We live in explosive times. It appears society has become even more polarised across more subject areas: Brexit, Trump, diversity and equality…. There are many contributing factors to this increasing tribalism. What is certain is that the rise in group identity, trumping that of individual merit, is damaging our society, our relationships, and our ability to have productive and fruitful conversations and discussions about these topics. As a society, we seem to be losing the ability to understand nuance and to react appropriately when confronted with ideas that differ from our own. To echo the sentiments of MIT researchers Marshall Van Alstyne and Erik Brynjolfsson, the loss of shared experiences and values is harmful to the structure of democratic societies.
Let’s talk about bravery. Not mountain climbing. Not parachuting out of a plane. Not bungee jumping, abseiling, marathon running or ironman training. All of which are admirable. I’d like to talk about everyday bravery. The bravery to never just standby and listen while someone in the office shrinks into themselves because the office humour or banter has taken an unpleasant turn. The bravery always to speak up to make sure that the quiet people are included and heard. That the outliers feel like they belong as much as those who fit the mould. To speak up, to act, to defend, even if that makes you the unpopular one. Speaking up, staging interventions and zero tolerance of excluding behaviour at every level, this is what changes work culture and if the current statistics on diversity balance at the leadership levels of our sector are evidence then culture needs to change, to be more inclusive, to be more diverse.
On March 8th global brand strategy firm, Siegel+Gale hosted its fifth annual International Women’s Day breakfast in New York City. Anchored by a lively panel discussion and moderated by S+G’s Global CMO Margaret Molloy, the morning was both intimate and broadly relatable. In attendance were over 70 senior marketing executives across a myriad of industries. Many had met before at previous Siegel+Gale events and reconnecting on this important day at such a pivotal time gave the event urgency and a sense of joy. The morning started with a special performance by Heather Massie, who presented a scene from her one-woman show “Hedy! The Life and Inventions of Hedy Lamarr!” Remembered almost exclusively as a beautiful and glamorous movie star from the 1930s-1950’s, Hedy was also a brilliant inventor who is responsible for, among other things, the underlying technology that has made mobile phones possible. With her compelling performance, Ms Massie captured the spirit of Ms. Lamarr and perfectly set the tone for the rest of the morning.
It's International Women's Day, so we're celebrating by shining a light on some of the brilliant women in our network. In line with celebrating women, we interviewed the inspirational group chief marketing officer at Havas UK, Tracey Barber, on gender equality, breaking down barriers and working with UN Women. Who is the woman that inspires you most and why? My sister, Sara. Because while I can (and often do) feel hugely inspired by industry leaders, vocal activists or other forces for good, I believe that sisterhood delivers a unique bond which we should try and emulate in our working lives. A shared agenda, having each other’s back and a bloody great dollop of humour gets you through a lot. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Let it be absolutely clear, the loss of a discount will neither scare nor distract one single NRA member from our mission to stand and defend the freedoms that have always made America the greatest nation in the world.” In the wake of yet another mass shooting here in the US the NRA is lashing out at companies who have decided to cut ties with them. They are mad at them and aren’t going to take it anymore! And as for the brands? Well, apparently the feeling is mutual. In large part, this change of heart isn’t being driven by the brands, but by their customers. People are starting to demand that companies take a position on issues that many of them would just as soon avoid if they could. And, frankly, we shouldn’t find this surprising. Over the last decade, marketers have shifted focus from what a brand “does” to what a brand “believes.” We’ve stopped talking about the benefits of a given product or category. Instead, we’re inviting customers to ask, “Do our belief systems align around how the world should work?”