Why marketers must be part of the strategic ESG conversation

By nancywright

ESG (environment, social, governance) are the three most important letters you need to know to thrive as a marketer. As marketers, you must understand your audiences. And never before have audiences’ preferences and behaviours changed faster than in the past two years. 

Marketers must be familiar with the ESG framework — what it is, and why it matters — and, most importantly from a marketing or agency perspective, how it motivates investors and consumers. ESG is so much more than sustainability, despite the fact that environmental concerns, particularly climate change, hog the limelight (and for good reason).  

We’ve seen the power of purpose for a brand, and how greenwashing vs. living admirable brand values can lead to colossal failure for companies. Although cancel culture did not exist two years ago, we’re seeing it play out in real time over and over again as consumers withdraw support for a person or company on social media, and with their wallets. We must be constantly aware of this change as business leaders, and as marketers and agencies who represent brands. 

Marketers’ skill sets must evolve so that they become part of the core team that is driving ESG. Those ESG skills must become intertwined with the brand itself, its voice and messaging. At the same time, just as for other senior business leaders, marketers who gain those ESG skills and education will improve their career prospects and their company’s prospects.  People with these ESG skill sets are hot commodities for top recruiting firms and for nomination committees for board seats.

The role of marketing leaders and agencies in helping companies succeed is changing. They need to have a seat at the highest-level strategy tables to help drive the fundamental operational ESG initiatives required for the monumental shift all companies will need to undergo to transition to a clean and just economy. 

It’s happening, people, and there is no turning back. Get on the train, or risk falling under it.

Our CEO, Helle Bank Jorgensen, is part of the 4A’s Sustainability Summit on April 20. 

Joining her for a virtual session on ‘Helping agencies bring an ESG mindset to client conversations’ will be: 

Ellis A. Jones, VP Chief Sustainability Officer, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Nancy Michael, Chief Product Officer, The Climate Board

Gwen Murphy, Co-founder and CEO, SCERTIFY (Moderator)

Registration is still open!

Nancy Wright is Competent Boards’ Chief Operating Officer. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Photo credit Cyrus Chong
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