Ahead of WFA Global Marketer Week in Istanbul, we asked three thought leaders for their views on how to achieve the holy grail of sustainable growth.
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Rupen Desai, Co-founder of TS/28 and board member of the Copenhagen Cartel, Paul Kemp-Robertson, Co-founder and Chief Brand Officer at Contagious, and Chief Solutionist at Futerra, Solitaire Townsend, will all be on stage at the Better Marketing session alongside comedian and TikTok creator, Rob Mayhew at Istanbul’s Jolly Joker Comedy Club on April 26th.
The event will take a light-hearted look at the seminal conundrum of how brands can play a meaningful role in driving positive change while delivering on bottom line growth.
To get the ball rolling, we asked each for their top line thoughts.
Rupen Desai, Co-founder of TS/28
“Our language of growth needs a radical change.
Away from Friedman inspired ‘Profit at the cost of people and/or the planet’ TO ‘People, Planet and Prosperity, all thriving together, never one at the cost of another.’
Business can no longer be stuck between sustainability efforts trying to ‘do less damage’ whilst the selfish formula of growth continues to ‘create more damage’.
The world will only start becoming more equal and the planet better, once we start treating the planet and communities as key stakeholders; at the same level of love we give our shareholders!
It’s high time we start building brands that our conscience can live with (and make our children proud of the way we used our superpowers).”
Solitaire Townsend, Chief Solutionist at Futerra
“Sorry folks, unlimited growth on a planet of limits is impossible economics. And in a fight between profit and physics – the laws of nature are gonna win.
The good news? Constraints spark creativity. Let’s switch it up and use our big, beautiful brains to dematerialise value, take products to services, create servant brands and build a ‘solutions economy’ rather than one dependent upon extraction and exploitation.
As solutionists we get to keep all the benefits of capitalism. But business-as-usual will bust everything that really matters. As a good friend told me, ‘quarters are cancer’ and growth isn’t always good.
Fall in love with value, meaning and service instead.”
Paul Kemp-Robertson, Co-founder and Chief Brand Officer at Contagious
“How to create sustainable growth? Think like IKEA:
- Align the entire business around an authentic, unambiguous and action-oriented organising principle. This serves as a navigation needle, enabling agility backed by a clear sense of purpose in a fast-changing world. In IKEA’s case: ‘create a better everyday for the many people.’ (Penned by the founder in 1976.)
- Commit to a sustainability ethos that both consumers and employees can believe in. Like pledging to produce furniture only made from renewable or recycled materials by 2030.
- Develop real world solutions to back that ethos up: e.g. circular business initiatives such as Buy Back Friday, where anyone who takes their old Ikea furniture back to a store on Black Friday receives up to 50% of the original price. (A smart PR exercise that champions the conscious consumption cause, while boosting perceptions of the brand’s furniture, from throwaway to long-lasting.)
- Be prepared to take a long-term view, despite short-term pressures.
- Trust innovation. Six years after its re-adoption ‘Creating a better everyday for the many people’ helped Ikea increase its penetration and drove $755m worth of additional revenue.”