down to business

“Charity industry” is a concept that usually produces an awkward silence when introduced in our management program for NGO.

We introduce the concept by means of a famous quote by Bernard Koucher (cofounder of MSF):  “If you want to achieve something in this area, you have to be a businessman and be sensitive to advertising and marketing … If you do not agree that the law of the market is also valid for the charity industry, you get your nowhere introduction”.

To most nonprofit managers, charity industry reads like an oxymoron; exempt as they consider themselves to be from the mundane considerations of business.

But the “b word” is the reality of the situation. In the US alone there are a whopping 1.4 million separate nonprofit entities, making up 10% of the total economy.

Nonprofit organizations are not exempt from the notion of “industry” and all its concomitant human problems: job insecurity, a bit of corruption here and there, not much transparency; not to mention a lack of clear incentives attached to operational efficiency (probably because donor euros are not regarded as investments).

As a result, the charity business is increasingly perceived as the unsavory side of humanitarian intervention.

Let’s take a tour of what’s been said about it in the last few months alone.

First there’s Arte TV’s investigation, which highlighted numerous instances of fund-raising activities that had gobbled up most of the donations – in some cases up to 100%, meaning that not a single cent arrived at its intended destination.

Then there’s Valentina Furlanetto’s book, “L’industria della Carità” which sheds light on the “hidden side” of charity: a litany of inefficiencies, delays, misuse of funds and exploitation of labor.

And there’s also With Charity for All from Ken Stern a provocative examination of this billion dollar industry; because, yes, an industry is what it is.

Let’s talk marketing.

To increase their chances of achieving stated goals, organizations should think in terms of value: value to mass media, to donators, to citizens, to volunteers, even to workers.

If they don’t, they are doomed to suffer all the usual human and organizational failures.

And to lead a new, strategic approach to market orientation, we need professional leaders, as illustrated in this brilliant (as usual) TED talk.

We’re at a crossroads. And what we need are management leaders to fully develop the charity industry. And create some meaningful standards, may be an innovative Corporate Social Responsibility approach.


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Political consumerism, confianza y desconfianza


Una de las formas apasionantes del marketing en su dimensión social es el denominado political consumerism: “the use of market action as an arena for politics, and consumer choice as a political tool”, como define Michelle Michelleti en el libro Politics, Products and Markets. Bajo este epígrafe, que recoge diferentes formas de activismo consumista existentes desde hace años, se pueden investigar todos los comportamientos del ciudadano como consumidor que con su compra intenta apoyar o castigar ciertos comportamientos sociales de las empresas; y por ende todas las actividades de marketing que deciden crear un valor vinculado a este deseo del consumidor de realizar boycotts o buycotts.


España ha sido en los últimos años un laboratorio único en el uso del political consumerism en su dimensión de compre usted a aquellos que están por crear confianza en el país, y destacamos varios ejemplos fascinantes de marketing:

- Un proyecto del 2009 innovador, confuso, fracasado. Una narrativa que habla de un profesional del marketing jaime que con su esposa Susana deciden darle una vuelta a la situación de desanimo del país. Lo presentan a las Cámaras de Comercio, quienes logran la unánime adscripción de varias grandes compañías españolas (Banco de Santander, Telefónica), y generan la Fundación Confianza. Con una dotación de 30.000€ se plantea como objetivos: mejorar la imagen de España, estimular la mejora de la competitividad de las empresasestimular la mejora de la competitividad de las empresas y de la economía españolas, promover el desarrollo económico y social de España y mejorar la percepción de España como marca. Proyecto confuso, desarraigado, apoyado de modo sorpendente por diversas personalidades, y atacado y desarmado por el PP que sospechó de que había demasiado political consumerism por el PSOE. Agencia de publicidad McCann Erickson

- el curriculum de todos. Campaña publicitaria de Campofrío en diciembre 2012 basada en: ”Lo mejor que puedes hacer cuando estás desanimado es mirar lo que has conseguido, porque ya lo hiciste”. Porqué como defiende la responsable creativa de la campaña “es inadmisible que hace 10 años se hablara del milagro español, y ahora nos saquen en la prensa internacional comiendo del cubo de basura”. Agencia McCann. Spot analizado un blog como “todos estos elementos hacen de esta campaña uno de los productos propagandísticos que mejor sintetiza la visión de la realidad que el establishment corporativo español quiere vendernos desde el inicio de esta crisis económica y constitucional. Uno que asume además las críticas de la indignación popular, pero para neutralizarla”.

-  la confianza une a un país, nunca dejaremos de confiar en el futuro, el país está lleno de personas y proyectos en los que se puede confiar. Última campaña del Banco de Santander, agencia esta vez TBWA. Una campaña que parece estar sufriendo en las redes sociales, aunque estas seguramente no representan a su target objetivo

Ejemplos de como mezclar política, productos y mercados; y como generar confianza, o desconfianza



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Consumers speak with their wallets

Un reciente artículo de Knowledge Wharton apela en su título a una área nuestra de investigación que nos apasiona, y sin embargo tememos que no logramos comunicar optimamente (como profesores, investigadores o referentes públicos): el poder del consumidor, la capacidad del ciudadano de escoger y transformar mediante su acto de compra. Y como puede llegar a ser más poderoso en esta vertiente que en unas elecciones donde por un lado no sabe escoger, la oferta es muy limitada y el marketing político le puede (ver nuestro artículo de esta semana marketing político estimulante). En definitiva como cuenta la viñeta de la agencia de Seattle Egg, como los consumidores querrán redefinir los valores de sus proveedores

“When values collide, consumers speak with their wallets”. Apasionante cada una de las conclusiones parciales: los consumidores actuamos al ver que los valores que intuíamos no se cumplen; las ONG deben ser mucho más consistentes en sus declaraciones que una empresa privada, porque en la filantropía no recibimos más que la convicción de que es el mejor partner para conseguir un mundo mejor; aunque generar ruido tiene un valor de acceso a los medios, mejor evitar colisiones en valores.

Una de las conclusiones la vemos reflejada en la tendencia Flawsome de otro web imprecindible como es Trendwatching. Como una organización debe tender a poder hacer desnudos frontales completos, “no solo ser transparente sino desnudo y orgulloso”. Si realmente creemos que los consumidores acabarán hablando con su poder de compra, debemos tender a generar organizaciones que puedan soportar realizar desnudos completos, y de cada uno de sus profesionales implicados. Algo con lo que no casualmente empezó el político Albert Rivera en su inicio en política.

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Pride: when social issues become strategic

McKinsey Quarterly hablaba en un artículo suyo de referencia sobre “When social issues become strategic”: la última frontera donde sorprender a los stakeholders; pero también donde generar afectos insoslayables, boicots y las mayores controversias.

Pepsico ha lanzado una leche con un simple arcoíris en el packaging, y ya han saltado avezados miembros del grupo activista de turno detectando oscuros intentos de promover la sexualidad libre. Como mínimo la controversia generada en su día por General Mills apoyando explícitamente la libertad sexual era originada por un valor, no por un diseñador bucólico. Y el caso más reciente ha sido directo, claro, explícito, estratégico: Oreo “proudly support love”, aunque también deba aclarar en el pie de foto que la galleta fotografiada tiene “creme colors that do not exist”. Resultado: 27 millones de seguidores en Facebook debatiendo entre el apostolado y los abandonos; 300.000 likes, y un estudio de ForSight detectando la adhesión inquebrantable del 67% de los fans; exconsumidores llorando y escupiendo por ser la misma Oreo que lamía con su hijo.

Pueden o deben expresar las marcas su postura social, su postura política? Es preferible pecar de aburrido, de neutro sin conflictos, o expresar valores que generen pasión?.  Como dijo el Presidente de Coca-Cola en España (apoyando tanto las Jornadas Mundiales de la Juventud de Benedicto XVI como el Love Parade de Berlín), una marca no debe tener opinión?.

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Collaborative consumption: should marketers be afraid?

La frase de la cabecera llamó nuestra atención: hay retos que deben asustar a marketing? somos leones o somos corderos? quién es el tal consumo colaborativo?.

Quizá tal consumo es de los pocos modelos alternativos al modelo económico, insostenible, actual. Recopilamos diferentes estudios: hoy disponemos de 15 veces más propiedades per cápita que nuestros abuelos; en United Kingdom se calcula que hay 16 millones de habitaciones vacías; el usuario de un servicio de automovil compartido lo utiliza en promedio un 40% menos; la nueva generación Reset nacidos entre el ’86 y el ’92 no comparten el valor de la propiedad (y sino solo hace falta el efecto Spotify o streaming service); o sume Ud los objetos en propiedad que tiene (excluidas vajillas y cuberterias) y comparelo con el promedio en Francia de simplemente 4.000 objetos.

El consumo colaborativo (trueque, sharing, bicing, couchsurfing, crowdfunding, laundry services,…) es “disruptive”, perturbador para el sistema. Por un lado ningún sector aguantaría hoy una bajada del 10% de usuarios que evolucionaran al “no-propiedad”. Segundo porque ya George Bush alertó de que ”the more ownership there is in America, the more vitality there is in America”.

Ahora solo hace falta decidir si asustarse o aprovechar, como Mu o Car2Go , el efecto Zipcar. Y no hablamos de ser green, odiar este modelo o ser socialmente responsable: es puro societal marketing, ser capaz como organización de crear valor a nuevos ciudadanos consumidores.

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