Building whole brands coast-to-coast.

Advertising Week + Sustainable Brands Header

I spent last week between two of the brand world’s biggest events, Advertising Week in New York and Sustainable Brands’ annual event in California. I was truly living the two extremes of our Whole Brand Spectrum, advertising and sustainability. I can't help but see everything through a whole brand lens, so I found myself trying to build a bridge between these two, seemingly, disparate conferences. A few key thoughts came to mind: • Create ideas worth advertising, not advertising ideas. Sustainability initiatives should be your best innovation brief for products and services. • Brand is not owned by the marketing department. It needs to be owned by the entire organization, including sustainability teams. • Everyone in the organization is on the sustainability team, even marketing. • Purpose is not a marketing tool but an everything tool, one that shows up in both your advertising and your sustainability actions. Use purpose to guide and inspire all expressions of the brand. • Don’t reserve creativity and great storytelling for only advertising. Tell your sustainability stories with the same level of craft that goes into a Super Bowl commercial. Creativity must be the domain of the entire organization and all ideas and actions. • Brand is not a subset of marketing. Marketing is a subset of brand. • Don’t "manage the brand." Use your brand to drive the entire business, from advertising to sustainability and all the ideas in between. ASKING BIGGER QUESTIONS. Brands are trusted, right now, more than the government and the media, so what will we do with this opportunity? We need integration and collaboration at a massive level. For a long time, we've talked about sustainability to differentiate a brand; now we're talking about partnership, collaboration, open source – how can we share resources to create something better together, a different way of thinking about the whole brand? Great brands are beautiful systems, so why can’t the “brand world” become a beautiful system, full of integration and collaboration? Why can’t the advertising and sustainability community come together in a powerful way? TAKING BIGGER ACTIONS. Whole brands start with understanding the needs of the whole person, inside (employees) and out (consumers and community). In a perfect world, we'd find new ways to vault over separate conferences to bring all brand thinkers, consumers, and employees together in an urgent experience, one that enriches the world with brands that create sustainability actions with real teeth built by amazing cultures driven by purpose. If we do that, we will naturally become better marketers, better at sustainability and always addressing the whole person. Brands have an amazing opportunity right now, but only if we collaborate, integrate and share like mad, bridging the gap between dueling priorities and acting with the urgency the world demands, creating brands that add good for people, communities, and the planet.

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