To embrace a purpose-driven agenda marketers need to understand their company’s failings and then act as change leaders, mobilising the businesses from the top down.

Influence leadership

If marketers want to get serious about making a change in society they need to explore their brand’s “zone of lies”.

This is the middle space that sits between the two extremes of “win-win situations” and “total disaster”, according to marketing leadership expert, Thomas Barta. In this context the “zone of lies” describes activity being carried out by companies which, while legal, is morally dubious.

“There is the win-win where everyone is happy – the financial, social, ecological impact is very positive. Then you have the disaster zone when things go really badly wrong and the company is in the press. People will worry a lot about these two extremes,” explained Barta, speaking on stage at the Festival of Marketing (11 October).

“In the zone of lies is where you will find the things that a company can actually change. If you really want to do this you’ve got to be truly brave.”

Exploring this “zone of lies” is the antidote to what Barta sees as the onslaught of “purpose porn” and the trend for brands dressing their marketing up to look like a purpose-driven campaign.

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