Through their first collaboration, the teams behind Light Years and Conspiracy of Love have come together to launch a new report, which identifies key trends to watch for purpose-driven brands. Lucie Greene of Light Years and Bobby Jones of Conspiracy of Love sat down with Jessica Abo to share more.
Jessica Abo: What inspired your companies to create this report?
Bobby Jones: We know, and we’ve seen so much evidence that purpose is the future of business, but the two biggest questions that most business leaders have are how will purpose shape the future of business and what can we do about it today? We look at the future of business and culture through these six macro themes, which include civic and society, radical inclusivity, universal wellbeing, sustainable futures, community connections, good culture, as well as moonshots. And through those lenses, we begin to paint a picture of what the future is going to look like and how purpose and business and culture is going to shape those things. What businesses and business leaders can do about that. And what are the implications of these trends that they could begin to adapt in the way that they operate and create in the way that they lead in the way that they work with purpose within their organizations.
Why did you want to create this report right now?
Jones: We’re seeing businesses that are so inspired right now to be part of this shift to purpose. We know that consumers are more than ever demanding that the brands, the businesses they support be purpose-driven. We know employees want to work with purpose and they want to lend their talents to organizations that are purpose-driven. And we know that investors are looking for businesses that are actually solving problems in society in ways that are creating a better and more just and sustainable world.
Lucie, what do you think brands should take away from this report?
Lucie Greene: There’s never been a greater expectation of brands to take on audacious problems. So during the pandemic, that’s only increased, 75% of consumers, according to Wunderman Thompson data, recently said that the pandemic had really transformed what they expect from brands on this front to really tackle climate change and meaningful societal and justice issues. And that’s really only going to continue when you think about Gen Zs, the next youth cohort. Stuff that was seen as novel or a virtue, or a retrofit for brands even in some cases, is basically table stakes. They expect all the brands they consume to be sustainable, to be radically inclusive, to take on bold issues and be very proactive. And so really those expectations of brands are only going to continue as consumers, but also from a talent point of view.
Bobby, how do you think this report can help brands be activists?
Jones: One, it helps brands understand the new rules of engagement, particularly within this space. So for example, you see a lot of brands that are moving from charity to solidarity. So instead of just donating time and money, how do you actually identify the communities and the consumer groups within these issues that you want to support and how do you actually help empower and invest in them and give them the resources that they need, to create the solutions that they want to create? The second thing that we do is provide case studies. So there are over 200 examples of the brands, creators, and innovators who are shaping the face of purpose-driven business. And through those case studies, you can see a wide spectrum of ways that you as a business can begin to think about how you show up, the stories that you tell, and the products that you create. We also show impact models that you can be part of, as well as different partnership models that can fit your business in truly authentic, ownable and credible ways that meet not only your business goals but also your impact goals as well.
Greene: There’s increasingly this idea that problems are not singular, they are interconnected. So, wellbeing and health are also connected to social and racial injustices, but also connected to sustainability. So problems are sort of interconnected ecosystems. So don’t think of things in silos.
How do you think this report helps brands improve the way they hire?
Greene: Purpose has become central to the motivations and aspirations of people, not just as consumers, but within their career. They’re looking to companies to facilitate them to give back to the communities. And they’re looking for companies to have value systems. They’re looking to work at diverse companies where they work alongside diverse teams with diverse perspectives and with a broader sense of equity and ethics and companies that just really know what they stand for. So it’s a 360 atmosphere where purpose and living the talk or walking the talk is more important than ever to retain and attract talent in tomorrow’s world.
Is there a theme or takeaway from this report that excites you the most?
Jones: I think the one that excites me the most is this idea of radical inclusivity in how it was being expressed, not only in the physical world, through more innovative ways of diverse hiring, building diverse workforces, to building diverse teams, but also that there are people who are really thinking about how do we actually bring in systems of inclusion, inequity, and diversity into the AI, virtual worlds, and metaverses as well. It’s such an easy thing to take some of the inequalities and injustices that exist in the physical world and just bring them over into a virtual world, whether consciously or unconsciously. So I am encouraged by the idea that there are people that are really thinking about that, and are passionate about building systems within these virtual spaces to make sure that people are represented. I think it is a really important takeaway in terms of realizing how these past few years have created both an urgency, not only the way that we see the world in a physical form but also all the ways that we imagine connectivity and whether it’s in a virtual, social or physical world moving forward.
Where can people go who want to read the full report?
Jones: To read the full report, go to futureofgoodreport.com. We invite you to check it out and we invite you to reach out to us with any questions that you have.