The recent lift of the U.S. Military ban on women in combat positions inspired Harvard professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, in an NPR Marketplace segment aired last week, to advise women in corporate America to avoid “the Ps” – Personnel, Public Relations and Purchasing – if they want to get to the top in business.
Kanter’s main point is that for women to be taken seriously and considered for increasingly senior roles within an organization, they need to be aligned with the areas most critical to the long-term success of the business. In her mind, the three “P’s” are soft.
“This is why women in combat is so important. If you are restricted from the heart of what the enterprise does, you’ll never get to the top,” she says.
Photo source: Big Ideas@Berkeley
What does information technology for sustainable farming, frat guys growing mushrooms, and a microscope app for your smart phone all have in common? They’re all social ventures and past winners of the Big Ideas @ Berkeley- a social innovation contest for students and the community at the University of California, Berkeley.
At Saatchi & Saatchi S, our consumer and employee engagement work focuses on driving positive behavior change, so at the start of 2013 it was only natural for me to pull out my list of new year’s resolutions. This year I ended up with a list of about 15 resolutions, ranging from exercising three times per week to making a greater effort to keep in touch with friends. Of all the resolutions on my list, somehow the one requiring the most action has been my greatest success. New year’s resolution number one this year is to get out into some form of nature every weekend.
This post first appeared on the MediaPost Marketing:green blog and can be viewed here.
Sometimes following what goes on in the world of sustainability feels a bit like doing homework. Carbon emission reduction targets, true cost, carbon markets, standardized reporting, climate change mitigation — the list goes on. While it’s critical to understand what each of those topics means for businesses and consumers, it’s not the type of language that will get mass audiences to “go green.”
When I think back to the most successful marketing or viral campaigns of 2012, not one is a campaign that promotes sustainability. Instead, I think of Red Bull’s Stratos Space Jump, Chrysler’s “It’s Halftime in America,” Procter & Gamble’s “Best Job,” and, yes, even “Gangnam Style.” What do all those campaigns have in common? Great storytelling.
If businesses want to bring consumers into the fold of their green efforts, something needs to change in the way they communicate their sustainability story. It’s time to connect the dots between corporate leadership with creative storytelling to make sustainability irresistible to consumers.
A year ago today I walked through the doors of the old pie factory in Potrero Hill as the new CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi S. It was a big day for me and, I’ll admit, a little scary for a few reasons. One, some people in sustainability can be intimidating with their well-traveled, principled, science-based points of view and absolute conviction that they know how to save the world. And I already knew my new team was all that, plus slightly cynical and worn down by the market. The idea of figuring out how to be their colleague, not to mention their leader, was daunting.
Second, I was joining a company with legacy. Saatchi & Saatchi S has amazing people attached to it – Adam Werbach, Bob Isherwood, Kevin Roberts just to name a few – and I knew I needed to make my mark while honoring theirs.
And, third, it’s Saatchi & Saatchi for God’s sake! Remember reading about the Saatchi brothers in the ’80s when they were doing radical things like hoteling and amazing culture-shocking ads? I honestly had fantasies as a child about being part of this company that not only embraced new ways of doing things but actually demanded them.
So now it’s one year later, and the things that daunted me then feel like comforts now.
The team at Saatchi & Saatchi S is really good at finding reasons to celebrate. We spent two days in February appreciating Love and its role in building the world’s best brands. In May we spent a day removing non-native plants in the Presidio to express our appreciation of the environment and the joy of volunteering. In June we had a big party with fire dancers just because, well, we think fire dancers are irresistible. November was one giant party, really, with the fund raiser for Sustainable Surf and the launch of our Founder Adam Werbach’s new venture yerdle.
Now it’s December, the time for giving. Saatchi & Saatchi S’ traditional end of year celebration is very personal as each employee chooses a non-profit to receive a donation to give on behalf of our clients, partners, colleagues and selves. We take the time to share with each other why we chose each recipient, and the reasons are as varied as the remarkable Saatchi & Saatchi S staff.
Next Monday, it’s “SMACKDOWN” here at Saatchi S.
Yes, it’s time for the Saatchi & Saatchi S Annual Holiday Bakeoff.
For weeks now, I have been strategizing about what to serve up. You see, the competition is fierce and unpredictable. It’s all very civil, but it is without a doubt a competition.
In one corner, there’s “Jessica the Pie Lady.” As an award-winning pie baker and contest judge, she has so mastered the art of pie-making that she has been specifically banned from entering any pies. Who knows what she’ll throw into the ring.
Then there’s “Andrew, the stealth contender.” Andrew is reigning champ, and always manages to maintain a decidedly low-key and passive profile right up until he springs into action once that bell rings.
And what’s up with Katherine? She is the rookie on the team and, as such, has not played this game on our turf before. My fear is that she will blindside us and “WOW” the crowd with her previously undisclosed culinary expertise.
A great tasting dessert will not ensure you the crown. It also needs to be genuinely delicious, with an element of surprise – in short, IRRESISTIBLE!
As the newest member of the Saatchi & Saatchi S team, I can honestly say I am thrilled to be here. One of the perks of working at a place like Saatchi S is I’ve been exposed to a number of interesting passionate people and a breadth of interesting projects. In just my few short weeks here, I’ve helped launch yerdle, an online sharing economy website and app that looks at alternative ways to give during the holidays, and welcomed a guest speaker who spoke to us about the importance of reconnecting with nature. All of these new experiences have highlighted the theme of “sharing” and have drawn attention to the changing scope of what it means to “share” in the 21st century.
I have some confessions to make:
- I hate advertising.
- I do not trust corporations.
- I want to deconstruct the current system from within.
That’s why, when I saw the trailer for the new documentary The Naked Brand, I immediately knew that we just HAD to facilitate a screening of the film in all of the Saatchi & Saatchi network offices. The first of which will take place here in San Francisco tomorrow – Thursday, December 6th at 5PM – at the Saatchi & Saatchi S Pie Factory. (There are still a few of our free tickets available at http://saatchisfilmscreening.eventbrite.com.)
The crux of the film echoes our own mantra of “No Sustainability, No Lovemark,” and succinctly reflects a growing public demand for corporations to reinvent how they are doing “business as usual.” It asserts that our old paradigms aren’t working and it’s about time we rocked the boat.
It’s not every day you get to launch a new company for a colleague and mentor, but that’s exactly what we’ve been up to here in the communications practice of Saatchi & Saatchi S this November. We’ve been knee-deep in the debut of yerdle, the new sharing platform enabling friends to re-purpose goods like blenders and surfboards by giving and receiving them with other Facebook friends on yerdle.
yerdle was conceived by Saatchi & Saatchi S Founder Adam Werbach, former head of Global Strategy for Walmart Andy Ruben and Carl Tashain, a member of the founding Zipcar team. The trio had grown increasingly impatient with the lack of a networked marketplace to match goods that no longer have value for an individual with a friend in need, so they decided to fill that gap themselves. The team created a site built on Facebook’s social graph with an easy-to-use app for uploading and “nabbing” items and named it yerdle, proposing a new word for sharing in the process.
My very favorite holiday is around the corner so I thought today might be a good time to reflect back and give thanks to everything that I am grateful for… in photos of course!
As I began searching through all my photos, I realized how many of them were directly related to nature and outdoors. As someone who loves to just ‘be’ outside, it shouldn’t be a surprise how much energy I devote to the subject, but I guess that’s why I do what I do. Ensuring companies adopt a practice of sustainability ensures that me and everyone like me will all be able to enjoy all these beautiful places for generations to come.
Nothing really beats camping on the beach in Tasmania, Australia…
Photo courtesy of Kim Sokolnicki, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania, Australia (2010)
After this month’s presidential election, much attention has been paid to the rising influence of Latinos in this country. Aside from Latinos’ mounting political clout, the sheer size of this growing population signals its significant buying power. Many brands are clued into this demographic shift: companies far and wide, from Procter & Gamble to NBCUniversal to Yahoo!, are investing serious dollars to court this market. Even Rolling Stone magazine has caught on, publishing the first Spanish-language section on Latino music and culture in the publication’s 45-year history. Why haven’t sustainable brands followed suit?
A report Saatchi & Saatchi S released last week explores why that might be the case. Partly due to myths, misunderstandings and misperceptions of Latinos’ connection to the environment, corporate sustainability efforts have failed to properly engage Latinos in the U.S.
Could your next surfboard help Save The Waves?…
Should surfers care about Sustainability?…
Can surfing become the greenest biz ever?
Come join us tomorrow, November 8th, for a fundraising party to benefit Sustainable Surf.org, as we explore these questions and more with leaders from the surfing and green business worlds. Tickets can be purchased here!
Here’s what to expect at the event:
First the Giants win the World Series, and now San Francisco can also officially claim leadership in cleantech innovation. A recent report issued by Clean Edge, a research and advisory firm, placed our City by the Bay the near top of the list of the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan regions when it comes to cleantech activity. Bested only by San Jose, San Francisco led in the report’s four broad categories: green buildings; advanced transportation; clean electricity and carbon management; and cleantech investment, innovation and workforce.
Add to that San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s announcement yesterday about a San Francisco city initiative to support the growth and development of cleantech businesses, and you have a pretty compelling picture for cleantech jobs and business creation in San Francisco in 2013.
Photo Courtesy: John McNeil Studio / Juma Ventures
As a San Francisco-based business we wanted to give a shout out to our very own San Francisco Giants for winning the 2012 World Series this week: Go Giants! We love the Giants and also love that they support one of our very favorite social enterprises, Juma Ventures. Juma is a social enterprise that trains at risk youth to work in pro sports stadiums as a way to prepare and save for college. We have been lucky enough to work with them in the past and you can read more about them in one of our older blog posts.
Watching the Giants win is awesome, but knowing that the Juma youth are out there in the stands experiencing it all makes me want to do cartwheels (as if I could still handle a cartwheel!)
I often have to remind myself that as a San Francisco-based-CouchSurfer working in sustainability, I live in a bubble full of tree huggers and innovative tech professionals. I’m now realizing more and more that my enthusiasm for the sharing economy is not shared by all, especially not the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
Earlier this month, CPUC issued cease and desist letters to ride-sharing start-ups Lyft, Sidecar, and Tickengo for not having charter-party carrier permits. (According to these companies, they are not technically charter-party carriers because they operate on voluntary payment systems, which is why they are petitioning against the CPUC’s action.) In a similar vein, the treasurer of San Francisco has declared that Airbnb owes hotel taxes.
Recently, there have been many calls to policy makers to update regulations that favor established enterprises and do not reflect the current needs of the community, economy, and environment. I am hopeful that these conversations with the government are productive, but before policy makers are convinced I think citizens need to understand – and be convinced of – the benefits of building a sharing economy. So I thought I would share the criticisms that I hear most often in conversations about sharing services and my responses.
Don’t you just hate it when you’re trying to enjoy something you love, like a hard-earned carne asada burrito, and someone reminds you how bad it is for the environment? Just as I don’t like to be reminded of the perils of meat production during my moment of bliss (when I am trying to eat less meat in my diet), people don’t like to be pulled away from their moment of enjoyment into guilt and over-analysis.
Not only does guilt cause uncertainty and shame, it also triggers an unintended response: avoidance. There are moments when facts about water use in beef production are interesting, when they make me feel empowered to make educated purchases and feel that I can make a difference with my small action. But while I’m relishing a piece of tortilla-wrapped goodness just isn’t the moment.
Last week, four of us Saatchi S-ers attended the annual Into the Wild breakfast fundraiser for Bay Area Wilderness Training (BAWT) at the historic Palace Hotel in San Francisco. A project of Earth Island Institute, BAWT provides opportunities for urban youth to experience wilderness first hand by supplying teachers and youth-serving organizations in the Bay Area with resources, training, and equipment.
I’ve been involved with BAWT for the past few months and think its train-the-trainer model is truly unique. I especially appreciate BAWT’s focus on capacity transfer because a lot of the work we do at Saatchi S is about giving our clients the ability to sustain their social or environmental aspirations. By giving groups of youth and youth leaders that already know each other from an existing setting (such as the classroom) the ability to take an outdoor adventure together, BAWT capitalizes on the trusted human relationships essential for a young person to take on such an outside-of-the-norm activity and nudges them to step out of their comfort zone just a tad. Shannon Darcey, a teacher with Oakland’s Urban Promise Academy, shared at the breakfast that leading an excursion through BAWT allowed her to bond with her students at another level, as people, rather than simply as students.
The beauty of it all is that BAWT is a great example of how engagement with sustainability—whether with the environment, a social cause, or any other higher-level purpose that highlights each of our personal values—can grow our respect for each other and our world and inspire us to make positive changes. This idea is relevant not only to educators but to the companies that Saatchi S works with: more and more it seems like the companies that are doing well are the ones that connect people to an experience or purpose that is bigger than one individual, that lets them bond in new ways beyond their daily grind. I’m not just talking about outdoor trips anymore, but about business that is governed by values and positive impact, essentially business with a strategy for sustainability. Organizations that have identified a worthy purpose beyond profit are able to capture the imaginations of like-minded employees, partners, and customers to be their ambassadors, and thus generate more business value. For example, a study by researchers at Harvard Business School and London Business School concludes that companies which have embraced a sustainable business culture over many years “significantly outperform their counterparts over the long-term, both in terms of stock market and accounting performance.”
I am worried that Cleantech is getting a bad rap. From incorrect claims during the recent Presidential debates that “half” of the green firms President Obama invested in “have gone out of business,” to accurate news that future-forward companies like thin film solar leader MiaSole was sold for pennies on the investment dollar, it’s not been a great year (or couple of years) for clean technology companies.
This week as I was contemplating a new iPhone 5 purchase, it occurred to me the companies that have the potential to revive and invigorate this sagging image should be better recognized for the sheer pleasure, delight, fun and smarts they bring to the market.
Everyone loves a list, especially at the end of the year (more than 2,000 year-end lists are created annually by media companies). So here’s mine in October, keeping with the trend reported on by Yahoo News that “end of the year” moves up every year.
Admitting faults and flaws is hard for everyone. I once stole a Lip Smacker from a Kmart when I was in junior high and I never told anyone. I suppose it was my small way to ‘rebel’ in the suburbs of Ohio. I’ve always felt guilty about it… Kmart, I’m sorry.
There… that wasn’t so bad was it? Now you try…
Companies have an even harder time admitting when they’ve done wrong. They’re very happy to talk about all the wonderful things they’re doing, but if you even consider recommending that they discuss that issue (you know what I’m talking about), forget it. They shut down and go into Fort Knox mode. Fear of ‘bad media’ is paralyzing the conversation about progress towards sustainable business.
Luckily for everyone, we’re evolving. Thanks to the power of social media and the rapid pace of information and news in our lives, people are becoming more and more willing to embrace their own insecurities, admit when we’re wrong, and overall be more open with each other about the good, the bad, and the ugly. After all, what’s news this minute is history the next.