Flagging A Global Purpose #11 #cong22


An idea to move us from purpose washing to unifying under a global flag

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Purpose-washing is alive and well
  2. We need collective identity
  3. We can transcend boundaries and border
  4. A global identity for a global purpose

About David Gluckman

David Gluckman was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on 1st November 1938, the day that Sea Biscuit and War Admiral fought out the Race of the Century at Pimlico Park, Baltimore.  Educated in Johannesburg, he joined a local advertising agency after university and soon fell in love with business. He made the pilgrimage to London in 1961 and worked as an account executive on the introduction of Kerrygold butter into the UK.  Always a frustrated creative, he escaped into brand development in 1969, met a man from a drinks company called IDV, and his life changed forever. A lover of cricket, he considers his greatest achievement bowling the West Indian legend, Joel Garner, first ball in a pro-am 6-a-side tournament.

In 1973 David invented Baileys, the world’s most successful cream liqueur, which has since sold over 1.25 billion bottles.

Contacting David Gluckman

You can connect with David on LinkedIn or see his book ‘That Sh*t Will Never Sell’

By David Gluckman

There’s a lot of talk about purpose by brands these days.  In a way it reminds me of ‘sportswashing’.  People will forget about torture and abuse as long as they have the opportunity to love their local football team, whoever owns it. And if it’s winning, people conveniently forget who the owners really are.

I suppose purpose is a convenient way of helping people forget about the real issues.  If a gambling company offers to become carbon neutral by 2030, does that become their purpose, rather than persuading the less well-off to part with their hard-earned money in a futile bid to get rich.

Everybody knows the house ALWAYS wins.  So carbon neutrality is all very well, as we make our way to the food bank.

One of the more exciting takes on purpose cropped up a year or so ago when I had occasion to have a Zoom conversation with a 30-something Swedish fellow called Oskar Pernefeldt.  Oskar had come up with a brilliant idea.  A world flag.

Think about it.  Religion has a flag that enables it to transcend borders and boundaries.  It may not always be comfortable, but you can be Catholic in Buenos Aires or Budapest.  Or a Jew in Johannesburg or Jeddah. Your religion is the flag that binds you together.

I heard an eminent scientist the other day say that even if the UK can become carbon-neutral by 2050 or whenever, all it takes is a couple of mega-cities in China or India to cancel out all our efforts.  Or another mad Putin war.

We need a collective identity that makes us all feel part of a Global whole.  Jews feel that.  Catholics and Muslims too.  And there has been some success in uniting the Gay community across the world.  They all have flags of a kind.

 So why not all of us?  When will we begin to feel we are citizens of the planet?  We have a common cause now that will affect the survival of everyone.  We have to band together to reverse Climate Change.  A global identity to which we all espouse is a great start.

You definitely have something there, Oskar.  Build it and they will come.

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