Are purpose and ESG-communication losing their magic? Have people grown tired of grandiose purpose-statements from companies and CEOs? Is the market space becoming cluttered with sustainability messaging and the effect wearing off? Are people in challenging economic times choosing value for money over values?
These are all questions I’ve been asking myself lately.
The appointment of a Unilever’s new CEO, Hein Schumacher, doesn’t make these questions more pressing as it might seem the purpose-pioneer is searching for profits beyond purpose. I’ve been covering Super Bowl for +10 years as the massive marketing investment in this mega event conveys a message of what’s to come.
The virtue signalling was almost gone. The diversity agenda deducted to an infantile and divisive discussion about M&Ms cartoon characters. Climate … no response besides car companies trying to blow their minuscule investments into electric vehicles out of proportion. Maybe we simply failed the movement? We basically weren’t good enough at translating the pressing societal issues from climate emergency to a social divide into what matters in people’s lives. Over the last 3 years, I’ve shared my story about how I lost faith in purpose from my first book Goodvertising, to my latest book The Hero Trap. We need to ask new questions! We need to create a citizen, life-centric approach to the change needed.
Take smoking; your doctor can tell you to quit those cigarettes. Your loved one’s can plead and push you. Adverts can try and scare you. But, at the end of the day, only you can make that choice.
In 2023, when people are struggling, we need leaders who have our backs. We need leaders who can tell engaging narratives where you and I matter. What’s your take?