Communication is one of the most unrecognised skills within organisations, but can have an outsized impact on how your business develops. As the Harvard Business Review notes, ‘Essential Experts’, or professionals with key functional skills such as communications, are some of the most overlooked hires for companies – especially those within technical and life sciences fields [1]. Yet, the role of communications is integral to building a brand, to define your purpose, your positioning. It increases your reach and visibility, the opportunity for collaborations and partnerships and creates momentum attracting talent as well as client and investor buy-in. [2,3]. 

Defining the communications role

A communications position is more than running a firm’s social media accounts. With the objective to generate stakeholder engagement, it entails internal and external communication. Communications is a two-way street building your reputation. It serves the aim to gain client and employee commitment by informing about new developments, improving communication exchange through processes and positive experiences with your business to seeking alignment. Information exchange coming from your company distinguishes your brand purpose and positioning from your competitors using your owned, earned and paid media channels including your website, your social media channels, press relations, newsletters, and your advertising plan all managed through a predefined content strategy [4]. Involving internal teams inspires and motivates your workforce and creates alignment. It evokes a sense of ownership valuing accomplishments, purpose, benefits [5]. 

How can you communicate effectively?

If you find yourself unable to immediately bring in one of these ‘essential experts’, here are a few tips for you to follow.

Step 1: Create your communications strategy.

Develop a plan that considers who you wish to speak to “your audience”, your message tailored to your audience, and what you want to achieve. Ask yourself:

Iidentify where you can interact with and reach your audience. Build your strategy based on how you wish to communicate with your audience, the tone of voice, the images reflecting your brand, your purpose and values. Analyse your competition and look at how your competitors are using their communications channels. How is information being presented? What is the tone they are using, informal or punchy? Is it detailed technical analysis? Is it visually attractive or text-heavy? 

And finally: Test it! Do you get engagement?

While you might be tempted to do the opposite of your competitors, it is easier in the short-term to keep things simple and follow their lead. Once you started to develop your preferred communication style, your identity and better understand your audience, you can slowly shift to a new strategy.

Step 2: Develop your content

A basic strategy involves you sharing your information and news, your content, with your audience tailored to their needs and to generate engagement. Keep it simple, and follow these basic ideas:

For more complex topics, lean on real-life examples, relate to specific happenings and occasions and help your audience identify with the subject matter.

Step 3: Identify the medium to share your content

There are multiple ways of communicating, and you should endeavour to use as many different channels as possible to reach the maximum amount of people – social media, blogging, newsletters, press, etc.

Owned media channels are your own platforms, such as your website, your social media channels, your newsletter or blog.

Earned media channels are the ones which “earned” recognition by external communicators such as bloggers, journalists and influencers.

Paid media channels are the ones you paid for in particular for advertising.

The use of social media channels requests some careful analysis. They must be differentiated according to the audience you wish to speak to.

Some media channels are only used by a specific audience. For example, your audience ages between 30 and 50 years preferers Facebook, however, a generation between 20 to 30 years of age feels more acquaint with Instagram.

 Equally, B2B is best advertised on LinkedIn or newsletters, consumer products on social platforms like Instagram and Facebook, science and technology generally leverage blogs and press.

Step 4: Keep an online presence!

Results will not be immediate. It takes time to build engagement with an. The trick is to keep communicating consistently.,. Potential partners, customers or employees will look at your communication channels before engaging with you, and a lack of information may be seen as a red flag. It is better to post sporadically than not at all. 

But what about internal communications?

When communicating internally with your employees, ensure that you reach everyone, frontline workers as well as office employees.

Deliver your messages and information during working hours and avoid mixing private and professional communications channels, e.g. WhatsApp. Ideally, develop an intranet which can be used as an App on mobile devices. Create internal communication processes, encourage a mentality to share information valuing creativity, courage and engagement.

Communicate regularly across numerous channels, offline as well as online. Let your internal teams know new developments as they happen, keep them engaged by involving your workforce into strategy building and feedback processes, provide opportunities to step up, engage and develop their skills, opinion and interests.  Your workforce and teams are the best ambassadors you can develop for your business to flourish and build your reputation externally.

Find your ‘essential expert’

The best way to ensure that your communications are effective is to find your ‘essential expert’. Professionals within this space have all the tools, experience, and skills to provide you the communications you need. Are you in the market for an expert? Reach out to LEAD-WiSE today to find out how we can help you.

Key Takeaways


[1] Lynn Cowart, Cile Johnson, and Beverly Kaye, 2018, “The 3 Essential Jobs That Most Retention Programs Ignore”, Harvard Business Review.
[2] Robin Adair Erickson, 2015, “Communication and Employee Retention”, The International Encyclopedia of Interpersonal Communication.
[3] Young Entrepreneur Council, 2021, “Nine Important Lessons Leaders Have Learned About Customer Communication”, Forbes.
[4] Michael Georgiu, 2021, “How And Why To Build Brand Authenticity”, Forbes.
[5] Vincent Diringer, 2022, “Purpose-Led, Value-Driven – What else?”, LEAD-WiSE.

Excerpt of an article of the UN Global Compact

Customers are driving a trust-based revolution and demanding that companies lead with their ethical and environmental values.  

Leading brands such as Salesforce, Accenture and RBI (a conglomerate, which owns Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Hortons) have already shifted their marketing and advertising with the message of creating a more meaningful world for consumers. In a roundtable conversation during Uniting Business LIVE these brands advocated amplifying ethical values and commitments towards diverse communities, the environment and the world. 

The ethical buying values of new consumers

Shattering the misconception that business can either be ‘for good’ or ‘for-profit’, leading brands argue that the intersection between purpose and profit is crucial for company resilience. Moreover, keeping the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the forefront of business branding and marketing conversations is also beneficial to the companies’ bottom line.

study highlighted by Accenture said during the next thirty years, baby boomers’ 68 trillion dollars’ worth of wealth will be passed down to the newer generation of consumers who hold stronger ethical buying values. Over sixty percent of the new generation of consumers are attracted to brands based on the brands’ ethical values and purpose. The study concluded that customers, particularly those customers of the future, care deeply about how the products they use are manufactured and whether the labor practices are fair and sustainable. 

Simply put: consumer demand for purpose-driven brands means that companies who amplify their positive social and environmental impacts will also maximize their revenues. “The bottom line is that having a purpose is good business,” said Brian Wipple, CEO of Accenture Interactive. “It is the business of the future!” 

Marketing the SDGs 

While consumers’ buying values and companies’ bottom lines increasingly hinge on ethical considerations, the SDGs provide solid anchorage for companies looking to do good. 

Working simultaneously to strengthen their brands and advance social and environmental issues is paramount for companies, said Fernando Machado, CMO of Burger King. “One strengthens the other!”

The brands in the RBI conglomerate have embraced the SDGs. As its #BKMeltdown campaign showcases, Burger King is working with suppliers to ban plastic in meal toys and lessen the company’s carbon footprint. “We made the commitment that by 2025 we will remove [meal’s] plastic toys from all across the globe,” said Machado.

Salesforce has also used the SDGs as a guiding tool and committed to the active pursuit of seven SDGs they can implement in their business and philanthropic operations. Last year, in pursuit of SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth – the company pledged to train half a million workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow through training and re-skilling programmes. Stephanie Buscemi, CMO of Salesforce, praises the SDGs for inspiring and guiding the company’s ethical action. “We see that the UN Sustainable Development Goals really just inspire us as an organization,” she said. “We’ve adopted your framework, and it helps to guide us.”

The future of marketing and advertising 

Marketing can drive sustainable growth by the creation of compelling experiences at the intersection of purpose and innovation. Hence, effective advertising depends on helping companies create a more meaningful world for their customers by identifying a social purpose. Dave Kingsbury, Chief Strategy Officer of Global Brain, agrees. “We need less frivolous advertising and more purpose-driven!”

It is marketing’s role to showcase how their products might solve social issues given different social contexts. For example, while using a mobile-doctor app might appeal to busy Londoners for the convenience of accessing health care advice in the middle of the workday, it also appeals to rural Rwandans who would have to spend an enormous amount of time and financial resources to access doctors in a city.

As the future of marketing lies in creating experiences that make consumer’s lives not only efficient but also meaningful and robust, the role of marketing executives is also evolving. To deal with the demands of the new generation of consumers, Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) should strive to align product and purpose, amplifying ethical values and commitments.

CMOs are also in a position to assess the company’s purpose and the actionable programmes in place. “The CMO can really take the company in a positive way to task to say ‘what are those programs? Are we investing enough or are we doing enough across the organization?’ said Salesforce’s Stephanie Buscemi.

The new consumers of the world, who are also the future of the world, demand and deserve higher social and environmental ethics from companies. Marketing needs to shoulder more of the responsibility to solve some of the world’s existing problems by aligning purpose and innovation, ethics and business.

Writing a newsletter can be daunting. Not only do you need to know your audience, you also want to choose a newsletter supplier for the fact of accessing important features such as a mailing list manager or to measure the impact of your content including your opening rate. We collected a few tips to get you started with your first effective newsletter. Enjoy!

Identify your audience and draw them in

It is imperative that you identify the audience you are trying to reach. For commercial entities, the newsletter’s audience consists of the customer base. For a non-governmental organisation (NGO) donors, partners or impact investors are targeted, while an association addresses itself to its members. Make sure you know who your audience is, as this will help you spark interest and engagement through your content.

Thanks to your components, your audience engages, feels inspired, learns and remains loyal to the author, your brand. It helps you grow your stakeholder base, no matter if you are a commercial company or an NGO.

Find the right hosting service

There are several hosting services that you can use for your newsletter, each with its own pros and cons capable of complementing your own skills and needs. Most hosting services integrate with other parts of your business or client relationship management tools, making them a versatile addition to your organisation. Many e-mail marketing tools offer free subscriptions for starters with a small number of subscribers or limited emails to be sent. When you upgrade to the premium version, you have more options in design and functions to choose from and the provider’s logo will not be shown. With the GDPR regulations it is important to remember that an e-mail marketing tool not only allows you to manage your existing data flow, it also handles subscribers who unsubscribe. You want to make it easy for them, to stay professional and respect their decision by recording their choice in your system. Nothing is worse than being listed as SPAM. It affects your reputation and your opening rate. We compiled a list of Europe’s main hosting services for you below:

Hosting services show how effective your newsletters are based on open rate for 25%+ and click rate of 2%+ respective to your industry [1]. Where possible, try to direct newsletter readers to your website or social media content through calls to action.

Determine your tone of voice

Now that you know who your audience is and how your newsletter can provide value, the next step is your writing style. While it is standard practice to have the brand guidelines dictate how the newsletter should feel – text fonts, colour schemes – you determine the tone and voice of how you wish to address yourself to your audience. It is a consistent style which reflects your brand.

When reflecting on the tone and voice of LEAD-WiSE, we use conversational speech, which provides clarity and simplicity. We like to play with language to bring joy to our work without taking ourselves too seriously. Showing empathy and wit in our voice engenders engagement, interest and expertise.

At LEAD-WiSE, we are plainspoken.  We use a language that avoids inflated speech, which upsells or over-promises. We like to use simple writing, clear and to the point above all. LEAD-WiSE is practical, avoiding distractions like fluffy metaphors.

We are genuine. We get small businesses because we are small too. That means we relate to customers’ challenges and passions and speak to them in a familiar, warm, and accessible way.

We are practical. Through common, logical sense, we demystify B2B-talk and actually coach our audience.

We educate. Our sense of leadership is clear and evident-based, smart but not snobbish. Being innovative and collaborative, we inspire and work together to facilitate practical implementation.

Lastly, at LEAD-WiSE we write in an active voice and avoid slang, jargon and negative language.

Build up your content

Your content should reflect the purpose and services of your business and organisation including news about your team, activities and events your brand is involved in – whichever is the main draw for your audience – and provide opportunities for your readers. Your audience engages with substance when it creates added value. This can be articles, video content, interviews and reviews including research articles with new findings and data, impact and case studies featuring your products or services, insights and highlights about your organisation itself, announcements about events or company news or simply a job offer.

Having some form of exclusive content can help retain your readers, as well as increase the trust levels in your brand. It is key that the narrative of your newsletter meets the values and vision of your brand.

Frequency, weekly or bi-weekly?

There is one rule: Regularity is key. Updates can be posted monthly, while product spotlights and interviews could be every two weeks. You decide on the frequency of your newsletters, as long as the content remains relevant to your audience, with newsworthy, fresh and witty content!

Now, off you go! Starting fresh and for the first time is the hardest. With the experience to come, feedback from clients and a little benchmarking about what the competition does, you will succeed. Should you have questions or wish feedback on your newsletter, contact us. We are happy to share our wisdom.


[1] Campaign Monitor, 2023, “What are good open rates, CTRs, & CTORs for email campaigns?”, Marigold.

We figured that there are lots of articles with advice and wisdom to guide StartUps in their development, progress, and growth. While the lifecycle of a StartUp is very focused on financial growth, we focus on sustainable progress to be measured in its development of inclusive action and engagement with stakeholders on sustainable growth for society and planet. Define your company’s purpose first to guide your vision and mission for your StartUp.

The traditional lifespan of StartUps starts with the idea and development of the project itself, the early stage, followed by the growth stage. After raising the “friends, family & fools” funds, the seed and Series A stage, StartUps enter the Series B, C and D stages. Those phases represent the maturity of the new-born business. The reason for the segmentation of StartUps into these stages lies in the indication of risks. It signalizes to investors as well as clients the financial maturity of the organisation when thinking about investing and engaging with the company. Investors in particular focus on the entrepreneurial team first. It is the number one asset of the company representing a wealth of competencies. Investors then concentrate on the market in which the business operates before considering the actual product and service, the new business develops.

Pitching and selling to make your business and operations progress and grow, are hard work. We would like to provide you with some tools for sustainable progress and thoughts from a marketing perspective aiming for your organisation to successfully position itself, gain confidence, convince investors, and gain capital, but also develop shared value.

Prepare and refine your pitch

The pitch, yes, it is so little, and it is so important. When you pitch, there is never enough time. Often you need to pitch in different languages which requires training. A pitch provides your audience with a precise understanding of your purpose, your plan, and your vision. A pitch is an inspiration that gives relevance to your audience and to the market in which it operates.  An effective pitch generates enthusiasm, motivates your audience, and persuades to buy in.

Work on your pitch, so you can do it in several timeframes, for example, 3 minutes, 1.5 minutes, and 30 seconds. If you pitch in a different language other than your native one, prepare and repeat it until you feel comfortable with it. Test and tailor your pitch, so that you have different ones to match the multiple audiences you are engaging with. The pitch needs to be to the point, entertaining, flawless, and sincere. It needs to be an authentic story and part of yourself.

To structure your pitch effectively, we recommend Patrick Dang’s pitch formula which simplifies your speech when meeting the following requirements: I help x achieve y by doing z. [1]

In your pitch story, inspire through your vision of where your business is heading, confirm your competencies and passion and explain how your product or service solves your audience’s challenges. Apply the formula and test it in various timeframes and languages. Now you are ready to pitch.

Develop a professional presentation

When you create your business, you build your visual identity – this includes your logo, font, colours, image concept and tone of voice. Every item of your visual identity represents your business purpose, your vision, and your mission. After the development of your visual identity, you define your owned media channels including your website and your social media channels corresponding to your specific audience. These media channels serve as your loudspeaker to the rest of the world.

Having your communication platforms reflect your visual identity helps you establish business credibility. It allows you to convene meetings more easily and earn a better understanding when you pitch for investment or sell your product. During the meeting with your stakeholder, we suggest you emphasize your pitch with a clear and slick presentation highlighting your message tailored to your audience. Take into consideration the industry sector, the hierarchy of your audience, the gender and political environment, in which they operate.

The presentation can be easily done through PowerPoint, but also through other online tools such as Prezi [2]. Your presentation and slides shall always represent your corporate identity. Depending to whom you pitch, vary the content giving relevance to your audience. For example, for investors, you start with your vision, brand promise and logo. You also point out how you can help overcome the challenge, who your team is, in what market you operate in, and what your solution represents. Depending on your audience, you add additional features such as data and a timeline of growth. For potential customers, you present a pricing structure and potentially a return on investment. We follow Matt C. Smitt’s advice [3] for more detailed information on how to structure your slide deck.

Collect your contact information

When you start reaching out to investors, partners, and potential clients, it is essential to collect the contact information of all your stakeholders. It will serve as a base for your marketing-related activities and growth hacking actions. Through this collected data, you also understand the client journey, user interests and customer behaviour. Invest a little time in finding the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM), instead of adding your details into an excel sheet. You find readily online CRM tools with a freemium subscription. Choose a CRM that can connect to your media channels, allows you to segment your contacts and has e-mail marketing options. Freemium options are for free up to a certain number of contacts in your database. Very often, CRMs provide discounts for start-ups. It is important to also consider data privacy. If your business is based in Europe, ensure that the server of your CRM is also located in Europe. With the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) policy, this detail is important to respect your stakeholders’ sensitive information and store this data within European legislation.

Hack your growth

Reaching out and turning every stone to find investors or clients is tiring and time-intensive work. The fact that you collect your stakeholder information allows you to engage your audience longer and continuously and support you in your business development.

Option 1:

Social Media Engagement: Identify specific companies and organisations you expect to be the ideal investor or client. Follow the organisations you wish to work with and engage in their social media posts through likes and comments continuously. It allows you to understand their challenges and progress, lift your profile to your target. It also helps you to grow your followers on your personal and corporate social media platforms. Keep in mind that each social media channel represents different audiences. Social Media engagement should be done daily. Also, company content shall be posted very regularly on your channels, so your target audience understands what you offer.

Option 2:

Newsletters: With the collection of your client data, you can engage your audience through e-mail marketing activities. This allows you to share your content such as articles from your blogs, company news, stories and pictures of past or upcoming events, product promotions, announcements of new partnerships and job advertisements. Ideally, you send out these newsletters following a timeline of your choice and you stick to it to maintain a regular information push.


When entering a new market as an unknown brand, it is important to focus on visibility and credibility. You should choose a partner who is aligned with your values and aims for the same vision as your company as well as includes the same target audience that you wish to reach out to. A partnership means developing value not only for your own business, but also for the partner organisation and all other stakeholders (clients, members, third parties, civil society, government etc) in parallel. This shared value supports you with gaining credibility. Your audience will feel inspired by your common vision and believe in your brand. Partnering with organisations, for-profit or not-for-profit, also permits you to extend your visibility due to combined networks. Through partnerships, you start to build your reputation and extend your reach.

When developing progress for your company, focus on the purpose of your organisation. It is the guiding light of your decisions, your storytelling, and to the investors and clients you are aiming for. It is the glue to your brand.

By creating shared value for all your stakeholders and not only focusing on the financial aspect of your business, you progress sustainably and convince your audience not only to buy into your product, but also to understand your purpose and believe in your vision. This is true for all – including clients and investors.

Key Takeaways


[1] 2020, Patrick Dang – The Perfect Elevator Pitch – Best Examples and Templates –
[2] A video and visual communications software company since 2009 –
[3] 2021, Matt C Smith – What investors ACTUALLY want to see in your PITCH DECK

Excerpt of Forbes by contributor Jessi Baker

The role of the marketer is evolving at pace. In recent decades, the trade has undergone a radical digital transformation and evolved from a one-way broadcast to a conversation: on top of their regular campaign cadence, today’s marketers are communicating with customers and responding to events in real-time on social media. Marketers are also weathering diminishing customer trust with messaging overhauls and influencer collaborations. And, of course, they’re no longer expected to simply sell products – the rise of purpose-led marketing means alignment with social values is fundamental to a successful customer journey.

Today, a new shift is once again reshaping the job: the shift towards sustainability communications.

Sustainability is the new digital

In a recent conversation with Sarah Shilling, CMO at UNLIMITED Group, she highlighted the importance of marketing’s new remit: “Sustainability communications are no longer a hygiene factor, but a priority factor. Many customers now look for sustainability as one of the priority filters to purchase, often over price.”

With 79% of consumers (Cap Gemini) changing purchase preference based on products’ social or environmental impact, marketers are racing to capitalise with sustainability messaging. Take Sainsbury’s, which recently retired its longstanding ‘Live Well for Less’ slogan in favour of the sustainability-focused ‘Helping Everyone Eat Better’. However, as Sarah Shilling explains, the opportunity is not without risk: “Sustainability is unforgiving. More so than price, delivery and quality. If you get your sustainability messages wrong or your promises are lies, then it’s a long road to try and claw that back.”

The result is that today’s marketers bear the burden of a significant new responsibility. They are increasingly expected to be au fait with life-cycle assessments, to know the difference between ‘cradle to gate’ and ‘cradle to grave’ and to tell PET from rPET.

Sustainability communications tips for today’s marketers

For those feeling burdened by these new demands and wary of falling into the greenwashing trap, here are a few practical considerations:

Read the full article:

Excerpt from Harvard Business Review, by Leena Nair, Nick Dalton, Patrick Hull, William Kerr

With more than 149,000 employees, Unilever confronts every issue related to the changing nature of work. It invests in AI and robotics for its factories, negotiates with unions, hires gig workers, and is reshaping its workforce for digital commerce. Many organizations facing challenges similar to Unilever’s assume that workforce transformations require painfully reducing the number of employees—perhaps by shifting some into consulting relationships—or taking other steps at workers’ expense, such as cutting hours or benefits.

Unilever believes that such transactional approaches overlook opportunities and are ultimately counterproductive. That doesn’t mean the company is willing to trade profitability for workforce security. Its vision is to deliver to investors financial returns in the top third of its industry, and it competes in the heavily automated and digitized commerce value chain. But an important lesson from the tenure of Paul Polman, the CEO who led Unilever from 2009 to 2019, is that purpose can help reduce tensions in the workforce and create optimum conditions for growth. The company believes that a focus on purpose will allow it to adapt faster and more profitably in the future than the old change-management model would.

This article describes Unilever’s Future of Work program and its attempts to remain competitive while staying true to its mission of “making sustainable living commonplace”—including for its employees. Most of the tactics involved will be useful even for companies that don’t share Unilever’s perspective, although we hope to persuade some skeptics that an “all-in” approach is best.

Doubling Down on Purpose

Unilever’s expansion of the scope of purpose from sustainable brands to sustainable workforce relationships was inspired by several beliefs about the evolving nature of work.

The speed of change in workplace skills requires that companies move to “higher ground” with employees.

In offices and factories alike, digital skills must be updated or renewed at a much quicker pace than was necessary with prior technologies. Because keeping employee skills relevant will always be a work in progress, Unilever aims to hire people with a learning aptitude and a connection to the company’s values. Purpose is arguably the highest ground possible for aligning a workforce, and Unilever bets that its commitment to purpose will give rise to stable, productive employee relationships and a workforce capable of continual change.

Purpose will help attract younger talent.

Surveys consistently show that the younger generations value purpose at work. In one LinkedIn survey 86% of young employees reported being willing to give ground on title and compensation to work at a business aligned with their values or mission, compared with just 9% of Baby Boomers. Moreover, workers of all ages hold dear the capacity to achieve their personal goals and career expectations.

Purpose can guide hard decisions.

Younger generations now also demand greater consistency across a company and will loudly protest when they perceive its actions as inappropriate. The recent walkouts over military contracts at big tech firms are an example. Unilever believes that embedding purpose in workforce management fosters innovative approaches that will prepare it well for its most challenging moments. When faced with tough staffing and HR problems, executives can return to company values for guidance, charting a course that reduces the likelihood of blowback or discontent.

Connecting Purpose and Work

Unilever’s commitment to extend sustainability to its talent strategies is ongoing, and the company has made some missteps along the way. But it has identified several key lessons.

Purpose starts with the individual.

It may sound like a paradox, but creating a shared purpose requires that individuals first understand their own raison d’être. That makes workforce management critically different from other purpose-driven initiatives such as building a brand portfolio, which is mostly determined top-down. Employees at all levels undertake important actions to execute on the brand promise to consumers, but senior leaders decide what brands to field. By contrast, Unilever believes, embedding meaning in workforce renewal requires employees to decide what each wants in the future.

For example, it would be unproductive to encourage skills renewal for an employee whose career ambitions lie well outside the company, because she won’t invest to keep pace. Moreover, dictating change from above can lead to resistance. To ensure that employees never feel like manipulated widgets, Unilever minimizes the use of common terms such as “reskilling” and “upskilling.” Starting with an employee’s purpose—in a holistic sense, going beyond just title and compensation—gets the conversation off on the right foot and encourages employees’ accountability for their own development.

Purpose requires interacting with individuals at scale.

Unilever first sought alignment between individual and company meaning back in 2009, when it started the Unilever Leadership Development Program, which helped more than 400 senior executives discover their own purpose and use that experience to guide their work. (The practice is now widespread among senior leaders at many companies.) The program was so successful that Unilever expanded it to all levels of the organization.

The original four-day workshop for senior leaders was not feasible on a large scale, so the company has rolled out a one-day version that can reach all its employees in their countries and native languages. By the summer of 2021 almost 60,000 of them (40% of the workforce) had “discovered their purpose” through these workshops. Unilever is committed to reaching everyone—even hourly staffers. Today many new employees find that members of their team introduce themselves by sharing their purpose.

At the workshops employees develop individualized “future-fit plans” that chart their desired path over the next 18 months—even to destinations outside Unilever—and the important skill-development steps it requires. These workshops and frequent check-ins help Unilever listen better to its employees, which it believes will lead to increased engagement, well-being, and commitment to drive the company’s strategy.

The workshops don’t sugarcoat the future, however. For example, someone who doesn’t want to be employed in a highly automated factory can work openly, with the company’s assistance, on a path to a better fit—either in a different part of the organization or in a career that takes him away from Unilever.

The future-fit plan becomes the basis for the employee’s engagement with Unilever’s skills platform. Being open to employee career paths makes tools such as talent marketplaces, cross-firm employee swaps, and portable skills certification more valuable. The program is bearing fruit. In 2020, 92% of those who had attended a discover-your-purpose workshop reported having jobs that inspire them to go the extra mile, compared with only 33% of those who had not attended one.

Purpose guides all worker arrangements, even contracting.

As companies shift work away from 40 hours a week and break it into discrete tasks, gig and remote models provide critical inputs. Unilever’s first forays into the gig economy were not particularly sophisticated. Many managers needed to be pushed to even consider non-full-time employees for tasks, and few had any experience with gig-work platforms such as Catalant and Momlancers. Unilever also needed to adapt its internal procedures: The 60-day-plus payment terms typical among consumer packaged goods companies are a bit slow for gig workers. But the company is persevering. It has identified more than 80,000 tasks it may need done over the next five years, which will be performed by a combination of full-time employees, gig workers, contractors, and those working flexibly.

From its early experiments Unilever learned quickly that top freelance talent can be choosy about employers, so companies need to stand out. Here its commitment to sustainability has proved important. A gig worker who sees Unilever as aligned with her values is more likely to bid on one of its projects and return for another. Although she won’t be attending a discover-your-purpose workshop, the company believes that creating a connection with her is also important. Indeed, Unilever is progressing toward a common hiring funnel for all workers, whether gig or full-time.

Read full article:

With an increasing amount of business beginning to shift their operations to sustainable models, consumer speculation and scepticism has helped uncover greenwashing efforts and recognize the companies truly seeking to combat climate change [1, 2]. For businesses, working towards enacting sustainable solutions should not be seen as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) requirement, just as an Environmental Societal and Governance (ESG) policy should offer platitudes without action. Companies that are serious about engaging their workforce, portfolio, and their consumers to act on climate issues are promoting “mutual success”, as explains General Electric’s Chief Sustainability Office Roger Martella [3], “Different companies play different roles, but they are unified in the belief that now is the moment to capitalize on that energy and act.”

Easier Than You Think

Sustainable solutions are easier to implement than many realize [1, 4]. There are opportunities for companies of all sizes to improve their sustainability, efficiency, and societal impact – but the first step, committing to change, is the most difficult [5]. While combining business and politics has often been a complicated path for companies to navigate, failing to adapt to consumer demands and long-term social policy is a far more dangerous stance [6]. However, engaging in activism can lead to a much stronger business model, as companies like Patagonia have demonstrated. The outdoor equipment and sportswear designer has been committed to social and environmental causes since 1985, when it donated 10% of its profits to conservation programs and organizations, before changing it to a yearly 1% donation on all revenue [4, 7].

Patagonia has since publicly supported Planned Parenthood through donations, sued the Trump Administration over its handling of national parks, funded campaigns to change U.S. public policy, and increased its climate advocacy and financial support for conservation efforts [4]. The company’s staunch support for progressive policies has led to boycotts of its products, a move that its executives highlight has not had a negative impact on their bottom line, and has actually increased their customer base [4]. “People often ask, ‘Are you a for-profit business or are you an NGO?’” Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert told the Los Angeles Times [4], “And the answer in my mind is yes; I think we’re some weird mashup of those two things. What we really are is a for-profit business, and we use the business to try to influence larger, more systemic issues.”

Leading by Example

Patagonia’s long-standing activism is leading other major brands to shift their sights on changing systemic issues. Whether social, like Nike’s support for civil rights advocate Colin Kaepernick, or climate-related, like insurance giant AIA’s $10 billion divestment from coal, an increasing number of global companies are taking a stand for causes they believe in [4, 8]. However, more needs to be done, and more can be done. Sustainability is not a passing consumer fad, but a real movement seeking to improve the environmental and social outlook of the planet, companies are working to achieve mutual success [3, 6].

“The problem right now is you have businesses that are afraid,” explains Marc Elias, a voting rights lawyer who works with Patagonia and other companies on their activism efforts in an interview with the Los Angeles Times [4], “The instinct of most corporate leaders is to seek safety by staying with the herd and issuing only the blandest possible statements, it’s really unfortunate, because now is not the time for businesses to offer thoughts and prayers.” So what is the solution? Take a stand and act. Safeguarding the planet for future generations does not need to come at the expense of a business’ bottom line, they are not mutually exclusive – have you thought about what you can achieve?

Key Takeaways


[1] Vincent Diringer, 2022, “The Importance of Sustainable Business Models”, LEAD-WiSE.
[2] Vincent Diringer, 2022, “Greenwashing”, LEAD-WiSE.
[3] Roger Martella, 2022, “How businesses are taking the lead to get the world to net-zero”, World Economic Forum.
[4] Andrea Chang, 2021, “Patagonia shows corporate activism is simpler than it looks”, Los Angeles Times
[5] Andrew Winston, 2021, “Sustainable Business Went Mainstream in 2021”, Harvard Business Review.
[6] Knut Haanaes, Natalia Olynec, 2022, “Why all businesses should embrace sustainability”, International Institute for Management Development.
[7] Patagonia, 2022, “ Environmental Activism”, Patagonia.
[8] Yvonne Lau, 2021, “7 years ahead of schedule, AIA becomes the first major Asian insurer to end coal exposure” Fortune.

“No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced,” states renowned biologist Sir David Attenborough [1]. This simple mantra is rooted in far more than ideological nuance, as research has shown that embedding environmental appreciation and understanding into education can have positive effects on students’ willingness to partake in sustainable behaviour [2, 3]. However, this is not limited solely to the classroom, and as the research highlights, there is a need for more interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration in achieving environmental education and encouraging sustainable comportment. This provides businesses with an opportunity to promote change internally with their team, but also with their customers via a sustainable business model [4, 5].

Creating Change-Makers

Major companies are working towards providing their workforce with opportunities to learn more about climate change and social justice and empower them to take action [4]. In 2021, Deloitte launched a one-of-a-kind climate learning program for its 330,000 employees worldwide that aimed to educate them on the challenges of the climate crisis, and what they could do to mitigate it [6]. As of March 2022, over 80% of their workforce had completed the course, and were supportive of it, indicating that they had a better grasp of Deloitte’s own climate mitigation commitments, but also how they could reduce their own impact [4]. Global governments are already working towards implementing a sustainable economy, and companies are embracing a low-carbon future for their operations and products [7]. While these are steps in the right direction, there is a driver of change that is being omitted: people. 

For wide-ranging environmental change to happen, individuals must be more in tune with nature, but also understand how they might be able to help [1-4]. This means educating consumers as well as workers and highlighting how the business is being made more sustainable, why it matters, and how each individual can help, as Carter Roberts, the CEO of the World Wildlife Fund explains [6, 8], “Companies have a big role to play in driving progress. Leading companies today are not only setting science-based targets to slash emissions and drive progress through their supply chains. They are also engaging their customers and employees to make smarter choices and build momentum for broader societal progress.”

Accessible Education 

Sustainability can only be achieved if applied at every level of a supply chain. Reducing carbon emissions and finding opportunities to be more environmentally friendly are key steps towards safeguarding the planet for future generations – but more can be done. Both formal and informal types of education are being prioritized to help people interact more with nature and create a bond that encourages them to pursue sustainable practices [1-3]. 

Educating a population on sustainability will not only improve the resilience of the community, but help drive faster change aimed at preserving the community’s social, cultural, and economic values [9]. In turn, these also help create a more inclusive societal group where respect and equality form a basis towards strong sustainable action.

Yet the duty of providing education need not rest on solely academic institutions and special interest groups. There are opportunities for companies and businesses to not only shift their operations to a sustainable model, but also help educate their workforce and their consumers [4-8]. Change is easier achieved when everyone is fighting for a common goal. Have you considered how your business can be one of these change-makers?

Key Takeaways:


[1] Matt Adam Williams, 2013. “Securing Nature’s Future”, The Ecologist.
[2] Inga Žalėnienė, Paulo Pereira, 2021. “Higher Education For Sustainability: A Global Perspective”, Geography and Sustainability, 2(2).
[3] Christine Wamsler, 2020. “Education for sustainability”, International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 21(1).
[4] Lisa Held, 2022, “Companies embrace employee sustainability education to tackle climate emergency”, Fortune.
[5] Vincent Diringer, 2022, “The Importance of Sustainable Business Models”, LEAD-WiSE.
[6] Claire Hassett, Steve Dutton, 2021. “Deloitte launches climate learning program to empower all 330,000 people to take action”, Deloitte.
[7] Vincent Diringer, 2022. “Net-Zero: The Future of Sustainable Businesses”, LEAD-WiSE.
[8] Vincent Diringer, 2022. “Encouraging Sustainability in Everyday Life”, LEAD-WiSE.
[9] Alexandra Bec, Brent Moyle Brent & Char-lee Moyle, 2018. “Resilient and Sustainable Communities. Sustainability”, MDPI Sustainability 10.

Excerpt of Forbes – By Mike Kappel

Are you throwing money down the drain with marketing strategies that just aren’t cutting it? Unsure? That’s where marketing KPIs, or key performance indicators, come into play. Businesses use KPIs to gauge whether their marketing efforts are effective or not. 

There’s no shame in having failed marketing efforts. When you measure them, you can easily test and fix things. But if you don’t bother to measure them, you could be wasting time and money on things that don’t work.  

Let’s fix that, shall we?

A Quick Rundown On Marketing KPIs

In marketing, key performance indicators are metrics businesses use to measure the successes and shortcomings of their marketing efforts. KPIs measure things like the revenue, costs, and web traffic associated with marketing. 

So, do marketing KPIs matter? Before all you marketers cringe at this question, let me just quickly say that yes, yes they do. But depending on your small business and the industry you’re in, you might not know much about these KPIs. So, it’s OK to ask if you should take the time to invest in measuring them. 

Tracking key marketing KPIs can help you:

5 Marketing KPIs You’ve Gotta Be Tracking 

Not all of your marketing efforts directly translate into money. In fact, a lot won’t. Marketing is also about building brand awareness and letting potential customers get familiar with your business. As a result, some marketing KPIs focus on money while others don’t. Regardless, they’re all pretty important for marketing (and business) success. 

So,  without further ado, let’s get started. 

1. Return On Investment 

How much money are you soaking into marketing versus how much is it generating for your business? Use the return on investment (ROI) metric to find out. ROI is a percentage that shows you whether your business is gaining or losing money. […]

So to figure out your marketing cost, you need to add up all of your marketing expenses, including:

If your ROI is too low, you can cut back some expenses or find new ways to boost revenue. If it’s high, keep going—you’re doing great.  

2. Customer Acquisition Cost And Lifetime Value

[…] You can compare your customer acquisition cost and customer lifetime value

Customer acquisition cost shows you how much you are spending to get the customer to spend at your business. 

Customer lifetime value shows you how much the customer spends over the course of a lifetime at your business. If they’re a loyal customer, probably a bit. 

You can then compare the customer’s lifetime value to how much it costs to acquire the customer. If you’re spending more to acquire a customer than what they’ll spend at your business, it might be time to reevaluate your marketing strategy. 

3. Website Traffic

Do you have a business website? Of course you do (and if you don’t, now’s the time to create one!). And chances are, your website is a marketing tool in and of itself. 

Why not observe how successful it is?

You can use tools, like Google Analytics, to determine how many people are coming to your website. And, you can see which website pages generate the most activity. Take advantage of your top pages by adding things like ads, and beef up your low-performing pages with things like keywords and visuals. 

Now of course, you can get as nitty-gritty as you want to when it comes to web traffic. Break it down by organic (unpaid) traffic and paid traffic. You can see how many people are returning visitors and how many are unique visitors. The possibilities are (seemingly) endless. 

Here are a few other things you can track when it comes to your website:

4. Social Media Engagement 

According to one study, 90% of U.S. businesses use social media to market. If you fall into this majority, the question is … what KPIs should you use to measure your efforts? 

Well, there’s a bit. You can use metrics such as:

Keep in mind that, even though you may use social media for marketing purposes, it shouldn’t be exclusively about marketing. If some of your KPIs are poor, it might be because you’re not giving your followers enough useful and informative content. Play around with a posting schedule to improve your metrics. 

5. Email Engagement 

Are current or potential customers opening emails? Clicking through them? Doing the action you want them to? 

If you don’t know, you’re going to spend a lot of time throwing emails into the void. That’s why email engagement metrics are oh-so important. 

You can measure the percentage of recipients who open emails, click through them, and convert to paying customers. 

By measuring these types of metrics, you can change up your emails so they’re more effective. Do some A/B tests, where you send one email to one group and a variation of the email to another group. See what’s more successful. I’ve been surprised by more than one A/B test winner in the past. 

Read the full article:–lose-track-these-5-marketing-kpis-instead/?sh=567222c36f24

Excerpt of Forbes – By Izabela Lundberg

Did you ever think about why and how some teams or organizations are more successful than others?

Despite many talent similarities ranging from education, training, background and years of experience, to name a few, organizations get very different results in performance. 

Is it leadership, talent, organizational structure or something else that is the determining factor in high performance? The short answer is culture.

Culture is the bones of an organization, the fundamental elements, like traditions, rituals, language, story and communication style, combine to make us, “us.” Culture is the driver behind everything you do as an organization. It is a catalyst for how decisions are made and how business gets done.

And this can be negative or positive. Culture doesn’t care which one it becomes. Every organization has a culture, healthy, toxic or anywhere in between. The culture you get depends on the quality of leadership.

How you show up as a leader sets the tone for everyone else to follow. But if your organization is going to have a culture in any case, I recommend you do your utmost to develop a champion culture. The best way to do that is through an emotional commitment to excellence of all team members every single day.

Why is this critical? Because research shows that the number one reason for the Great Resignation is a toxic culture due to poor leadership. […]

Champion culture boldly seeks to understand and address fear in the workplace, the most powerful driver of a toxic culture. Understanding and addressing fear can unlock massive potential at every level of your organization, thus creating a champion culture throughout.

Here are the different kinds of champions you can encourage in your business:

• Individual champion: A brilliant all-star business player who brings trustworthiness, discipline, competency and a high performance and impact mindset demonstrated through emotional intelligence and capacity. These are the most needed and some of the most desired traits. […]

• Team champion: A brilliant, all-star, high-performing team made up of individual champions operating effectively and collaboratively. Creating an environment of shared purpose, trust, openness and willingness to admit and correct mistakes are critical in a champion culture.

• Organizational champion: The organization operates in a high-performing culture with the flagship of transformational leadership aligned with organizational vision, mission and goals. Integrating strategy, systems and structures is essential in developing a champion culture. 

• World champion: High-impact culture, leading through exceptional legacy leadership, demonstrated accountability, integrity and transparency. This is not only reflected in their talent, customers or leadership, but also through the adoption of ESG global standards of operation organization-wide, driving the successful growth of the organization through continued business value.

Read the full article: