MetaMarketing.1 - Time to ESG
Repleneshing all sources of energy.
Welcome to the first edition of MetaMarketing!
This category shall bring not only technical concepts but also many practical examples of how to properly apply the marketing theories presented.
Expect something boring and essential in the same atomic proportion.
Because for some people, ESG might sound boring.
But ESG, really, is many different things.
ESG is an acronym as much as I just turned it into a verb.
ESG is a philosophy as much as it is a mindset.
ESG is a marketing strategy as much as it is a new engine for business models.
ESG is as much political as it is revolutionary.
ESG is as much hype as it can be just a shallow narrative.
ESG is as much a bitter medicine as it is effective.
Because in the end, ESG can be your company’s regeneration or degeneration.
Simple to grasp but complex to master.
Simple because it is about understanding what is the source of energy that is pumping the pistons of your endeavor.
Simple because it is about replenishing it.
Complex because it is much easier to talk about it than to actually do something about it.
Complex because you must be ready to make much better use of your energy, by supporting nature, and time, while potentially going completely against the tide.
ESG after all is the system behind truly sustainable thinking.
But before it gets complex.
I thought about the most simple example.
Because at the end of the day, the word “Marketing” means only one thing, and this is what I always say to my clients.
It comes from the noun “Market”
But here’s the catch.
Cambridge’s dictionary also labels “Marketing” as a noun.
When in reality, -ing is a suffix used to make one of the inflected forms of English verbs
So if Marketing is actually a verb
That only means that it is about the agency or action of inserting a new product, service, or brand into the market.
Taoism teaches us that individuals should be mindful of the space they occupy so that they can avoid excess or waste.
But if we are talking about brands and entities, then we need to rephrase.
Companies should be mindful of the space they occupy.
But I digress. Below is the actual example I intended to give.
What if I were to frankly ask you to help me refuel the energy I have been spending to write all of these words for you?
This request becomes complex at the moment that there is a realization that there is no immediate reward in this exchange.
And the like button might not be clicked, but the content will be read nevertheless, and it shall be as useful as it can.
The source battery, though, still gets drained.
So, do you have what it takes to ESG this like button?
Think about it and get ready for some valuable content below!
1.1 The Future of Corporations
With the power of human creativity alongside visionary, fluid, and consistent leadership and branding, an idea with the shape of an apple, that is born in a garage, has the potential to scale into a global corporation with a net worth of $3 trillion dollars, which is a number that alone, manages to be greater than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of many countries. Companies today have more economic power, cultural influence, and human capital than entire nations. So what would be the true role of corporations towards the environment, society, politics, and economy in today's metamodern era?
Metamodernism¹ is the coming of age of a new collective consciousness, cultural behavior, and philosophical line of thinking that replaces the movement and mindset we knew as Post Modernism², a term coined by Jean-François Lyotard in 1980, representing the efficiency-first approach to industry and capitalism where the computer age transformed knowledge into information and created an unprecedented scenario of human, political and organizational evolution through different elements and systems: Values deconstruction, intertextuality, anti-scientific, plurality (less is boring), skepticism, apathy, work burnout, stress epidemy, and logical thinking. In contrast to Post Modernism, Metamodernism comes with a new set of rules that better suits society within the digital and liquid reality we live in. According to Zygmunt Bauman, a contemporary philosopher that studied Post-Modernism and how human relationships unfold in this complex social arrangement: "We are living an interconnected transition that creates an unprecedented new environment for activities and the individual life, the transition from the solidity of Modernism to the liquidity of Post-Modernism. That is, to a condition where social organizations (structures that limit individual choices, institutions that assure the repetition of routines, and acceptable human behavior) can't maintain their form for much time because they decompose and dissolve faster than it takes to mold them."³.
We can identify this transformation as a byproduct of a system of hyper-productivity that produced a surplus of many different choices for individuals in terms of consumption and entertainment. This system proved to not be sustainable in many different aspects: environmentally, ethically, economically, and health-wise (mainly mental). In more contextual depths, the fragile foundations of this system were unveiled when the COVID-19 epidemy achieved a global scale and affected supply chains worldwide, shaking economies, promoting isolation, and forcing society and companies to review life and approach to business in many different aspects while also turning technology and the digital world into the new Olympus of our reality. As a result of a broken framework, and amidst the eruption of economic recessions, mental health epidemy ⁴ and mass migration from analog to digital, henceforth society and the free market will be venturing their way towards a future where survival and growth will happen only as a result of sustainable approaches that expands the term beyond its original reference for the environment.
To think sustainably won't regard only ESG approaches that embrace the responsibility of carbon footprint and environmental impact but also, and mainly, holistic solutions that shine a spotlight on endogenous trust⁵ within systems and organizations, a term first coined by Eric Tung representing a disruptive view to blockchain technology that also perfectly suits how corporations should behave in order to thrive today and in the future. In simple terms and adapted to the context, endogenous trust represents the concept that everyone within a system will behave fairly and ethically without the necessary control and management we are used to in the post-modern era. That is to say that any type of unethical approach to business and corporate culture development will not only slow growth but also potentially undermine the success of projects forever.
In a user-centered world where all consumers are essentially users, the information consumption rate defines the rhythm of every single aspect of our lives, which is reflected in a market where innovation becomes a commodity and new technological solutions arise in every split second, creating a marketing context where companies that don't understand the true value of endogenous trust and the fair work principles⁶ will be swallowed alive by recession and the sea of true innovators that are able to grasp the concept that the old ways of doing things are completely ineffective. Growth in this new scenario doesn't happen in a gradual way because that is not the speed of the market and consumer behaves anymore, this means that synergy between ideas and executioners has to be deeply built in order for projects to really stand out from the competition, triggering hypergrowth as a consequence of holistic execution in a context where growth is distributed equally among collaborators. Hypergrowth shall be only a result of bold and inclusive leadership that understands the true value of diversity and conflict of ideas in a critical but not personal way. Nurturing not only fresh creativity but also a mental heaven context in order for healthy ideas to arise and intensively productive brainstorms to happen.
Corporations are made by people, for people. They are built using the most valuable personal asset we all share as humans, time. In order to grow, they demand a massive influx of other natural assets that need to be extracted from nature through processes that leave a prominent carbon footprint in the atmosphere, consuming an unsustainable amount of non-renewable energy sources mainly based on hydrocarbons. Understanding the simple concept of sustainability will be the only way for corporations to survive not only because they will have the obligation of giving back that which they use to exist (being the main resource of the mental and physical energy of their collaborators) but also because they will impact society and culture in ways that are yet impossible to grasp.
It is time for decision-makers to shake off old habits learned from previous leaders and start developing their own moral rule in regard to how they treat their collaborators and partners that are there to help them build the future that they envision. Hypergrowth will only be a consequence of new perspectives in regard to work and ethics and mutual respect that resonates from top to bottom in fresh corporate cultures that are bold enough to go against the tide and challenge any outdated status quo.
To find what is human inside ourselves shall be the only way to not be replaced by AI, neural networks, and language models that will soon start automating unexpected processes but also c-suite decision-making factually based on data.
Embracing creativity and design as the beating heart of revolutionary cultures shall be the only way to truly create new solutions that don't yet exist and that will thrive in a market filled with synthetic and shallow products and services.
To rescue the value of storytelling and fictionalize brands through emotions rather than factual description will not only be the necessary step to conquer the heart of new consumers but also the ideal way to inspire collaborators into the hype for building a future that doesn't yet exist.
It is time for new heroes within ourselves to surge and old villains within ourselves to retire, to recognize the better version of ourselves that will be capable of taking more risks and assuming more responsibilities because we will be able to trust in the ongoing and honest support of our teams and leaders.
It is time to declare quiet quitting dead.
Because it is time to create better than machines.
¹Using the term metamodernism employed by Vermeulen & van den Akker in Notes on metamodernism, Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, Volume 2, 2010
³ Bauman, Z. (2007). Liquid Times living in an age of uncertainty. Zahar. 7.
1.2 The ESG Marketing Scenario
Understand the context.
Corporations are made by people, for people. They are built by using the most valuable personal asset that we all share as a society, time. They also demand a huge intake of natural resources that need to be extracted from nature through processes that leaves a prominent carbon footprint in the atmosphere, consuming an unsustainable amount of non-renewable energetic sources mainly based on hydrocarbon.
43% of global consumers want to buy more from organizations that benefit society, even if their products or services cost more. And 64% are prepared to behave differently if it benefits society.¹
Why ESG Matters
Consumers are more aware of the decisions taken by companies. In the context of living in the digital age, information has become a free commodity for everyone with access to the internet and this resulted in the development of bidirectional communication² between consumers and corporations where companies are held liable for their negative impacts on the environment whereas in the past, wrongdoings and destructive initiatives never reached consumers and they didn’t have an active voice on communication mediums, where today they can raise awareness of unethical topics and promote activism with the goal of reparation and brand cancellation.
1.3 The ESG Principles
Understanding the foundation.
In contrast to not taking any action regarding sustainability, corporate transparency, and human rights, companies that invest in R&D and develop decarbonization methods behind their processes and social programs that start with the collaborators and extend to the whole society stand out in the market not only in the eyes of investors but also to the eye of society and consumers.
What is ESG?
Responsible investing is widely understood as the integration of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into investment processes and decision-making. ESG factors cover a wide spectrum of issues that traditionally are not part of financial analysis, yet may have financial relevance. This might include how corporations respond to climate change, how good they are with water management, how effective their health and safety policies are in the protection against accidents, how they manage their supply chains, how they treat their workers, and whether they have a corporate culture that builds trust and fosters innovation.
(E) - Environmental
Represents the environmental sphere of business, what can a company change from now on to become more sustainable and not be a victim of greenwashing? Key Question: What actions my company takes today in order to minimize or replenish the impacts it causes on the environment?
(S) - Social
Represents the impacts of companies’ decisions and activities on society. What practices that respect human rights and dignity are you integrating into your culture? Key Question: How can you promote actions of economical development that go beyond the generation of jobs, tax payments, and business profit?
(G) - Governance
Represents the standards for running a company, how transparent is leadership in regard to ethical board practices and political interactions? Key Question: How can you collectively navigate executive challenges without having to cut corners?
Diversity boosts innovation and financial results.³
Companies with above-average diversity produced a greater proportion of revenue from innovation (45% of the total) than companies with below-average diversity (26%)
Like corporate culture, ESG is a vertical engagement from executives to collaborators but the corporate culture within ESG hierarchies spreads sideways.
1.4 Climate Change
Why there is a crisis in our environment.
Climate change presents an existential threat to humanity. We are already seeing the effects and they are showing up faster and stronger than anticipated. The Paris Agreement set forth a global goal to limit the earth’s temperature increase to 1.5°C this century. Just switching to renewables isn’t going to be enough to reach that goal. We will also have to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Carbon removal and sequestration technologies are still in their infancy. The current solutions can be divided into two groups: natural (such as reforestation and biochar) and technological (such as direct air capture). Several countries including the US recently stepped up and created financial incentives for removing carbon from the atmosphere, but it is not yet cost-effective with current technology.
A report by the United Nations scientific panel on climate change released this year expects the atmosphere on our current trajectory to warm up by 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040. Even the effects of a 0.5 degrees increase will have far-reaching consequences. This research indicates that we are already past the tipping point; even if we significantly reduced emissions, climate change would continue (Source IPCC summary C3 section). We believe there's still time to make a change if we look at both renewable energy and CO2 removal.
Why Half a Degree of Global Warming Is a Big Deal?⁴
1.5 Beyond Just Emissions
The main lesson behind carbon emission awareness.
The approach to climate change has to be holistic, if a sustainable solution is to be developed it should try to tackle as many problems as possible inside the spectrum of social, biological, and environmental disasters that result from the accumulation of GHG (Greenhouse Gases). But it is important to consider that tackling everything at once is often difficult to execute unless you have key collaborators in a network of action to accomplish the holistic goal.
Holistic Approach to Climate Change
Understanding the damages of carbon emissions regards having a macro perspective around the carbon footprint that goes above and beyond just the chemical substance of carbon because in order to mitigate excessive emission, it is necessary to understand that a space that a company occupies represents many different spheres of energy and resources.
United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals
About the Author
Made in 1996. Born & Raised Brazillian. Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising and Communication. Adept to autodidactism. Curious Soul. Published Author. Founder of Sentient.
That’s me in a nutshell but you can learn more about Agency and myself on the About page!
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