Be Yourself, and Communicate
we were very young we lived in a magical world, outside of time and the need
to possess or do anything. Enveloped
in the wonder of what is, everything was fresh and sacred.
It all changed once we entered a world of separation.
In a world of space and time, boundary, exploration, endeavour and
manipulation, the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain became
powerful international brand published within its covers the following
quotation: "At the bottom of Estée Lauder's jar is the world of eternal
youth. At the bottom of
Anita Roddick's jar is the world itself."
Roddick is the founder of The Body Shop, the United Kingdom's biggest
international retailer. Whilst
Lauder's name is synonymous with products designed to smooth
away worrying wrinkles and laughter lines, Roddick's stance is simpler.
"One of the beauty industry's biggest lies has always been that
you can turn back the clock with face cream", she says.
marketing man would have advised such an honest statement from the founder of
a cosmetics company. Roddick's
plain speaking and acceptance that we need to accept ourselves just as we are
has been a major factor in the worldwide success of her company.
A generation of wise-women has spurned the myth of age reversal and
chosen instead effective and environmentally friendly products from The Body
is a new kind of entrepreneur a social and environmental activist who takes
pride in it. When her advisors
suggested that her high profile campaigns for political causes should be no
part of commercial endeavour she
took the word 'Activist' and made it the name of a range of men's facial
from The Body Shop have picketed conferences organised by the petrochemical
industry, written to heads of state, organised aid for oppressed people across
the world and every day they informed customers about victims of torture and
political oppression. Cynics
might wonder if such campaigns are not simply sophisticated marketing.
They serve to attract publicity to be sure, but my belief is that The
Body Shop is in touch with something vital, the return of passion and
genuineness in a world of ever increasing psychological manipulation.
is the twenty-seventh most recognised brand in the world, yet The Body Shop
has never spent a penny on conventional advertising.
Clinton when still president of the U.S.A. said: "I have been convinced
for years that it is no longer necessary to choose between growing the economy
and preserving, and even improving the environment."
London's Delphi Group advised institutional investor clients
"alternative energy industries offer greater growth prospects than the
carbon fuel industry." British Petroleum, Shell and Enron are investing
heavily in renewable sources of energy.
British Petroleum recently changed their logo from the familiar green
shield to a yellow and green sunflower to reflect this trend.
an image change is a multimillion-dollar undertaking. Companies keen to project a socially responsible,
environmentally friendly image must do more than change the design of their
notepaper. An ethical
audit, and a critical look at the company's governance are well advised before
any changes are implemented. It
is essential to understand the history of the company to exorcise any ghosts
that may 'spook' a programme of corporate change.
Without such attention an image change will not fool for long a public
that is becoming increasingly well informed by media and Internet for, and the
investment will be wasted.
Rules of Sustainable Corporate Communications
Don't manufacture an image. Instead
critically examine who and what you are and then project that image
Be the leader in your field. Run
your business differently from the crowd, and let people know.
Work with and create communities, face-to-face communication and
recommendation remains the most powerful influence.
Ensure brand integrity, but allow diversity of expression.
Every employee, shop and office has a story to tell.
Make sure their story can be expressed.
5. Retain your humanity at all costs, or your best staff and customers will leave you at the earliest opportunity.
article was originally published in Executive Excellence Magazine.
Text Copyright ©2001 Stephen Bray.
Bray may be contacted at email@example.com.