The Future of Social Activism The Future of Social Activism

Event 29th January at Haymarket Hotel

Why everyone's talking about purpose-led comms


Communications and sustainability experts from innocent drinks, Oracle and Taylors of Harrogate joined us last week at our event ‘The Future of Social Activism’. The focus of the event was on how sustainability and purpose can drive genuine business transformation for businesses.

You can view all the presentations and the panel discussion below.

 Our top insights from the morning:

  • Sustainability and purpose go hand in hand. Many businesses are simply missing the trick to leveraging their sustainability strategy and actions as the ultimate proof of purpose.
  • Actions and behaviours. Purpose isn’t achieved with bolt-on social marketing or cause-related initiatives; instead society expects organisations to behave coherently and credibly across all areas of operations, behaviours and communications.
  • Can a purpose be too big if you can’t achieve it? No – that is precisely the point of having a purpose, to propel you forward. But a purpose can be too generic, and that is where brands and business are missing out.
  • Should your purpose be around your most material impact? The critical connection between sustainability and purpose lies at the intersection of your material impacts and what you are doing to reduce your impact (sustainability) and where you want to make a positive difference (purpose).

Watch Steve Barrett, Global Editor in Chief of PR Week open our event with an overview of Davos and the themes that are affecting communications now.

Our Deputy Managing Director Kathleen Enright and MSL’s James Warren unearthed hard stats from our global research into 7,000 consumers in five key markets, which highlight how the UK in some cases differs greatly from the rest of the world when it comes to our approach to social activism.

Experts from Oracle (Chris Talago, VP Communications EMEA & JAPAC), Innocent Drinks (Katie Leggett, Sustainability Manager) and Taylors of Harrogate (Sam Ward, Brand Communications Lead) joined Kathleen and Steve for an insightful panel discussion on all things purpose-led communications. They discussed how to be truly authentic, use employees effectively and the challenges of building purpose into a global versus local organisation plus much more.

Kathleen Enright 

Having worked as a sustainability consultant and a brand purpose communications strategist, Kathleen knows first-hand how Sustainability Strategy and Brand Marketing can work together. Kathleen set up and ran the OgilvyEarth EMEA practice where she spearheaded the use of creative marketing to deliver branded CR strategies and bring corporate commitments to life via 360 communications plans. Over the last 15 years, Kathleen has provided responsible marketing expertise to major global clients such as Amex, Danone, IHG, Kering, Kraft, LVMH, Nestlé, P&G, SCA, Tetra Pak, TK Maxx, Unilever, the UN and Volvo.

James Warren 

As Strategic Development Director at MSL UK, James blends strategic consultancy, creative thinking and digital nous to help clients solve their communications needs. James started his career at IBM, then went on to be global Chief Creative Officer, Digital at Weber Shandwick before joining MSL UK, where he’s responsible for the delivery of truly integrated content-led digital solutions. James’s client experience includes Apple, Microsoft, Exxon Mobil, BT, MasterCard, Nestlé, Unilever, Puma, Novartis, EDF, GSK, Gates Foundation and McDonald’s. 

Steve Barrett 

Steve Barrett is the Editorial Director for PR Week Global, where he provides editorial vision and voice for the industry’s leading title. Steve has worked within the marcoms industry as a journalist since the late nineties and has held senior editorial posts across the Haymarket portfolio. He will be joining us directly from the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, bringing with him the latest thinking from world leaders and top executives to help inform how these themes will impact businesses and their communications strategies. 

Katie Leggett 

Katie is sustainability manager at innocent drinks, a healthy drinks company with a goal of “leaving things better than we find them”. Katie’s role at innocent includes engaging the employee population to deliver their 2020 sustainability strategy and the external communication of this strategy. Katie also leads innocent’s work on human rights. Previous to working at innocent, Katie has worked in the Corporate Responsibility team at ArcelorMittal and at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. 

Sam Ward

With 13 years in consumer media and PR under her belt, Sam’s an expert communicator with a longstanding belief in meaningful marketing. During her six years at Taylors, Sam has run a number of successful purpose-led campaigns, including the five-year ‘Yorkshire Tree’ project and the launch of Taylors’ first all-female coffee. Sam’s human and authentic approach to media relations and crisis communications has confidently led the brands through some tricky times, with ethical perceptions and market growth for Yorkshire Tea at an all-time high.

Chris Talago

Chris is the VP of PR & Communications EMEA and JAPAC for Oracle. He is an award winning leader with 23 years experience across technology, engineering, manufacturing, aerospace and automotive sectors as well as corporate brand building. Proven track record of change management, team and brand transformation and integrated communications. Extensive experience working with global companies including IBM, Microsoft, MediaTek, HP, AMD, Honeywell Aerospace & Turbo, BMC and AVG. Skilled strategist, executive counsellor and people leader with a practical approach to delivery.

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