Marketers could unlock significant growth opportunities if they assist in efforts to address various forms of social inequality, according to Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble’s chief brand officer.

“Why do we need to use our brands in marketing for society and sustainability?” Pritchard asked during a session at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2018 Masters of Marketing Conference. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: ANA/Cannes Lions’ CMO Growth Council attacks inequalities in advertising.)

In response, he asserted that tackling issues like gender inequality, racial inequality and other forms of discrimination would effectively add trillions of dollars to the economy.

By way of demonstrating his own commitment to the cause, Pritchard was named as chair of a “Marketing for Society and Sustainability” committee forming part of the CMO Growth Council.

This body is a joint initiative from the ANA – of which Pritchard is also chair – and the Cannes Lions (a sister company of WARC), and has the stated goal to “drive growth around the world.”

And Pritchard left no room for doubt about the need for brands to engage in social and environmental issues, given their customers increasingly demand such activity.

“It starts with the fact that people expect a lot more from our brands and companies,” he said. “They expect us to have a point of view on societal and sustainability issues. It's not optional.

“Nine out of ten people say they have a more positive image of a company if they take a stand. Half say they make purchase decisions based on shared beliefs with the brand.

“And people of all ages expect us to take a stand on societal issues, whether you are a Boomer, a [member of] Gen Z, or a millennial.”

The market growth that would likely result from such engagement, he continued, “is something that we need to make happen. We can join forces and be a force for good and a force for growth.”

Sourced from WARC