Global Marketing
Management Consultants
Global Marketing
Management Consultants
mobile-logo
Global Marketing
Management Consultants
Top

Managing Marketing: The Climate Crisis And Communications

Belinda_Noble

Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Founder and Global CEO, Darren Woolley. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

Belinda Noble  is a communications strategist and the co-founder of Comms Declare, a group dedicated to harnessing the power of comms, marketing, media & advertising to supercharge the transition to a climate-friendly future. Comms Declare recently celebrated its first birthday, with more than 300 organisations and individuals and is still growing. Belinda shares the inspiration and motivation for starting the group with co-founder Cally Jackson and the objectives and outcomes they are working to deliver. 

As a marketing and communications professional, you can declare for the climate here.

You can listen to the podcast here:

Follow Managing Marketing on SoundcloudPodbean, Google Podcasts, TuneInStitcher, Spotify, Apple Podcast and Amazon Podcasts (the USA, UK, Germany & Japan only)

Transcription:

Darren:

I’ll just do the introduction. Welcome to Managing Marketing, a weekly podcast where we discuss the issues and opportunities facing marketing, media, and advertising with industry thought leaders and practitioners.

Today, I’m sitting down with Belinda Noble, communication strategist and co-founder of Comms Declare. Welcome, Belinda.

Belinda:

Hello, thank you.

Darren:

Well, thanks for making the time. It’s now been 12 months since you and Cally started Comms Declare. Has it gone quickly?

Belinda:

Yeah, it has gone really quickly and it’s gone sort of a little bit unexpected obviously, because of COVID. Wasn’t great to launch something ─ we launched in February and so, it wasn’t really ideal.

Darren:

Just in time for a pandemic.

Belinda:

Just in time. So, yeah, the media has been chockablock with news in the last year and it’s been really hard to cut through. I mean, if it wasn’t COVID, it was all sorts of things happening in Canberra and floods and everything else.

So yeah, it has been a difficult year, but it has gone quickly and I’m actually just thrilled to be through a year and to be able to now reassess and look where we’re going in the future.

Darren:

Well, look, starting from day one, you must feel on reflection, considering those challenges that you’ve managed to get amazing traction. You’ve got over 300 people and organisations that have committed to and declared, and it must be rewarding on that level.

Belinda:

Yeah, it is. And when you get depressed about the climate crisis, the best thing to do is to take action, and that’s one of our motivating factors. So, yeah, any success is a good success and you just have to keep going as well.

We got on the bike without wheels. We said we’re going to start a movement. We’re going to do it inside the comms industry because that’s the only one we know, and let’s just start. Let’s just start and stick our heads up over the parapet and give it a crack. And that’s really been the strategy behind it to date.

Darren:

So, thinking back and it’s over 12 months, what was the thinking and the motivation to start Comms Declare because I know other professions; the engineers and I think architects have had these sorts of organisations in recent times. What was the motivational thinking behind starting Comms Declare for the climate at that time?

Belinda:

So, it was obvious after the black summer bushfires, which was quite … I mean, if you’re not going to be inspired to do something about the climate after that, then what’s it going to take? Let’s be honest.

Having worked in news for almost 20 years and seeing disaster after disaster and covering bushfires, and all sorts of terrible natural disasters, the bushfires last summer were really something else. We’d never seen anything remotely like that.

And even for people in Sydney who were affected, 500 people died as a result just of the smoke. Let alone the people who died in the flames. My mother, where she lived was evacuated twice. So, it really hit home.

And I was very much inspired by the divestment movement and seeing a lot of people in the investment industries, finance industries move, which they have been doing quite considerably for around five years now, 5 to 10 years to see them move and to see them talk about how all the money is in renewables, all the money’s out of fossil fuels; the climate is a risk.

That really hard-nosed attitude they had towards it, which was basically we have to move now or our business is at risk and that’s the way I kind of approached divesting PR. To work alongside these (fossil fuel) companies is a reputational risk. And if you’re getting away with it now, you’re not going to get away with it in 10 years. You’re not going to be able to say what you do at the barbecue; your kids aren’t going to tell their friends what you do at school.

So, that was kind of the one way that we were tackling it. The other ones that you mentioned Engineers Declare, I think there’s Surfers Declare, there’s Tradies Declare, there’s a whole bunch of them now. And that I guess is just to get a movement within a particular cohort and try and activate people along those lines.

And my co-founder, that was very much her take on it to go in from that angle as more of a movement, more consensus building, as opposed to more activist and divestment, which was where I was coming at it from.

Darren:

It’s interesting, isn’t it? Because you picked up on divesting from fossil fuels and these are, as you pointed out, the hard-nosed business people. These are the ones that have got billions of dollars, some even trillions of dollars globally under-investment. And they’re making these views of the future in a very pragmatic way.

And they’re saying, “Well, this has basically come to an end game and we have to really stop thinking about where is growth and where are the opportunities?” And yet, you feel like that’s almost the boardrooms of the major capitals around the world are making those decisions. And yet on the ground here, when you read the media, it doesn’t seem to reflect the same hard-nosed approach to the climate crisis and the impact that it has.

Belinda:

Well, the front page is also very different to the business section. And The Australian is the classic example of that. The front page will be anti … today it was all anti-Malcolm Turnbull.

Darren:

Yeah, who was appointed to helping navigate New South Wales through how to get growth in the new sustainable economy.

Belinda:

And then got sacked because he said “end coal.”

Darren:

His personality.

Belinda:

Well, his personality was one factor, but also how dare he say “end coal” as the head of a group to get to Net-Zero. But anyway, so yeah, that’s what they’ve got at the front. But the back, it’s totally about people getting out of fossil fuels, it’s totally about job losses in oil and gas companies.

And then you’ve obviously got groups like the Investor Group on Climate Change. They’ve got $2 trillion worth of assets. And there’s more, there’s more in Europe just sitting over there waiting to be invested once Australia has the right policies in place. It’s just sitting there, it’s going to explode.

Darren:

Absolutely. It must be ironic for you to have worked as a jobbing journalist and writing these stories and then moving into comms. Because you’re a comms strategist, you work with a lot of organisations.

The power of comms, the ability to write stories and to inform people and engage them in the issues of the day is so powerful, isn’t it? I mean, in many ways it’s a privilege to have that sort of role.

Belinda:

Yeah, I wish I had known in my twenties when I was reporting the amount of power that is in those jobs. And I look at what goes to air now with great dismay about the news values and the fact that they’re still doing the same bulletins they were doing 50 years ago. The same mix of the news; if it bleeds, it leads and everything else.

And the approach to those, those bigger, more structural difficult issues is just the same. It’s worthy, but boring. And I really believe climate change is in that area for journalists or editors.

Darren:

Because it’s hard to actually visualise for people, because I know talking to people in the industry, they largely left with, “Oh, it’s such a big issue, but what can I do about it?” Or there’s this disconnection that they feel about actually being able to be proactive.

Belinda:

Yeah, it’s difficult to explain and it always has been difficult to explain because science is never finished as you would know with your background. There’s always a little element of something that needs more discussion or more study or more data. So, it is really hard to explain.

But then again, it’s not hard to explain because you’ve got these incredible impacts. There’s the bushfires, floods and everything else. Yet there’s an incredible lack of joining the dots. People aren’t joining the dots. You’ve had big erosion events all the way down the East Coast and the West Coast.

They’re losing beaches and yet, they don’t mention climate change. They don’t mention the melting of the polar ice caps ─ like guys put two and two together, you know what I’m saying? But it’s never reported that way.

Darren:

Well, and language has been such a tricky part of this because I remember when the issue first arose, it was called “global warming.” Remember everyone was talking about how the globe is increasing in temperature. And then the people would say, “Well, how much?” And it was like 0.1 of a degree or half a degree or one, and it didn’t seem that significant.

And then they’d be climate changes that went, well, it was 40 degrees or 45 degrees, and that’s ridiculously hot. But look what’s happening in Canada where they’re at -36, so that can’t be global warming because it’s actually really cold.

It made it difficult, but the language itself, and then we landed on climate change. And I think there are still people that go, “Of course, there are climate changes; summer it’s hot, winter it’s cold.” But you can see that the language has really struggled to communicate exactly what the crisis is.

Belinda:

It really has. And there’s a story (I don’t know if it’s true) because people were calling it global warming and that was actually cutting through. And you had a time in the nineties when the IPCC was really getting traction and they were about to put really strong restrictions on fossil fuels.

And then the Bush administration did some testing, so the story is, and found that climate change is a little less scary and a little more … have you heard that story?

Darren:

Yeah, absolutely. In fact, I’ve even seen it played out in a movie or a documentary. They showed the focus groups and they were running past different scenarios to find the one that had the least impact.

Belinda:

Yeah. So, climate change, it’s probably more accurate to be fair and it’s less scary. But you’re right, people confuse climate with weather. Like weather changes on a day-to-day basis, but the climate is those longer-term changes.

Darren:

But the only reason I raise that is it goes back to the whole comms issue, which is comms is about using language to be able to engage and change people’s perceptions. And yet even if the experts and the governments are struggling with how to explain it, it must be incredibly difficult for communications people.

Belinda:

Yeah. And I’ve learnt a lot along the way. I think there was a lot of scaremongering to start with, which just put people off and made people just too scared or they just felt too powerless. It was too big, we can’t do anything about it.

So, I think that’s been dialled down quite a bit by activists. It’s a lot of going just for positive language, talking about the opportunities, talking about the jobs. And I guess we’re seeing that right now with Biden, with his Thrive Bill and the job opportunities, which I think is a really great way to be framing it.

Darren:

Well, we know that people respond better to optimism than they do to fear. Fear is inclined to shut down people.

So, it’s interesting how it’s changed because we’re getting a lot of fear-mongering now coming from the pro-fossil fuel area with stories like, “Well, without fossil fuels, you can’t guarantee electricity, and you’d lose your air conditioning in the summer and things like that.” So, it seems like the anti-climate crisis group is now trying to use fear.

Belinda:

Well, they’re trying to use both, I think that they sort of position themselves as the sensible side of the debate, which is just so ironic, the fact that we need these sources of energy to power the economy, or we’ll go broke.

It’s kind of fear, but it’s also, let’s just be sensible; these fossil fuels, we need them for the economy. They’ve been here for a long time. They’re going to be here for longer and stop being really emotional and greeny about it.”

So, we’ve adopted that stand. You see that a lot in media as well, by the particular commentators; “We’re the sensible ones, we’re not the green left weirdos latte-sipping, blah, blah, blah.” This is, like I said, ironic because it’s not backed by fact at all.

Darren:

Well, you said latte-sipping. I remember that when I read that the global warming and the climate crisis was actually going to mean that coffee bean yields would decrease and the price of coffee would go up, I’m thinking, “Oh, my daily coffee is going to be more expensive.”

Belinda:

Shit got real.

Darren:

That’s definitely a reason to do it … massive bushfires, flooding, coastal erosion, destructive storms, none of that’s as important as my daily coffee.

Belinda:

That’s right. And then the wine industry has to move further South to make the good wines still.

Darren:

Exactly, cold climate.

Belinda:

So, it’s a disaster. It’s a disaster and maybe when alcohol prices in the parliamentary dining room go up in Canberra, they’ll finally realise there’s something happening outside.

Darren:

Oh, I don’t know, they’re pretty happy with their Mudgee wines that they come from a warmer climate. They’re not all drinking Tasmanian wines.

Belinda:

And it’s subsidised of course.

Darren:

But how much further South can you go than Tasmania?

Belinda:

That’s right.

Darren:

Back to the power of comms, I like the idea that persuasion and a lot of people in the comms industry don’t like the term “persuasion” because really, communication is about using it to persuade people to a particular point of view. I’m talking about comms rather than journalism ─ there are different arguments there.

But in most cases, as a professional communications person, you’re engaged by your clients to push a certain point of view. And I love the Peter Parker principle; with great power comes great responsibility.

That goes to the heart of what Comms Declare is about, isn’t it? For people, comms people to actually declare for the climate and use that persuasion or that power for good, rather than for evil.

Belinda:

Yeah, that’s right. And I guess, it’s understandable when you get a brief. If you get a brief from BP and they’re saying, “Oh, we’re investing 20 million in windmills or wind power” and you think, “Oh, that’s great. You know, of course, we’re going to promote that.” That’s what you do; you get a brief, you promote the bits that you know the audience is going to respond to.

But what’s not happening is that you’re not looking at the annual report and saying that 20 million or whatever it is, is only 0.0001% of their capital expenditure that year. And I think that’s what we have to do ─ join the dots on our briefs and on our clients and I guess, let them know what is going to pass the pub test and what isn’t because that’s moving all the time. It’s moving quite rapidly, I think.

I don’t know what you think, but I think what you could get away with 5, 10 years ago, you certainly can’t get away with now.

Darren:

And that’s the point, isn’t it? That the spin, if you get away with spin, it’s only for a short amount of time. We’ve seen so many brands especially come foul of movements that are willing to stand up and hold them accountable, and definitely, use social media, for instance, to hold them accountable for the spin that they try to put on … we’ve got Nestle with rainforest or deforestation in Indonesia in Sumatra for palm oil plantations.

We’ve got many of the clothing manufacturers being held accountable for basically modern slavery as a part of their supply chain. It has to also apply to having environmentally sustainable practices as well.

Belinda:

Yeah. So, I think practitioners have to look at what they would normally do and discuss it with their clients; is this the ethical thing to do? Is this going to wash? Can we just promote this small bit of what we’re doing and ignore the rest and still maintain some credibility?

And I love the analogy with fossil fuels and tobacco. I find that’s something that really cuts through with people because they know that it’s not okay to work on a tobacco account in the main ─ obviously, there’s still some people doing it.

But you don’t work on tobacco because it’s deadly, because the industry promoted denial and sort of work the system so they could keep pushing their products 20, 30, 40 years after we knew that it was causing cancer.

And then they promoted delay and they came up with menthol. And now, instead of menthol cigarettes, we’ve got the same thing with fossil fuels ─ it’s deadly. Fossil fuels are deadly.

Darren:

Well, now, they’ve gone into vaping.

Belinda:

Oh, the vaping, that’s right.

Darren:

Now you can vape, and that’s not going to have the health consequences that smoking tobacco has.

Belinda:

Yeah. But they were promoting denial. Now, they’re promoting delay through vaping or menthol, which is, I guess, the equivalent of gas.

Darren:

Sorry, Belinda. It’s interesting you should say that because I remember a conversation very clearly about five years ago with a very senior marketer that was working for one of the tobacco companies. And they talked about dark markets and light markets.

And dark markets were like Australia, which had very strong regulatory controls about what they could and couldn’t do. And that the lighter markets were the ones where there was less government control, especially parts of Asia, Eastern Europe, places like that. Where they were still significantly influencing their ability to keep those markets open through financial contributions and “sponsorships” and things like that.

The interesting part for me as we got into a conversation about what was it like for them socially? And they suddenly got really awkward. And I said, “Well, what do you mean?”

They said, “Imagine you’re out socially, and it comes to a discussion around, “Well, what do you do?” “I’m in marketing.” “Oh, what product or brand do you work on?” “Oh, tobacco?”

And they were really embarrassed. And they said, “Suddenly, you became a pariah.” You know, the social … what do you call it? Social license. The social license had been taken away from being out to work in that industry and being seen as acceptable.

Belinda:

And that took 20, 30, 40 years to happen.

Darren:

We haven’t got that time with the climate.

Belinda:

Well, we’ve had more than 30, 40 years. I mean we knew about this stuff in the fifties. We knew about it, we knew about global warming then, the oil companies knew about it. But yeah, the light countries ─ Australia is one of those light countries for fossil fuels, along with Indonesia and Brazil, Saudi Arabia; we’re right up there. We’re very light at the moment for those companies.

Darren:

Well, because I guess our economy on the surface relies so heavily on mining, so heavily on the export of fossil fuels. We export a huge amount of natural gas (it’s a lovely term, natural gas) and coal to the rest of the world.

Belinda:

I think I really want to make a distinction between mining and fossil fuels. We’ve got nothing against mining and it’s unfortunate that they always get wrapped up together. I mean, obviously, mining creates a lot of greenhouse gases, but it’s nothing compared to what we get with the LNG and the coal that we’re exporting.

You know, Australia’s scope 3 through our exports is amazingly high and will become higher as everyone else reduces. So, in 10 years, we could be up to a third of all coal and gas, like it’s insane.

Darren:

So, just expand on that because there’s a lot of misconception. I’ve heard so many politicians and people in the media say, “Oh, Australia’s contribution’s relatively small compared to other countries …” And they point to China and India usually. But in actual fact, they’re just talking about CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions in Australia.

You’re talking about when we export fossil fuels to other markets, Australia is not held accountable for the CO2 emissions, because they weren’t admitted in Australia. They get burnt overseas, is that right?

Belinda:

Yeah. So, I hope I get these figures right. But Australia’s emissions are tiny. I mean, they are tiny. I think it’s 1.3 of the global or whatever. But that’s not where the problem is. It’s our exports. So, BHP, for example, I think it was in 2016, the greenhouse gas pollution was larger than all of Australia. They had more greenhouse gas pollution than 24 million Australians. Like that’s the scale

Darren:

They are ‘The Big Australian’. They’re bigger than Australia.

Belinda:

That’s right.

Darren:

When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions.

Belinda:

And that’s just one of them and they’re not even the biggest. They’re not even near the biggest. So, it’s really our scope 3.

And I think again, talking to marketers and PR people; when you’re looking at your clients consider that. It’s what you’re allowing them to do, how you’re allowing them to delay action, how you’re allowing them to stay popular or keep that social license in the community and with politicians and everything else through all the methods they use ─ sponsorships, donations, all the rest of it.

By allowing them to continue to do that, you’re actually preventing them from stopping their incredibly damaging business.

Darren:

And we’re also, by putting a focus on those businesses and talking about needing to sustain them, we’re distracting people from what we should be doing, which is actually developing new sustainable opportunities to replace them.

That’s the other sad part is that while you’re trying to put so much energy into maintaining the status quo, you’re often doing it at the expense of the future, investing in the future and making the opportunities for the future happen.

Belinda:

Yeah. And it is happening. I mean, in spite of the government’s woeful policies, the transition with solar and wind in Australia is extraordinary.

Like we’re the biggest uptake of solar and wind in the world by a long way, completely ignoring federal government policy. It’s just gone over the top of it. It’s leapfrogged essentially because of the economics because the technology is just moving in leaps and bounds.

And then you’ve got Twiggy Forrest talking about hydrogen and there are huge power lines exporting solar to Asia and stuff like that. Like it’s just astounding that we’re not seeing the focus on that in the media that we’re seeing on 300 coal jobs.

No offence to people who are working in coal, but we’re not talking about many jobs in comparison to what we could be talking about if we become a hydrogen exporter, for example.

Darren:

Exactly. and it would join all the other things that we export as well such as iron ore. I believe iron ore is the thing that’s keeping the Australian economy in surplus at the moment and the Chinese know it.

But so, I read a number of, I think there’s around 15,000 is the estimate of communications professionals across all aspects. You know, everything from public relations to media, to marketing, and advertising in Australia.

What is the opportunity? What will people get for themselves personally, either on an emotional or practical level by actually joining Comms Declare and declaring that they’re making a stand for the climate? And then secondly, what’s actually involved in doing it?

Belinda:

Okay. So, what will they get? Well, they’ll get a lovely, nice fuzzy feeling. That’s very important.

Darren:

Which is not a bad thing. I mean, there’s not a lot of things to feel great about sometimes.

Belinda:

Yeah, it’s a very easy thing to do. Apart from knowing that you’re doing what’s right, knowing you’re going to be on the right side of history ─ you’re also positioning yourself well to take advantage of these new industries, to position yourself as someone who is forward-thinking not backward thinking, and someone who’s going be ahead of the curve; a disruptor as opposed to someone who’s going to be disrupted.

I think that’s the opportunity. It’s looking forward, not back, and positioning yourself and your organisation that way. Plus I think for your clients; how would you feel if you’re a hydrogen company or a huge solar company or an EV company, and you want someone to do your PR for you, but they’re also an apologist for the fossil fuel lobby? I don’t see how anyone would take that business, it’s a conflict.

So, to me, it makes good business sense as well, in that regard, apart from the warm fuzzies, that of course, is extremely important.

In terms of how to declare, what we ask is that people declare that they won’t promote the growth of fossil fuels. High greenhouse gases pollution as business as usual or deception or spin on science or climate. It’s a pretty easy pledge to take I reckon. In particular, we say we’re not promoting the growth of fossil fuels, understanding that some industries rely on fossil fuels at the moment.

So, as long as you’re not promoting an extension of a coal mine or asking people to fly more or doing something like that or actually increase fossil fuel use, you’re in a good position. I think most people would be in that position to be honest. And obviously, deception or spin around climate which is difficult to explain.

But I think everyone listening will understand what’s deception and spin, and what is the right thing, and an open and honest and wholly transparent thing to do in regards to your work.

Darren:

Well, look, because I declared personally and also declared for the company, TrinityP3 ─ but the thing that I get most out of it is a sense of belonging to a community. One of the things that I … and I touched on it before; is there’s a positivity on one level because we’re all talking about achieving the ultimate aim, which is to solve the climate crisis, using the skillsets that we have as communicators.

But I also find it incredibly educational as well. There’re so many things that come out of that community, just nuances around language pointing me towards areas where people are being misleading and deceptive, how the spin actually works.

You think as a comms professional you know all these things. But in actual fact, there’s always something to learn about the tricks of the trade that other people are using, that you may not be completely aware of. And I find that fascinating as someone that’s worked comms for more than 30 years. That there are still things to learn. So, that’s what we get out of it or what I personally get out of it.

Belinda:

That’s lovely to hear. And I think since I’ve been working ─ not working, but active in this space, the people that I’ve met in the climate space are some of the smartest people I’ve ever met. They’re super smart, they’re super switched on, very dedicated, very passionate. So, it’s a good bunch to be around even if you’re not being paid. But the money will come, I’m sure.

Darren:

Well, maybe you’ll just need to find one of those really good investments in the future and jump on early, and then the big payday will come.

Belinda:

But yeah, it’s interesting you’re talking about those tactics. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Ivy Lee?

Darren:

No.

Belinda:

Who’s known as the father of PR and he sent what is believed to be the first press release. And he worked for Rockefeller in America in the early 1900s.

And after Rockefeller sent in armed guards to basically massacre the striking miners and their families in what is known as the Ludlow Massacre ─ after Rockefeller did that and became one of the most hated men in America, Ivy Lee helped restore his reputation-

Darren:

Through PR.

Belinda:

Through PR. So, got him to go down with the people, meet them, get his photo taken giving money to different causes, sponsoring art galleries, all these things and setting up fact sheets to journalists ─ all this stuff that hadn’t really happened much before and it helped rehabilitate his image, Rockefeller’s image.

And I think that’s a good story because it shows how ─ not only how the tools of PR are used to protect fossil fuels, but also that there are companies that do really bad things. Tell you that they’re part of the solution and they’re not, and they’re still doing that. They’re still telling us they’re part of the solution, part of the good energy future and they’re not. They’re just not.

But this PR machine, those tricks, those old tricks are still being used to give us that message a hundred years later.

Darren:

And so, I think because there are now generations … we talk about Generation Y and the millennials and Generation Z. We’re always hearing that they’re much more interested in making a better future for themselves. They’re also the ones that are heavily using social media to hold power accountable.

It’ll be interesting to see how much longer the machine can hold up to the power of social media once you take that cover off and show it.

I said before the Peter Parker principle; with great power comes great responsibility, in some ways, Comms Declare is an opportunity for people working in comms to actually declare that they’re going to use those skills for good, rather than for maintaining the evil status quo. How do people live with themselves?

Belinda:

I don’t feel animosity towards people that have been in these industries. I mean, for one thing, great jobs, right? I mean, the woman that got sacked from Rio Tinto after Juukan Gorge, the head of corporate affairs, was on 3 million dollars a year.

Darren:

They pay well.

Belinda:

They pay well. They’re probably great fun, heaps of issues and lots of resources and stuff like that. So, they’re probably great jobs, so you can’t blame people for having a go, but we know too much. We know too much now and you either get out or you make sure if you’re in that you’re making a big bloody difference to make it worthwhile.

If you’re in the tent with some of these companies, you really need to be agitating and working from within.

Darren:

I know being part of the Ethics Center through the ethics lines and the issues that came up with the banking industry and the Banking Royal Commission, they said there were people that could actually separate their professional work from themselves; “You know, that’s the things that I do when I go to the office. And this is the way I behave as an individual.”

It’s actually quite almost sociopathic to be able to separate those two. To think that you can justify all sorts of things that would be abhorrent to you as an individual, but the things that you needed to do to do your job can be two separate things. I mean, it does come down increasingly, to being a matter of ethics, doesn’t it?

Belinda:

Well, it’s horrible that people have to make those decisions with these companies. The company is actually putting you in a position where you have to rip off little old ladies and sell them insurance that they don’t need.

There’s sort of a group-think going on where people just think one particular way, which I guess you get in comms because it’s quite tight, isn’t it? Comms marketing, it’s a tight little community. So, you might see a bit of that creeping in as well.

Darren:

Well, I think you touched on it before. If you pay someone enough money, maybe you can buy their ethics, if not their morals.

Belinda:

100%.

Darren:

Because we’ve certainly seen some very high profile, especially in the media, some high-profile people jump ship from pushing a perspective that they just find totally incompatible with their own ethical standing.

I mean, I think the most high profile would have to be James Murdoch. He resigned from the board. I mean he’s still got the shareholdings, so you could argue that it’s a bit of a paper tiger because there’s still profits from it. But he did resign from the board because of his discomfort with the editorial position that they take.

Belinda:

Yeah. But that’s not the only side. I mean, obviously, comms people are often not paid very well at the junior level. Wages haven’t gone up much in 10, 20 years, and there’s not much security of employment either.

So, don’t be too hard on people, don’t be too hard. If you’re in your twenties and you’re in a company that’s doing bad things, of course, have a go at changing it. But at the same time, it’s totally understandable you’re not in a position to quit your job.

Darren:

Well, or at least come and sign up and declare with Comms Declare.

Belinda:

Yes. So, you can sign up privately, so to all those people who work at WPP agencies or Edelman; you can sign up privately, and we will never reveal who you are and you can work behind the scenes. Please do.

Darren:

Belinda, thanks for taking the time to come and have a chat about what you’ve been doing, all on a volunteer basis. You’ve clearly put what’s doing right ahead of what’s doing profitably, but thanks very much.

Belinda:

Thank you, thanks for having me.

Darren:

Oh, just one last question; do you think there’s a single person in Australia that is holding back the work needed to change the climate crisis in this country. And if so, who is it?

Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media, and commercial communications professionals, Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by Darren Woolley and special guests. Find all the episodes here

Want more articles like this? Subscribe to our newsletter:



    Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email: darren@trinityp3.com

    We're Listening

    Have something to say about this article?
    Share it with us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn

    Tweet
    Share
    Share
    Buffer
    Pin