Time for Companies to be Called to Account #20 #cong19


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4 Key Takeaways:

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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

Since my book was first published, I have travelled abroad quite extensively, talking to students and ‘performing’ at business conferences.  One of the things that has really struck me has been the change in attitudes amongst liberal-minded, community-conscious people of all ages and all over the place.

In Sydney last September, I listened to Derrick Kayongo, a Ugandan living in the USA, talk about recycling used bars of soap in hotels by sanitising them, reprocessing them and making them available to people in Third World countries. Apparently when Derrick started his venture, there were 800 million bars of soap thrown away in US hotels.

Visiting a local street market in London last Autumn, I came across a couple of young men selling a vodka brand called SAPLING they’d created.  “What’s so special about it?” I asked.  “Well,” one replied “apart from tasting great, we also undertake to plant a tree for every bottle of vodka we sell.”

In Athens, early in the year, I listened to a captivating story told by a young Dutchman of Kenyan origin.  His name was Paul Kangangi.  His tale was about a Dutch journalist investigating work practices in the Cocoa fields of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.  His conclusion?  That owners of all the major plantations were using kidnapped child slave labourto work the plantations.

The result of his investigations was the launch of the world’s first ‘slave free chocolate’ brand.  It’s called TONY’S CHOCOLONELY, it’s reputedly the biggest-selling chocolate brand in Holland, and it’s now being sent abroad for export.  This says a lot about the people of Holland who bought into the ethical basis of the TONY’S idea.  It’s also a very good chocolate.

The stories above are all about individuals or small groups trying to make a difference to help improve the lot of the communities we live in.  The time has come for large organisations to front up and join the crusade for better living.

Rumour has it that the global chocolate giants like Nestle, Mars and Cadburys are planning to go ‘slave free’ by 2025.  By that time, the management who made the promises will all have moved on and there’ll be a new corporate approach which probably won’t have the ‘slave-free’ manifesto built into their business plans.

I am intrigued by the stance taken by the drinks companies and the betting organisations. DRINK RESPONSIBLY, whispered in a drink advert is hardly likely to persuade a binge drinker that he’s losing control.  And WHEN THE FUN STOPS, STOP is a catchy phrase which will have absolutely zero impact on some poor unfortunate soul who has become enslaved by a gambling machine.

The trouble is that to take the quantum leap that they need to take, they will have to admit that their products are bad for us. And that is a tough ask.

But things are changing.  Social responsibility and care for the community are top level issues in Scandinavian countries.  And I even read recently that a corporation as large as Unilever is considering culling those brands in their portfolio which they consider are being harmful to the community and the environment.  (I wonder where they stand on Palm Oil?)

If I was starting out as a new brand consultant, I would build into every brief that I received a directive TO LOOK FOR AN ELEMENT THAT WOULD CONTRIBUTE TO THE WELL-BEING OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE HUMAN COMMUNITY.

This is something I ‘preach’ when talking to business or student groups these days. It adds to the innovation challenge. But it should not be beyond the reach of intelligent creative people.

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