Monday, April 14 was National Pecan Day in the U.S. A day to celebrate the deliciousness of this fruit (yes, fruit!) that is a staple in pies at all times of the year. As an award-winning pie baker and with my chosen Twitter handle @JApplePie, I felt inclined to sing the praises of the pecan on this special occasion.
Pecans are just simply one of the best ingredients a pie maker can hope for. So great, in fact, that nothing will do as a substitute in baking when your recipe calls for pecans, which is why I fear for my holiday baking needs. You see, at a current price of $18.99 per pound, the pecan is getting very, very expensive.
Have you ever dreamed what it might be like to you put 100 or so sustainability focused professionals in the same room and let a world renowned expert on green business strategy sit down to talk with the Harvard Business Review as the main entertainment? If so, last Wednesday at the Saatchi S offices your dreams came true. In what was an inspiring, challenging and frank conversation, Andrew Winston joined Adi Ignatius to discuss Winston’s new book, The Big Pivot and everyone heard the call to action loud and clear – “we live in a fundamentally changed world. It’s time for your approach to strategy to change, too.”
The good news is that Winston is optimistic rather than pessimistic. Phew!
“The Solutions Project” is what happens when a scientist, an actor, a banker and a filmmaker sit around a table talking about their opposition to extreme energy extraction. Their conversation in 2011 sparked an important realization – it wasn’t enough for them to be against something. They needed to be part of the solution. With a philosophy akin to Saatchi & Saatchi S’ belief that sustainability should be irresistible, Mark Jacobson, Mark Ruffalo, Marco Krapels and Josh Fox created The Solutions Project with a mission to use the powerful combination of science + business + culture to accelerate the transition to 100% clean, renewable energy. Our Saatchi & Saatchi S team has been lucky to partner with this exciting group, and recently sat down with Chief Operating Officer Jon Wank to talk solutions. Here’s what he had to say.
Tonight, Saatchi & Saatchi S is excited to be hosting the launch of Andrew Winston’s new book The Big Pivot: Radically Practical Strategies for a Hotter, Scarcer, and More Open World.
We will have a thought-provoking and inspiring evening of conversation, food and drink.
The event will kick off at 5 pm with a Q&A between Andrew Winston and Harvard Business Review (HBR) Editor-In-Chief Adi Ignatius. They will share insights about Andrew’s book and discuss the HBR April cover story entitled “Resilience in a Hotter World.”
After the discussion, Andrew and Adi will be available for questions, and Saatchi & Saatchi S invites you to stick around for conversation and networking.
5:00 – 5:45pm: Conversation between Andrew and Adi
5:45 – 8:00pm: Networking, food & drink
This is an invitation event only – if you wish to join us, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will confirm back that you on the guest list.
On March 20th, Saatchi & Saatchi S CEO Annie Longsworth was welcomed on the newly launched Sirius XM Wharton Business Radio segment Dollars and Change. The Wharton Social Impact Initiative (WSII) fuels this project with fresh and compelling insights from powerful thought leaders to educate companies on how to improve their bottom line through creating positive impact. Annie shared sustainability strategy and communication expertise with show hosts Katherine Klein, the Edward H. Bowman professor of management at the Wharton School and the Vice Dean for WSII, and Jacob Gray, the Senior Director for WSII in the excerpted transcription below, revealing ways that companies can capitalize on sustainability as a business opportunity and an invitation to irresistibility.
This year, and for the third consecutive year, Saatchi & Saatchi Italy has partnered with CoorDown to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day – 21st March. The 2014 focus is to promote the happiness and well-being of people with Down Syndrome. It’s a celebration of integration and diversity, a call to action that inspires us to re-think and act in a way that can make this world a little better. The campaign was designed in response to a letter received by CoorDown in which a pregnant mother who was expecting a child with Down Syndrome asked this simple, yet touching, question: “What kind of life will my child have?”
The author Isak Dinesen said that “to be a person is to have a story to tell.” Much like people, companies also have a story to tell that is often rooted in the concept of purpose including what value the company provides, what it stands for, and the beliefs that shape decision-making and action. Identifying and telling those stories has become increasingly important to corporate leaders as they strive to connect meaningfully with employees, customers, regulators, and other stakeholders. From sessions about the role of business at this year’s World Economic Forum to CEO Indra Nooyl promising Performance with Purpose for PepsiCo, purpose has taken center stage.
And rightly so. An increasing body of research shows robust links between a clear, strategically coherent purpose and corporate success indicators related to financial performance, brand and culture. Research by Burston-Marsteller in conjunction with Swiss business school IMD showed that a strong and well communicated corporate purpose can explain up to 17% of the variation in economy-wide financial performance.
While corporate leaders embrace purpose and believe it’s making a difference for their company, employees aren’t so sure. A 2013 Deloitte Survey shows a significant gap between executives and employees. Executives tend to feel more strongly that their company has a strong sense of purpose and can easily explain it to others compared to employees.
Q&A with Mckenzie Earley, Director of First Impressions and one of the newest members of the Saatchi & Saatchi S team!
Introducing the newest member of our communications cadre!
Name: Annika Harper
Title: Account Executive on the Sustainability Communications team
That really means…
Media relations like crazy; Always-on tweeter and blogger; Relentless trend researcher; Client advocate to the world.
Hometown or seminal places of residence?
I grew up in North County, San Diego, California. San Francisco feels like home now after moving here a while ago from Santa Barbara and before that Bristol, England.
Fighter! In my free time I’m an amateur boxer. Most people wouldn’t know that I like to get hit in the face for fun.
I was inspired by my great uncle who was a champion boxer and started in a club at Bristol University. It started out as just fun and fitness, but now I’m training to compete.
How does your workspace reflect your working style?
Well, it’s a work in progress at the moment. My desk is always quite messy, unfortunately. I’m not a disorganized person but I am always juggling multiple projects and that is reflected on all the bits and pieces I have scattered across my desk.
What are you most excited about starting with Saatchi & Saatchi S?
Soaking up the knowledge and expertise from the team here. It’s what I came to Saatchi & Saatchi S looking for and I am constantly finding people with expertise that I wouldn’t have expected.
What are your Lovemarks?
Levi’s, Food for Life, CeraVe, Trader Joe’s
Last week we were fortunate to be joined by Cara Hale Alter from SpeechSkills, LLC to spend some time in the Saatchi S offices discussing her work, The Credibility Code. What resulted was a day-long event of speeches, stumbles, stutters, smiles and even socks on heads!
Within the sustainability space in particular, we all focus on the importance of communication. Whether it’s the robustness of the message outpacing the validity of the work behind it (greenwashing) or not feeling confident enough to take credit for worthy achievements (greenmuting), communications and sustainability often operate hand in hand. Given the nature of our business and the communications and PR offering which we are able to service for our clients (along with strategy and engagement), Saatchi S has long focused on making sustainability irresistible. On developing messages and techniques that put the positive back into what can often be a challenging and somewhat negative business.
For a holiday about love, Valentine’s Day certainly inspires a strikingly diverse set of emotional responses. There are those who embrace the day as one to celebrate romance and love like my parents who got married on it some 35+ years ago. And then there are those who just downright hate it as exemplified by this hilarious collection of anti-valentine’s day cards.
As a sustainability professional, I’m a bit torn myself. I like the idea of celebrating joy, love and relationships. It would be great to do so every day, but sometimes we need specific reminders and ‘action-forcing events’ to focus us. On the other hand, I’m less keen on the consumption-focused aspect this particular event and the push to buy things that represent our love.
Last Sunday I spent a good 3 hours on Twitter. I think there was a football game on the TV, too, but between the tweets and the ads, who had time for sports? And I was not alone – according to Twitter collectively we set new “tweeting during a sporting event” records with peaks of 4,064 TPS (tweets per second), 381,605 TPM (tweets per minute) and a total of 24.9 million tweets throughout the game. With that much stimulus, can any single message actually have an impact? One came through loud and clear for me: #notbuyingit.
#notbuyingit, and its counterpoint #mediawelike, are the hash tag brilliance of The Representation Project, a “movement that uses film and media content to expose injustices created by gender stereotypes and to shift people’s consciousness towards change.” Jennifer Siebel Newson, who wrote, directed and produced the 2011 Sundance Film Festival film “Miss Representation,” started the non-profit to create action from the awareness generated by the movie.
Dusty J @ flickr
As the 2014 Winter Games approach, I look back and reflect upon the accomplishments of one outstanding athlete, Peggy Fleming, who, for me, defines Olympic Gold.
For those of you who did not experience in real time the 1968 Olympic Games in Grenoble, France, it was a thrilling and inspiring Winter Olympics. What I remember most of all about these Games was Peggy Fleming winning the Gold medal in Ladies’ singles figure skating.
Back in the 60’s, the American story line on Olympic Athletes was that US athletes were “true” amateurs who trained on their own and (along with their families) made incredible personal sacrifices to be a US Olympiad. The USSR and other Eastern bloc countries had state-sponsored “training camps” for their Olympic hopefuls built in to their societies that gave their Olympic athletes a distinct competitive advantage over the US amateurs.
At the 1968 Winter Olympics, Peggy Fleming brought home the ONLY Gold Medal for the United States Olympic Team. Not just for Figure Skating, but for the entire US Olympic Team.
Today, this seems oddly incredible.
Back then, I remember two things standing out for me.
First, I was captivated by color TV. We had just purchased our first color television days before, and this was the first Olympic Games to be broadcast in color.
Second, I was mesmerized by Peggy Fleming. She had such style, such grace. She made excellence look effortless. (OK, maybe I am starting to sound a little too much like Dick Button – I will stop).
This past Wednesday, the city of San Francisco launched its “Zero Waste Textile Initiative” at the downtown Westfield Mall in partnership with Saatchi & Saatchi S client, I:CO and other leading retailers and local organizations including SF Goodwill, H&M, North Face, American Eagle Outfitters and Levi Strauss. Through the creation of the first ever I:CO city, San Francisco aims to meet a key cornerstone of their environmental agenda: to achieve zero textile waste to landfills by 2020.
Here we are in mid-January, accelerating as we move into the new year. By this time, I hope you’ve had some time to recover from holiday-induced family time. Been able to process interactions with rarely seen friends and relatives bound to you by the ties of family – if not always ideology or experience.
I’ve had a bit of recovery time myself, and though a lifetime may not even be enough time to ever fully process our families, I had an odd and somewhat begrudging realization: It turns out, we’re far less different than I have been lead to believe.
The “60 Minutes” segment “The Cleantech Crash” that aired on January 5th has received its fair share of criticism for shoddy (or non-existent) fact checking, biased reporting and an overall lack of perspective. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can see the full video here.
The piece is slanted towards three completely misguided ideas:
- Obama’s investment of more than $150b has done little more than create a long list of failed companies
- Cleantech has cost taxpayers billions of dollars (and now China is reaping all the reward)
- Investing in Cleantech is a game for the cocky, rich and idiotic, aka Vinod Khosla
The criticism of the piece has made for gossip as juicy as this sector gets. Following the airing of the “60 Minutes” program, ThinkProgress interviewed one of the guests, Robert Rapier, CTO at Merica International. The ThinkProgress Q&A clarifies that while Rapier very intentionally criticized Khosla, he didn’t mean to disparage Cleantech overall. And before the “60 Minutes” piece even aired CleanTechnica posted a piece anticipating it would be “Dumb & Dumber, Part 3.”
A Huffington Post article written by James Gerken, however, is what’s being shared and reshared. It does a nice job dissecting the “60 Minutes” piece, including a link to congressional testimony from former head of the DOE loan guarantee program Jonathan Silver. In it Silver states that just 3% of the companies that received government grants actually failed. This is a very different reality than the one Leslie Stahl paints when she ticks off 9 failed companies as if they were the last ones on Earth.
Throughout the interview Stahl tries very hard to get Vinod Khosla to admit that he’s a complete miserable failure. Her technique is to ask non-questions like “there must be a downside” and “all kinds of glitches…” and “taxpayers have lost a lot of money in the general Cleantech area.”
Happily, Khosla doesn’t fall for it. In fact, just the opposite – he advances an argument that is critically important in sustainability and Cleantech: failure is not only good but essential. Like the space program, which has received an average of $10b a year from the government since 1958, or cancer research, which has gotten close to $100b from the NIH since 1971, it will take significant investment and a large appetite for risk to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
At least Khosla gets in the last word of the interview, saying “I probably have failed more times in life than almost anyone I know. But that’s because I’ve tried more things. And I’m not afraid to fail because the consequences of avoiding failure are doing nothing.”
Go on, Vinod Khosla, keep on failing – it’s exactly what we need to succeed.
So here we are. 2014.
And there it went. 2013.
Thanks to Jean-Louis Nguyen, you can relive the last 12 months in a little over 6 minutes.
From San Francisco’s BatKid Miles Scott to Toronto’s BattyMayor Rob Ford.
This month, I’m working from across the pond with our Saatchi & Saatchi S team in London. I’m here to help a client develop their corporate purpose – a set of aspirational statements that describe who they are and what they do – and integrate this purpose into their culture, operations and customer experience. I’ll write more about this in a future blog post.
I’ve also been sharing best practices with my UK colleagues and gaining insights from our European work. One such insight came unexpectedly as I walked up to the office the other morning. While I must admit I’d had a few too many glasses of mulled wine the night before, that wasn’t the cause of this strange sight.
As the end of the year quickly approaches, we’ve been doing some reflecting here at Saatchi & Saatchi S. In the spirit of the holidays, we want to give thanks for our incredible clients who have enabled us to advise and communicate around important issues and innovations contributing to making our world more sustainable.
A particular example that comes to mind is Stem, Inc. Last month, Stem announced a unique and innovative financing partnership with Clean Feet Investors (CFI) and Jigar Shah, designed to increase adoption of Stem’s battery storage solution that allows customers to save money and take pressure off of the grid during peak hours. This partnership is a first-of-its-kind, the announcement also gave our Communications team a chance to roll our collective sleeves up and collaborate, garnering some well-deserved attention.
It’s not even my turn to blog, but breaking news waits for no-one. Quick! To the batcave!
As I am sure most, if not all, of you all know by now, last Friday saw San Francisco transformed into Gotham City by the Bay so that the Make-a-Wish Foundation could help 5 year old Leukemia survivor Miles Scott become a real-life superhero – BatKid. Whilst we can sometimes feel trapped by the humdrum monotony of daily life, organizations like Make-a-Wish are changing lives on a daily basis. On Friday, they didn’t just change the life of Miles and his family – they changed an entire city.