Ear Brain Heart 19th December, 2022

Ethical marketing and your bottom-line

It’s easier to market ethically when starting a business from scratch, but any business new or old can put ethics at the heart of what they do. That’s one of the key findings Chris and Jen discovered when they started helping businesses with ethical marketing.

Chris Thornhill and Jen Bayford formed Growth Animals to help business grow their bottom-line and their impact. But ethics isn’t something that can be added in later – it relies on a company culture that’s far easier to instil at the beginning than to change later.

That doesn’t mean that legacy businesses can’t take a new ethical stance, but they often face challenges around authenticity, and avoiding “greenhushing” (or the perception that a company might be greenwashing).

Some things to consider

  • When considering social media channels, think about the value you can offer, not just the size of the megaphone.
  • Do your values run the grain of your company, or are they just lacquered on?
  • If the Internet were a country, it would be the seventh largest polluter in the world.
  • Organisations should look at the good they’re already doing – or want to do – in practical terms, before seeking accreditation.
  • Too much artificial scarcity erodes trust with the customer.
  • Don’t wait until you’re squeaky-clean to start a campaign with ethics in mind.

Links

Transcript

00:00:00Chris
This is one of, uh, our pet peeves is almost people hold back because they're so scared of being called out by customers or online, but we're all better off doing something than nothing, right?
00:00:10Mark
You're listening to Ear Brain Heart, an experiment in showing up. I'm Mark Steadman and I've been on a journey in 2022 to find out what good marketing looks like, in every sense of the word.
00:00:27
Helping me get to grips with ethical marketing are Chris Thornhill and Jen Bayfield from Growth Animals, a team of growth, marketers dedicated to helping businesses grow their bottom line and their impact.
00:00:40
We got into everything from social media to becoming a B Corp to the impact the internet has on the environment. But we started by exploring the space around ethical marketing and growth marketing.
00:00:54Chris
You know, what we want to achieve ultimately as Growth Animals is to show that with clever marketing, you can grow both the bottom line of a business and the positive impact. Um, and so, you know, there's, there's not that trade off. So if people are looking or consider. Putting more thinking, putting more ethics behind their marketing, that they're not gonna suffer a drop off in their sales or whatever it is. That's their core KPI.
00:01:20Mark
um, so I, I followed a, uh, a post recently, an experiment by Anna Miltenberg, who I was, um, Lucky enough to, to get as an early guest on this show, who's the, um, founder of Brand the Change, and she had a, they, they did like a 28 day experiment removing social media from their marketing. Where does or does even ethical marketing, like is there an intersection there with social marketing, content marketing, that kind of stuff. Are there ethical questions or concerns when you think about social marketing or social media marketing?
00:01:53Jen
There is, yeah. So our view on. All marketing is that it should be helpful and informative, but not ever manipulative or intrusive in one's customer or, or client's lives, right? So we take that view on everything and every, every conversation we have is, uh, about different channels, different techniques, um, with marketing, it's, it's a dialogue. It's it's questioning, um, use of things that perhaps weren't questioned in the past and making sure it fits the bill of being helpful and informative.
00:02:34
So when it comes to content marketing, that actually lends itself to be helpful storytelling, um, connecting and engaging with the customer or the client in a really lovely way that isn't intrusive. But we do know also that there are things that go on behind the scenes with some of the bigger social media channels, for example, which would then make us question the use of them.
00:03:01
And actually that was one of the motivations for us starting Growth animals, it was around the same time as the Social Dilemma came out on Netflix and we watched it, um, you know, with, with curiosity, and that has helped shape some of the conversations that we've had with clients and make them question why they are using certain channels, and Twitter is one that's very topical at the moment that, um, we're having lots of conversations around.
00:03:29
So there's, there's no hard and fast rules when it comes to ethical marketing. No one yet is an expert because it will be an ongoing debate. What, what we say is us as a team is that we're experts in asking the right questions and uh, coming up with compromises that fit that, definition that I said at the.
00:03:51Mark
How are you finding the whole Twitter thing right now?
00:03:56Chris
It's quite fascinating in a way, it's like a big social experiment going on, and, and everything that Elon Musk does is, is quite fascinating in its, in the psychology behind it and where it's gonna go. And, and as Jen said before, you know, even prior to Elon getting involved, Twitter has been one of the channels where we have been most sort of vocal with our clients in encouraging them not to use it unless they really have a compelling reason to do so.
00:04:26Mark
Yeah, the feels like, and, and so, as a podcaster, there is a big, uh, podcast contingent within Twitter, and there is a big, um, and I think this is the case with a lot of content marketing kind of stuff, there is this sense of Twitter being as, as they call it, the town hall or whatever they call it, the village square. Um, but it feels so much sort of like a lobby and, and this idea that we can sort of just throw our thing up and say, here's a, here's, you know, I've just written a new blog post. I've just released a new podcast episode of that, that's the sort of mechanism that things then propagate and, um, it's, it's.
00:05:05
What people then start to realize, well actually Twitter doesn't want you to do that. And so because it's, you know, taking views away from Twitter. And so what you end up then with is different ways of trying to shout the same kind of thing. Now we do it in threads, or now we do it with audiograms and little bits of video, but it's all the same kind of thing. And I think there is a move, or I've seen a move at least towards stuff that is maybe less native to Twitter in, in that it is, it is actually about, as we say, showing up, but about being there and creating value, answering questions, being able to provide useful advice sort of natively without trying to push people off to another platform.
00:05:45
And I think, um, as I'm looking now at a, at a, because I've been slowly sort of moving myself away from Twitter as I've been kind of peeking around the front door of Mastodon, there is a sense there that it can absolutely be a marketing channel, but not a push based one. It's very much one of be, being of value within a community rather than pushing out your latest updates.
00:06:10Chris
Yeah, and, and actually the, the sort of two ti, the two occurrences where we support or at least sort of get on board with people and clients who want to use Twitter is, is where they are more of a sort of new service. And so Twitter has that really useful nature of being like a bulletin channel almost. Um, and the other bit is, is more of a customer service piece whereby they can then respond to any queries or concerns customers have. And so again, it's like you say, it's fine in the way for that channel to be helpful and informative. Um, and if they're, if those things aren't relevant to you or a client, then step away, find the ones that are the right ones.
00:06:52Mark
So Jen, can you give us a sense of how Growth Animals began?
00:06:59Jen
This is my favorite story to tell, so I'm gonna tell it. So Chris and I, um, we've been running Growth Animals for two years, but that's not where our journey together started. So we actually worked together in house within an organization, um, in West Sussex. It was Goodwood, the Goodwood Estate. Um, and Chris worked there for a little bit longer than I did, but we were kind of there for five, six years each. Chris was head of marketing there and I was in his team looking after the marketing for some of the Motorsport events. Um, and of course wasn't really needed when the pandemic hit because, um, there weren't any events to put on. So Chris furloughed me, um, and he stayed on. and Chris thought, obviously I was living my best life a bit too much at home because I lived by the beach and I had a fantastic time. And then, um, Chris asked me if I would do some consulting for him, well, for the charity that he's on the board of trustees for, which is, um, dementia support, which is also down in West Sussex. And we did, we had to realign their marketing strategy, um, based on the pandemic. Um, and we did that and really, really enjoyed it. It was really rewarding.
00:08:19
Um, and then kind of Chris and I had our, our ha moment at that point and said, you know, if we did get made redundant from Goodwood, um, this would be our plan B. But actually over that summer I did kind of practice our consultancy services on a few willing businesses, um, to come make sure that we had something viable to go to market with. If we did take, um, voluntary redundancy. And plan B became plan A because we thoroughly enjoyed it.
00:08:53
We are really, really good at marketing strategy. That's our specialism. Um, and we started to think of the ways we could use that to do good. Um, and that's, that's when those ethical conversations started to come in. So we took voluntary redundancy, um, with one other, actually there were three of us to begin with, and then we started Growth Animals in September 2020.
00:09:17Mark
How has a startup in the pandemic felt like your own business pandemic baby. How was that? You know, with so much uncertainty. Um, I mean, there's, there's uncertainty at any time really, but, um, yeah. What was, what was that like?
00:09:34Chris
I can give you a really good analogy actually, Mark, because, uh, I recently had a pair of twin. And it's like having twins in that it is equally the most wonderful, exhilarating experience of your life, combined with being the most stressful, anxiety inducing thing you could ever imagine.
00:09:56Mark
I can only imagine. And it feels like the kind of thing where, and I think the, the analogy maybe does stretch to this, is like you can read up and you can, you can research and you can do all the things, but nothing's gonna prepare you for being faced with, you know,
00:10:11Jen
Yeah,
00:10:12Mark
The, the responsibility of, of two more human lives.
00:10:15Chris
Correct. Absolutely correct. Yeah.
00:10:17Jen
but we actually embrace the, um, the challenges, right? Because you're right, you can't. You can read books about running an agency or running a business, but it doesn't sink in until you've come across that challenge or made that mistake yourself. So we've learned hugely over the last two years, um, about various aspects of our business, but particularly like who we want to work with. That's, that's a really big one, is that, you know, we had to kiss a few frogs in the beginning, but now we are in a really fortunate position that we know the types of businesses that are aligned with our values and that are like-minded, and we can, we've got pretty good, um, at spotting those red flags, early doors, touch wood, um, to actually decline working with certain types of organization or, or certain characters, let's say.
00:11:15Mark
Can you run through those? I'm really interested in the character cuz I, I think I, I have those kind of spidy sense moments, but I'd love to know like what gets your spidy senses tingling that's like, oh, I'm not sure about this one.
00:11:28Jen
Well, I think that a lot of it comes down to how genuine, um, a business's purpose or impact or good that they want to do is. Because often we use that as a, as one of our first conversations because, um, we want to work with businesses who are balancing their profit and their purpose, or their good or their impact.
00:11:53
So, if we ask someone what they do, there is a lot of greenwashing going on out there and you know what we can now spot whether it. Ingrained in their organization or whether it's something that they want to put on their credentials page on their website and just tick a box. I think that's, that's really crucial conversation to have early on, um, for us.
00:12:20Mark
Yeah, I just, I just got a, I have a new guitar coming and, um, it's, uh, it's, it's, it's got a wood top as opposed to laminate, which is like the, what the, the, um, the cheap guitars are made of. And it just, it just made me think there about, you know, are your, um, are your values sort of, are they laminate, you know, are they just laminate or are they, is it a wood all the way through? You know, is it, is it is actually, you know, part of the grain of your business or is it just something you've sort of lacked on at the end?
00:12:49Chris
Another good analogy,
00:12:51Mark
I'm all about analogies. Um, So what, what different aspects, uh, or what characteristics do both of you sort of bring to the table? You know, are there complimentary skills or attitudes that you both bring?
00:13:05Chris
Yeah, for sure. And um, obviously that's been a really important part of us doing this as a partnership. Um, and actually from day one, we've always been really keen to look at where each of us individually have. Um, but also the wider team as we've started to, to grow that. And, um, I dunno if you are aware or not but, you know, the animals in Growth Animals stems from, uh, a, a quiz that we've all been very, uh, proud of and, and shared with teammates and, and clients and so forth through the years. And ultimately, it's just a very short two minute quiz that is based on the famous Myers-Briggs Psychometric test. And so it spits out an animal, and that animal talks about your personality and, and it really helps to sort of, uh, almost simplify it, but in a really very, sort of accurate way.
00:13:58
Uh, so like for example, I'm a falcon, which means that I'm very decisive, um, very sort of fast moving in my thought process. Uh, quite creative as well, but also means that I have a terribly short attention span.
00:14:10Jen
and attention to detail
00:14:11Chris
Yeah, exactly. Attention to detail. Whereas Jen is a dolphin, so she's really sort of, caring is all about the sort of group environment, bit of a social hang grenade, you know, all these sorts of things. And the, the, the pairing of those, uh, strengths makes us a much stronger outfit in, in its sort of total part.
00:14:31Mark
I think, I think I've, I've looked through your, your team page and seen, uh, seen lots of the, the different animals. So now I have a sense of where that springs from.
00:14:38Jen
Yes. Yeah. Um, and how we divide up kind of our projects, Mark, is that, um, Chris really bangs the ethical marketing drum, and I really focus on brilliant quality marketing strategy. So whilst we obviously both do both, we divide up those kind of things to champion.
00:15:01
So, um, Chris has re recently written, for example, a, a, a progressive, Progressive Leaders Guide to Ethical Marketing, which took a lot of time, lots of interviewing of different, um, business owners and the compilation of that. So that's been a real focus for him and has been doing quite a lots of speaking around ethical marketing as well at various different conferences and through podcasts and things. Um, and then I've been focusing on our client work and making sure we do some really, really good quality marketing strategy.
00:15:31Mark
During the process of putting that together, were there any sort of things that you, any kind of learnings that you took away from that, that you thought, oh wow, like it's, it's useful having done this process now?
00:15:41Chris
Yeah, absolutely. And in fact, one, one particular area we've even taken forward to become a new, uh, sort of service offering for Growth Animals. So prior to doing all of this, um, we weren't particularly, uh, sort of knowledgeable about the impact that the internet has on the environment.
00:16:03
So one of sort of favorite stats of ours now is that if the internet were a country, it would be the seventh largest polluter in the world and growing faster than pretty much every other nation on the planet. And so, um, yeah, we spoke to, um, a leader of an agency that specialized in this area and we did a bit of additional digging and research, talked to some of our development partners, and so we've now taken it forward because actually it's a brilliant area for a business like ours, obviously, who wants to make a positive impact. But also for all those many, many businesses out there who are genuinely trying to make improvements in their sustainability, um, but haven't perhaps thought about the fact that they have a website that is actually quite carbon unfriendly.
00:16:53
Um, and there's many things that can be done to improve it. And the most important thing is that actually it, the, the crux of how you make a website more clean is to make it faster. Uh, and when you make it faster, it's then better for user experience. So it's kind of win in that sense.
00:17:11Mark
And I imagine as a, as a recovering, um, technologist, that there's significant knock on effects to, uh, the various. Bits of scripts that run on webpages that are either tracking or running ads, or that's mostly those two things, really, or mining Bitcoin in your, in your browser tab that have this cumulative effect, then, because there's been a, there's been a move.
00:17:43
See now, now, now, now this is, it's quite interesting and so I might have to reign myself back in, but there's been such a move from let's push all of the, the weight from the server end over to the clients because people's computers are so much more powerful now they can take the load. So we can, we can make the, the server have to do less work and then the individual computers can do more work of actually rendering the page, of making the actual display of the page look, look nice. But of course, that then is pushing all of that energy consumption over to over to these individual clients. And you, you start to have a popular website, uh, then, then that actually has a huge knock on effect.
00:18:22Chris
Yeah, absolutely right. It is a bit of a snowball. The more you sort of look into it, the more you unravel.
00:18:27Mark
Hmm. Okay. All right. I've got some, I've got some things to think about there. I've got some homework to do. Um, actually, one of the things I was speaking to, uh, previous guest Sara Osterholzer about this, about wanting to find sort of cleaner suppliers for things like um, web, web, web stuff. I mean, um, you know, I wanna try and find a, a, a clean, um, host for, for all of my web, you know, projects, uh, because yeah, that is something that I'm, I'm becoming increasingly interested in.
00:18:55
One of the drums that I've been banging recently is, um, is trying to help people understand the devastating effect that the likes of Bitcoin does have on the environment.
00:19:07Mark
What are the kinds of projects at the moment, the kind of, kind of pieces of work that are really exciting you?
00:19:15Jen
So one of our clients is, um, Total Carting Zero, which is a electric carting series, which was established by Rob Smidley who is an F1 engineer who really wanted to, um, improve the inclusivity, um, of grassroots motorsport. So this has got us written all over it. Because obviously we worked at Goodwood on the Motorsport events. So, um, we were very familiar with this industry. Um, plus it has huge ethical credentials, um, alongside the projects. So not only is it cleaner because it's electric carting, it's also fairer because all of the carts are the same. You can't buy your way to a better cart than your competitor. So it's skill based. Um, it's more cost effective than petrol carting.
00:20:14
Um, so we are, we're all over it and we absolutely love working with them. It's a hugely exciting project. We've been working with them now for, um, the last six months, and we are now working on their 2023 marketing. So that's a very exciting one.
00:20:31Mark
So Growth Animals is in the process of, um, becoming a B Corp. How is that process going?
00:20:36Chris
It's slow. We, we are lucky in one sense I, in that when we applied it was very early days in our life. So, um, being, uh, such a new business, you, you can take on a B Corp pending status and we have that. We still have that now. Um, but otherwise, you know, it was way back in now, April, may of this year that we submitted our full, um, application and we are still in a queue just waiting for, for B Corp to find enough resources to come and start auditing this on it. Um, and we're fully aware that once that bit happens, it's gonna be a lot of work as well, cuz I think, um, you know, there's, in a positive way there's a lot of backwards and forth, backwards and forwards at that stage.
00:21:23Mark
When you are talking to clients, are you encouraging them, um, to look into, uh, obviously we talked about B Corp, but there's also things like Pledge 100, um, or sorry, um, pledge 1%. Um, are those conversations that you have with people about ways that they can do things or is that not really part of the, the sort of marketing discussion?
00:21:47Jen
Well, it, yeah, it, it is and it can be providing it isn't ticking box. So actually we would, we would rather, we would rather them focus on what they're truly doing before trying to get any accreditation or plant a load of trees, because that's when it starts to feel disingenuous. Um, because you know, if, if you look at the, our portfolio of clients over the last kind of two years.
00:22:14
We've had, um, a biodiversity project that we've been working on. We, we've had a, um, couple of NHS suppliers who are held bent on a. And serving the, the end patient, um, and, and improving their, um, care and their, their pathway. Um, Chris, you worked on the, um, the employment project as well, didn't you? The.
00:22:40Chris
Yeah, the executive search firm that sort of specializes in placing more diverse candidates than others, and obviously works with a lot of, uh, research and education sectors.
00:22:53Mark
so actually the, the, the important distinction for, for me then feels it's. It's helping already ethical companies with their marketing rather than helping companies who want to be seen as ethical.
00:23:06Chris
Yes. Although the only, uh, difference to that I would say is that that is that there are some companies who perhaps haven't thought a great deal about the need to be ethical because, you know, it might be that there's just a, a, a base level of ethics that is there anyway, as is probably the truth of most people. Um, and so with those, it's more then helping to explore better ways of doing things. Um, and that will come about usually either up front when we have the strategic conversation, where we explore what their purpose is and what other powerful messages that can come out from that. Or it can come much later down the line when we are having more regular sort of tactical discussions about the campaigns that they're doing at that certain time. Uh, and it might be that it, it crops up. Like for example, you know, Black Friday's on the horizon and we had a, a client we were chatting to just in our general catchups and sort of, it felt right at that moment to have a conversation about, right, how do you feel about Black Friday? Do you feel comfortable doing it? And is this the right thing for you, your brand, your customers? So yeah, it's kind of both. Right up front in the strategic discussion, but also ongoing with that tactical outlook.
00:24:22Jen
So we often get asked like, okay, so you've explained what ethical marketing is to us, but to further illustrate it, could you tell us what isn't ethical? Um, and this is quite an interesting one to have with clients because sometimes they don't think that they're being unethical. And we've been guilty of that in our, in our careers in fact, you know. When we've worked in previous jobs, we've got in, you know, in house within organizations we've been given, you know, some chunky sales targets to reach and deadlines by which to reach them. And we've been, we know the power of scarcity, for example.
00:25:06
So there was an element of there being, uh, pressure to say that that tickets or products or whatever it might have been were in demand, um, more than perhaps they were in order to create those artificial spikes. And actually I get, I get the pressure to do it. I do because there are, um, sales targets, there's cash that needs to be bought into the business. But equally it starts to erode trust with a, with a customer because they think, oh, hold on, you said that last year, or last week, or, or whenever it was.
00:25:45
So it's kind of having those conversations with clients that sense check things that you think are clever, and they're not actually.
00:25:55Mark
Do you think, um, DFS will ever become a Growth Animals client?
00:25:59Chris
Yeah, it's funny. Do you know what? You are the second person in about a week who brought up DFS and um, I dunno if you noticed it, but I think they've had a change of heart recently. So, uh, on TV at the moment, they've got a really lovely advert that's all like, you know, brand style and just really beautifully curated. And I wonder whether it is part of a change of heart now because they've had so much sort of feedback around how disgusting their previous approach was.
00:26:30Jen
We've, we've actually been having a chat, Mark, with one of, um, the owners of one of the agency networks that we are part of who highlighted on LinkedIn this week. Three different examples of, um, disingenuous PR.
00:26:45Mark
Right, okay.
00:26:46Jen
Yeah, they worked in terms of getting column inches and um, attention, but they, you didn't need to scratch much beneath the surface to realize that they were PR stunts.
00:26:58
So, um, the first example was Deliveroo. Who did a campaign around Collecteroo, which was aimed at collecting food to give to food banks and supporting a particular charity. And they'd even got like Nicola Adams to head it up as the face of. So it was a pretty high profile, high budget campaign. But apparently if you scratch beneath the surface, There is no such service apart from like in one city, there's one van. It's really not making the impact that this PR campaign would suggest.
00:27:37Chris
One another, yeah, BrewDog this last week has been a brilliant one. Going, going all guns blazing with there we are, the Antip sponsor of the Qatar World Cup, and then you can book tables to watch the World Cup games in all of their pubs throughout the.
00:27:53Mark
Oh, oh, come on, BrewDog. mean, I, so, I saw that and I thought, okay, I don't. For a while I haven't trusted that they're not the hippest, uh, in terms of, um, of ethics, um, but more in a terms of like how they treat their staff. Um, but that's, um, oh, that's disappointing.
00:28:13
I could talk about that kind of stuff, uh, for days actually. But is there, are there, and I guess I'm thinking really here for, for smaller, smaller companies, um, or individuals, are there lines, do you think, that we have to sort of be wary of?
00:28:29
You know, if I think about scarcity, so that that is, you know, I'll sort of come clean. That is something that I've introduced on my website, but I am being honest about, I'm trying to use my actual capacity. You know, if I've got bookable services, uh, and I can only really sustain so many of those, um, per month, I wanna flag that up, but I am also using that as a little bit of a, you know, a little bit of a nudge. And I think there, you know, where do you think the line is and is it really, is it for us to draw? Is it really for the consumer to draw?
00:29:06Chris
I mean, our, our feeling is that everyone has an internal sort of compass where they know sort of instinctively where that line is. So your example is a really good one because, you know, if you genuinely do have scarcity in a number of the products or services you sell, yeah, that's fine. That's actually, it is helpful to let people know that because they wanna make that purchase and they might have been holding off. Uh, equally discounting, you know, Black Friday we touched upon before. Uh, but discounting in general isn't all bad because again, you know, sometimes you need to clear old stock, uh, you need to clear seasonal stock.
00:29:47
So in all of those cases, I think we all know because we have that sort of internal thing where if we're going over the line, there's that ick factor. You, you just feel. Wrong inside
00:30:01Mark
if you are, uh, a new, a new business, or if you're starting a new venture and you wanna get off on the right foot with your marketing, are there some things to bear in mind? Are there some starting points to consider? Are there guidelines or something like that, that you would recommend, um, if people maybe don't feel like they can always trust their gut?
00:30:29Jen
So, um, actually it's far easier to market ethically when you are building a business from scratch. Is our experience. Because one, you haven't got lots and lots and lots of stakeholders to, with all of their influences and their own agendas, um, and you can drive your own agenda. Um, but also you've not got the legacy of, of years of, uh, a way of doing things or years of those sales targets to be meeting. So you can, you've got a blank sheet of paper.
00:31:07
Because recently we went to a, um, a, a seminar, um, that we were presenting at called the the Good Agency Summit. And we went to one of the breakout sessions around, um, ethical marketing, and we were calling it purpose, but then realized it needed to be a, a better word than that. Impact, good, whatever that word might be. Um, and it was about defining one's purpose. And some of the people in the room, you know, they. In really, really established businesses, but they as people were very ethical values led people and they were like banging their head against the wall saying, it's so hard to get a new, an established business, all those different stakeholders, with all of this legacy of politics and ways of doing things to actually change. And it's a culture thing. So it's really hard to change culture particularly quickly. But when you are starting out, like conversely, um, actually what a joy, like what an opportunity to be able to start with that blank piece of paper.
00:32:18Chris
Yeah. And, and, uh, and link to that, one of the chapters of the guide that we produced, we interviewed, uh, the managing director of this big estate up in Scotland, an escape estate that's been around for, uh, generations of, of Dukes, you know, sort of, uh, owning the land, A big, big chunk of land across, across Scotland. And I had a good chat with him about how it really helps when you're a legacy business, let's say, to sort of look into the history books and understand what are the motivations that started the place, what are the motivations that drove drove it to where it is today. Because that can then really guide the purpose, the communications, and make it feel so much more authentic than your average sort of legacy business that goes, oh, do you know what? Yeah, we really need a purpose and we need to be acting sustainable because it's, it's really good for our commercial agenda. So let's tick that box and make some stories up now.
00:33:24
Um, and while it's tricky because, you know, he, he was very frank around the fact that they don't want to go too hard or fast in any area, because he's aware that the communities that have lived around that estate for, for many generations would see immediately any sort of change of direction as being inauthentic. So they have to do everything at a much slower pace.
00:33:48Mark
Yeah, that, that's interest. I don't, I don't actually have anything to add on that, but that's just interesting. I think the British attitude to authenticity, I think is interesting and I think it, it differs in, in other places. I think it's a conversation I remember having years ago with a friend of mine who did, um, did some work in the States with like one of these Camp America things and, and he, he said, you know, that one of the big differences is in America, if you get up one morning and say I'm a goth now, everyone sort of goes, okay, right, that's alright, you know, Alice, she's a goth now. Whereas we wanna go Right, what's your credentials? Uh, what music do you listen to? Have you got the correct hair dye? What are the clothes that you buy? You know, we, we have all of these. We, we, we seem to seek that proof.
00:34:34
You know, and I think, I think that is interesting. So when you are at that sort of older stage or even, uh, maybe you are a company on the cusp of, uh, of growth, but you've got this, this legacy behind you or, or this way of doing things to be able to then sort of.
00:34:51
And that's something I struggle with as well, is like my own personal sort of authenticity and, and, and not sounding like, I think, you know, purpose washing, you know, which is partly why I'm interested in these kinds of conversations anyway, just purely selfishly to, to help my, help my own business. Um, but yeah, I, I, the authenticity thing, I think, uh, yeah, I think it's interesting.
00:35:13Chris
Yeah, it is, and I think it transcends a lot of things to do with marketing. You know, the, it's almost like the, the older the business, the slower you do need to change. You know, you can even see it in things like visual identity, you know, famous cases like when Tropicana changed its packaging too dramatically, and then everyone just stopped buying it. You know, things like that.
00:35:32Jen
I didn't know about that. Actually this, this goes on to a point we make to all of our clients, other agencies we speak to, um, and one of the main points when and whenever Chris does a speech or a talk around ethical marketing is that, Don't wait until you are squeaky clean to be able to start thinking about ethical marketing.
00:35:55
Because we have had clients who have said, I'm, I'm scared to do this because it can open us up to scrutiny. You know, not, not the extreme of green hushing, but the other extreme of, of greenwashing. There's this murky bit in the middle where people are like, oh, if we start doing something, are we gonna then need to like completely reorder everything in our business? And we really want to discourage people from that nervousness, because our view is that it's about doing your best. It's a conversation, it's questioning, and there are going to be times when you can't go the squeaky clean route.
00:36:40
And the example is Chris's carbon conscious websites that he mentioned earlier, because there's a scale of completely carbon conscious, which is, you know, ultimately a few words on one page, um, from a really, really dirty website, which is lots of images, lots of videos, you know, all of those things. The server being a non-ethical one, you know, all of those things. But there's going to be a need to be somewhere on the scale, because if it was truly, truly a hundred percent carbon conscious, it may not include all the information you need on it. And then your business isn't going to actually succeed through that platform.
00:37:22
So, um, we use the analogy of recycling, like, you know, you might have 10 toilet rolls that you plan to recycle, but if you do as many of them as you can, then that's better than just not wanting to recycle any of them. In case you miss a few.
00:37:39Mark
I'm in the middle of reading James Clear's Atomic Habits at the moment, and that's actually a big thing. It's like, it's so much better to, to just do, to, to do a little bit every day. You know, if, if you are committing to, to getting out and running, you know, half an hour every day, it's so much better if you, you just think about getting up and getting your shoes on, and even if you go and do 10 minutes, that's 10 minutes more than you would've done if you've just laid in bed, you know, because you didn't feel like it. So yeah, absolutely.
00:38:07Jen
My homework though, Mark, is to think of a better example than the loo rolls for this cause. Uh, it needs to be a bit, bit of a bigger decision than loo roll.
00:38:20Mark
Well, this has been, this has been, uh, uh, a great pleasure. Where can, um, people keep up with your work and, and connect with you and perhaps find out what kind of animal they are?
00:38:29Chris
The best thing to do is firstly go to the Growth Animals website cuz then you can find out all about us. So that's, uh, growthanimals.com. And on our about page, uh, so about halfway down is the link to our animal quiz if you wanna find out what animal you are. So that's, uh, that's where I found me to look at. And if you wanna find me or Jen personally, then you can find us on LinkedIn.
00:38:51Jen
Thank you so much for having us and um, I think we need to keep sharing all of the examples of unethical marketing, um, between us so that we can look at them as case studies of what not to do.
00:39:05Mark
Yes, I smell a newsletter. Name and shame. Marvelous. Thank you very much both. This has been uh, a real pleasure.
00:39:13Chris
Thanks a lot, Mark.
00:39:14Jen
you.
00:39:15Chris
it.
00:39:16Mark
Huge thanks to Jen and Chris, you can check them out at growthanimals.com, and links to everything we talked about on your screen now, or at earbrainheart.com.
00:39:27
If you enjoy this chat and please share it with someone who needs to hear it. Just point them to earbrainheart.com or show them how to follow the podcast on their phone. Take care of yourself and I'll be back again with you very soon.
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Ear Brain Heart

A discussion with creative, purpose-led entrepreneurs and change-makers using their powers of persuasion for good. Through weekly discussions, I explore how we can combine creativity and compassion in our marketing.

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