WFA’s partnership with Marketing Matters celebrated its 8th year during Singapore’s iconic Formula 1 week. F1 fans know that it’s the Constructor, the team constructing the winning car, and not the drivers’ title which is fought over most fiercely. That focus on teamwork and collaboration was reflected in the on-stage narrative and discussions between the 250 delegates.
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Stephan Loerke (WFA) and Mikimasa Hamamatsu (Nissan) discussing on how to drive a global Asian brand.
The day began and ended with presentations from two WFA leaders: Stephan Loerke, CEO of WFA, and Rupen Desai, VP for APAC, WFA’s Regional VP and CMO of Una Terra. Their focus was on marketing effectiveness and on the need to avoid growth at any cost, meaning looking beyond profit to see people and planet. “If brands want to deliver marketing effectiveness without costing the earth, we will need effective collaboration. Internally, externally and with a new group of partners, including finance, other brands and NGOs”, said Stephan Loerke.
Rupen Desai called out the APAC marketing industry on the overdue need to move from an “extractive mindset” to one compatible with a sustainable future. His ground-breaking thinking instead focused on a new “regenerative mindset”. A mindset beautifully brought to life by Dole Sunshine Company and Ananas Anam, in a shared initiative to produce “Piñatex": a sustainable leather alternative made from the fibre of pineapple leaves.
The idea of uncommon collaboration was also presented by Yat Siu, co-founder of Animoca Brands. He shared thoughts on marketing in Web3, using Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs). “When matching marketers with creators, the interoperability is free, the opportunities and network effects are endless."
Nissan then explained how they are taking an anything but traditional approach to developing a brand globally. Mikimasa Hamamatsu, General Manager, Global Marketing, gave innovative examples ranging from Pole to Pole, in which a husband and wife attempt to drive an all-electric Nissan Ariya more than 27,000 kilometres from the Arctic Ocean to Antarctica, to the Grand Turismo feature film starring Orlando Bloom.
Inspirational initiatives from Nissan were all grounded in multi-stakeholder teams and shared goals. Notably, this meant that members of Nissan’s finance team attended WFA marketing meetings, along with marketers, to better understand shared goals and objectives.
Examples of moving beyond the obvious continued with an excellent discussion involving Silas Lewis-Meilus, Global Head of Media Business Units, Haleon, and Matthias Blume, VP of Marketing ASEAN and South Pacific, The Coca-Cola Company. Both shared thoughts on the importance of creating the freedom to take risks within a framework of efficacy.
Silas Lewis-Meilus said he likes to tell delegates that “now is a great time to lean on finance. If you can prove efficacy, it opens up a world of opportunities.” Matthias Blume remembered his boss saying that “if everything you do works, then you cannot be trying hard enough”. Overall, both men agreed that it is down to marketers to innovate, by setting the rules and then breaking them.
Chiradeep Gupta, Global Media Director, Unilever, then presented Unilever’s new partnership with the Women’s World Cup. Rexona’s beautiful collaboration to help boost the adoption of football amongst girls in India above the current lowly 1% gave many in the audience goosebumps.
A transformative approach, illustrated by these and other examples at the Marketing Matters conference and in WFA’s Sustainable Marketing 2030, is where we deliver value for people and planet, as well as for our shareholders. To achieve it, your sense of purpose must change the whole company, not just your communications policy. This can only be realised by unleashing the power of collaboration.
You might argue that Formula 1 drivers, such as seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton, are a little sell-centred - but even he was quick to point out that “we win and lose together”. Marketers would do well to learn from the effective collaboration of F1 teams. But we will, hopefully, also see common challenges in the need to urgently move towards more sustainable business models.