Podcast
48
min to LISTEN
October 13, 2020

How to Stay Authentic Whilst Talking About Wider Social Issues

Flavilla Fongang
Flavilla Fongang
Brand Strategist
,
3 Colours Rule

I recorded this episode at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, and like many of us, you may be struggling with the best way to approach the subject and other social issues in your campaigns.

I’m not the best person to talk about this subject, so I invited the multi-award winning businesswoman Flavilla Fongang onto the podcast.

Flavilla is an expert on the subject and she discusses how you can tackle issues while still coming across as authentic.

Listen to this episode:

We covered:

  • The biggest mistake you can make is thinking of social issues as trends
  • Great brands are ones that can make a difference and not just sell their products
  • Align your brand with a social issue and focus on impact KPIs not marketing KPIs
  • If you are a small brand, start with your local community
  • The top two mistakes that brands make when dealing with social issues
  • You don’t have to comment on every social issue. Choose your focus and stick to it.
  • How to ensure that every employee is on board with the focus and implements it
  • Why management should be a two way system
  • What do impact KPIs look like for each department in a large company
  • Collaborating with a brand that is focused on the same social issues
  • Create one campaign that is about impact and not directly about money.

Resources:

Full transcript:

Louis:
Bonjour, bonjour, and welcome to another episode of everyonehatesmarketers.com. The no-fluff, accessible marketing podcast for people sick of shady, aggressive marketing. I'm your host Louis Grenier. In today's episode, you will learn how to implement wider society issues, like Black Lives Matter, within your campaigns. And come across as authentic, which is not an easy feat.

Louis:
My guest today is an award winning business woman, international keynote speaker. Creative brand strategist with 17 years of experience. She's the founder of Black Women in Tech. She has a podcast as well called Brain Tech Talk podcast. She's a guest brand specialist for the BBC. Was a guest marketing strategy lecturer at Goldsmiths University. Her CV's absolutely gigantic, and I haven't even finished the intro.

Louis:
She mentors at London Metropolitan University. Was named the most influential business woman by LinkedIn. She has a creative branding and marketing agency, that is extremely popular, winning many, many awards. And also has experience spanning multiple countries and continents, which is really interesting for the topic we're going to talk about right now. So, Flavilla Fongang, welcome.

Flavilla:
Hey, thank you for having me. I'm so excited. And this is something that I really like as well, so I'm glad we're doing this. I think it's important, and super relevant.

Louis:
And let's talk about the elephant in the room. I'm a white dude, working in tech, with a beard, in my 30s. We're recording this piece obviously in 2020, and at the minute something that's been really rising up, as a topic, is Black Lives Matter. And I don't think there's a better... I wouldn't say a better time. I don't know if it's the right way to say it. But, I don't think there's a more important time-

Flavilla:
It's about time.

Louis:
To talk about it, than now. And I'm not the best person to talk about it, and that's why you're here, because you have expertise that I don't. And so, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one struggling with this, which is there are bigger stuff than our brands. We like to think, the people holding brands and managing brands, that brands are so fucking important in people's life. That everyone thinks of brands all day, every day.

Louis:
But that's not the truth, far from it. People don't care about brands, they care about themself. And so, we try to imbed ourself into bigger society issues to make our brands seem important. First, why do you think brands tend to do this? Why do you think brands like to think beyond just what they offer as a product, and touch on society issues, like Black Lives Matter?

Flavilla:
I think it's very simple. And as you've said before, it's about time. It's been... I think the problem is that marketers of brands, really think about society issues as trends. And that's the biggest mistake that they make first of all. If you look at it as an opportunity for us to talk about brands, and use the fact that it's a hot topic, to be there, and be seen. That's where really where things start going wrong.

Flavilla:
And it's really annoying. With the whole situation, as you've said, we're recording this in 2020, where we've been dealing with a lot of things. With the pandemic, and we had the Black Lives Matter. It was really hard for a black person. As you know I'm a black person, so I not only had to deal with the situation with the pandemic. But I had to deal with the emotional element behind that, which is really hard.

Flavilla:
And when you see brands just using it, and at some point on Instagram we had all sorts of the Black posts, and that all these brands were posting. And you could say, "What actually have you done? Listen for a minute." I said, "What have you done further than just copying what everybody is doing? But, what have you done?"

Flavilla:
And that's what really annoys me the most. And the fact that we're both French, and I think we are super direct in our approach of saying things. And I'm on Twitter, and I'm calling out people, and I'm saying this is not right. And I go to companies directly, and something like, "This is not how you should do it." Sometimes I had to actually say to my clients as well like, "Don't do this. Take this off." I said, "Take this off. You are doing it the wrong way. This is not about your brand promotion."

Louis:
So, you're saying something super interesting, I hadn't thought about before, necessarily, which is don't treat those society issues as trends. It's not like another trend with fucking... You know the fidget spinner three years ago, or four years ago? It's not in the same level. And so, if you shouldn't treat them as trends that come and go, how should you consider them internally? How should you define them? You mentioned society issues. Would it be the way you would recommend brands to think about it?

Flavilla:
That's a very good question. I'm going to ask you to think differently, and anybody who's listening to this. Think about the brands that you love. Do you like them because of what they do, or do you like them because of what you don't expect from them? A brand that you really love, not just a-okay. If you really think about that first question, that's really where you stand, and you can really make a difference.

Flavilla:
So, the great brands that people love the most, are the ones that actually understand that they can make an impact, that goes beyond just selling their products or services. They say, "We are now in a position where we can influence others to think bigger, than just trying to sell a pair of shoes. Or trying to sell another dress."

Flavilla:
They understand that they can do more. And that's where, when you choose to align your brands with society issues, you don't really focus on your marketing KPIs, you focus on impact KPIs. And that comes back to, if you think about it, if you think about brands who say, "Hey, Black Lives Matter matter to us now," look on the inside. And what's going on inside your company?

Flavilla:
What have you done to really figure out, in terms of how are we supporting? How we're actually providing equality, for people who come from different backgrounds? And that's where it should start. It always starts from within.

Louis:
You mentioned impact KPIs. What does that mean, just give me an example of what an example of what an impact KPI could be?

Flavilla:
Impact KPIs can be for example... And I think that's probably why it's even harder to measure, because most KPIs are quantifiable. With impact KPIs, it's really see people, who probably will message you and say, "This is how your brand has helped me to change." "This is how your brand woke me up to say, I'm going to do something with my life." This is what we call impact KPIs.

Flavilla:
This is why I would, to wake up and do something. And go out there and start picking up trashes in the city. This is what impact KPIs is. This is why I would say, to stop buying from this brand, this is how we decided to create this community. And that's why if you are a global brand, sometime you might not be able to understand that. And that's important to really think about it. And that's where it gets really confusing.

Flavilla:
"We're going to create a new bag, and going to make it all rainbow, and then sell it. And keep the money for ourselves." Well, not really. If you do this, give that money to a charity. Give that money to a company that properly support that. That's what impact KPIs is. How actually you're changing, and impacting on other people's lives. And that's where it becomes authentic, and not just an appropriation.

Louis:
So, it's the number of lives you touch?

Flavilla:
Right.

Louis:
The number of people who are changing thanks to you? And the change doesn't have to be a drastic change, it could be a small change from deciding that actually part of my identity is going to be to pick up trash, instead of just fucking not doing anything about it?

Flavilla:
Yeah.

Louis:
Like those, that's what we are talking about, yeah?

Flavilla:
Yeah, that is exactly what we're talking about. And I think when people think, "Oh my gosh, I don't have the budget. I'm not a big brand." Nobody's asking you to do it on a global scale. You can start doing this from your small community, and then you grow as well with your impact. But it doesn't have to be huge. I just mean that you can start. And if I look at, for example, myself as I run an agency. I didn't have to create a network for black women in Tech.

Flavilla:
Because when I started working in technology, I looked around me, and I stood out. I was the only one there. And that really annoyed me, because I don't believe there's only one, I'm the only person. And what I've done, and I think that's something that's super powerful, is went to the biggest person, who can influence people to change as well. And that's why allies as well, are important. You can't just do everything by yourself.

Flavilla:
And it's important to really think about, how you can change as a brand. You can do more than just offering services, you can make an impact. And that's why the biggest brand... You've heard about things that started with why, from Simon Sinek, and all of these people. It's very simple, and I always say for instance, "Why do you want to do this? What does it mean? Ask yourself the question. If it's just about increasing your turnover, but what does it mean if you're actually still producing a number of plastic? What do we have after that?"

Flavilla:
And I think that, especially for generation Z, they are looking for that more and more. And they have the biggest... They're becoming more and more powerful, we've seen it.

Louis:
Yeah, because they are aging, and obviously they are starting to get jobs. And they have a buying power now that can influence brands. One example that comes to mind, to move away from just Black Lives Matter, that's one example of a massive society issue. But, climate change is a fucking humongous one. One for example, where you mentioned Simon Sinek, Start with Why. One that annoys me a lot is Coca-Cola, a massive, the biggest fucking brand in the world. Their purpose, I'm actually going to Google it just briefly, because it's so bullshit, that I want to-

Flavilla:
Happiness in a bottle, isn't that what they say?

Louis:
"Our purpose is to refresh the world, to make a difference. Our vision is to craft the brands and choice of drinks that people love, to refresh them in body and spirit. And done in ways," that's the most important. "Done in ways that create a more sustainable business, and a better shared future, that makes a difference in people's lives, communities, and our planet."

Louis:
And to me that's the biggest issue that I see with those brands, with a huge fucking purpose. As soon as you look into what they do in detail, it doesn't align. Coca-Cola is one of the biggest polluters in the world, by a long, long mile. And yet, their purpose is to fucking commit to make a difference to our planet. Before I move on to the how to do this, how do you do it as a brand? I just want to come back to something you've said.

Louis:
Which is the, "I tell my clients to stop doing this. Don't do that. Don't do that." What do you think are the biggest, maybe the top two mistakes you see brands do, when it comes to society issues? You mentioned one, which is to treat it as a trend. What else do they do wrong, in your opinion?

Flavilla:
Yes, I think the top one is definitely to do it as a trend, and not start from the inside. You can't just go out there, and follow everything that... And it's a problem that a lot of companies act like sheeple. "Okay, if everybody's talking about that, we feel like we need to talk about it as well." But, you don't have to be involved in every single society issue, if you don't think that your customer actually care about it.

Flavilla:
And it doesn't have to be something that you also have to voice out to the world. You can decide to make a change, and only keep it as an internal communication. It doesn't have to be something that everybody needs to know about it. A lot of brands out there... And the fantastic thing about accounting businesses, do we have to talk about Black Lives Matter? No. But they can look in terms of how they can change it internally, and that's enough.

Flavilla:
Because part of your brand is not just your customers, part of your brand is every single stakeholder. So, your employees, and everybody else. Your investors, and so forth. So, it's not just one element of what you do. If you want to talk about a subject, first of all be authentic about it. Don't just stop, and then move to the next one. Choose one, be consistent with it. It's like, "I'm going to choose to talk about that, and that's it. That's what we're going to talk about." And then start from the inside. It's so annoying.

Louis:
I love that. I love that, because I think the herd mentality is really at play there. Just again, taking the example of Black Lives Matter, with the terrible event that happened, and are still happening. In the US mainly, but everywhere else almost every brand started to look at their competitors and said, "Oh shit, they're posting this. We must do something."

Louis:
Some decided to do a blackouts, like they don't actually mention or post anything on social media, blah, blah, blah. Your advice is really, "Hold on a second. You don't have to say anything. You don't have to." If you're selling soap, or if you're selling, as you've said accounting services, or whatever. Do you actually have to talk about it? And I very much like that, because there was so much noise from people saying, "Actually we are not going to talk about it. We're going to let others do it," like the blackout thing, that it actually did the opposite effect.

Louis:
Everyone was talking about not talking about it. Okay, so big problems is treating it as a trend, and secondly trying to jump on all the bandwagon possible, every time you see a new thing, "Oh shit, we need to talk about it."

Flavilla:
Yes.

Louis:
The two biggest mistakes. Now let's say, I come to you, I own a brand. You work mostly in the tech sector, so let's just consider a company in tech. We have decent money, but we're not a massive company either. And we want to know how to treat, and how to deal with society issues. We want to know how to do it properly in the future. You started to mention a few things, but maybe we can put them in an order?

Flavilla:
Yes.

Louis:
What would you advise them to do, and what will be the step one? What will be the first thing you'd like to do?

Flavilla:
I think step one is very simple, assess. Let's look at what are we doing on the inside that aligns with those issues, and whatever? So, first of all, step one is what are society issues we care about, and we're going to align that with our vision. Okay, so every company should have some clarity in terms of where do we want to go, and what does it mean? And how are we going to achieve that?

Flavilla:
So first of all, decide what society issues you're going to fight. What's going to be the battle that you choose? Yes? When you have that, second goal, assess what have we done, and what are we doing internally, to be able to align that society issues with who we are as a brand? I'll give you an example. One of my clients is involved in a new product, I can't say too much about that, but it's around water.

Flavilla:
So, when you think about it, it's naturally environment. You're obviously not going to start talking about something else. You might underline other issues that you may choose to have, but choose one topic that you make a priority. Is it equality, is it environmental issues? Is it plastic, whatever it is? Decide, and build that within your corporate social responsibility agenda.

Flavilla:
Because that's something, that you need to not only look at it from... If they're looking at that brand from an external point of view, but they don't look about their brand from an internal point of view, because that will also have an impact in terms of who you choose to hire. Who do you choose to work with? Who are your partners that you choose to work with, because it's so easy to lose yourself? If I say, "Well, you say you're going to do that, but look at your partner in China. What are they doing, and how are they treating their employees?"

Flavilla:
And all these elements important, and not just on part of it. So, having some clarity in terms of, what society issues I want to battle for. Then second of all, how does it align with our vision? And all of those elements of our brand DNA, if I can say that, does it fit with it? And if it doesn't, then skip some people, and just say that, "I'm not going to work with this company, because it doesn't fit with who we are."

Louis:
I think we are touching on probably one of the most difficult things that brands have to do, companies have to do, which is to stop doing things. And I think it's one of the things that, we as a society, as companies, as humans, we tend to try to do more. Add to what we do, and it's incredibly difficult for us to remove things.

Louis:
And that's probably the first thing you're saying really. Once you have your vision, your purpose, you don't use that as just a fucking corporate slide, that you just share with your employees. You use that as your focus, where if you do anything that is outside of it, then you need to scrap it, or reassess it, and do it differently. Is that what you mean?

Flavilla:
Correct. It's exactly that. Correct. And I think that's the problem with marketers. Marketers need to be in a position where they can say, "No, I'm sorry. I'm going to say no," because you're getting pulled in all directions. "Everybody's talking about that, go and talk about it." It's like, "I'm sorry, that doesn't fit with our corporate social responsibility agenda, so I'm not going to choose to do that."

Flavilla:
I might do something internally, or whatever it is, but that's it. This is not what we stand for, and we are strong in what we believe in, and that's it. So, as marketers, it's also our responsibility to say, "No, it doesn't work with what we want," we're supposed to say. And that's going to confuse our customers, more than anything else.

Louis:
That's probably the most difficult word for marketers to say, right, "No?"

Flavilla:
Yeah.

Louis:
No, it's from experience, it's just incredibly difficult. Because we don't want to close ourselves to many opportunities, but what if we say that, and something happens? And what if we do that? No, just focus on this thing. So, let's go back to step one, we can talk about it briefly, but it actually is so important, because it gives you the direction for the rest.

Louis:
How do you come up with, or refresh your vision and purpose, like where you want to be, and how you're going to get there, so that it's operationalized? So that, inside the company you actually have, everyone is aware of it? Everyone knows it, everyone uses it as a compass?

Flavilla:
It's a very good question. And I've seen it so many times, people write a vision, and then put it in the cupboard. And then you never hear about it. And again, it's not part of their recruitment. Nobody knows what's their vision, or what they stand for. So, it's a good question. The best way to make sure that it is actionable, again same thing, is how you implement it in your company culture.

Flavilla:
I'll give you an example. I'll use my company as an example. I come from a background, when I moved into the UK, I didn't speak a word of English. And I had to face so many barriers, and I say that, "I'm going to give a chance to anybody who's driven. That's what I want to do." So, it doesn't matter if you're experienced or not. I wanted to make sure that anybody who worked for me, has a chance.

Flavilla:
So, my team has become so diverse, and they also had a voice. So, therefore that has become part of our company culture. But also as a vision, we want to make sure that we help and support individuals who want to make a positive impact. So, if we don't believe in what you're trying to achieve, we're not going to work with you, as simple as that, yes?

Flavilla:
So, if you think about it, it's that you need to not only look at your vision, but look at how this vision can be extended through your action, so what does it mean? For example, you say, "I want to work for companies that want to make a positive impact, so what does it look like? What kind of companies does it look like?" So, really articulate into a story. That you can then share that when you recruit, or when you choose to work with your suppliers, so they understand exactly what you stand for.

Flavilla:
And they can support you along that journey, and that's super important. Because what happens quite often, is that people write a nice vision saying that, "We want to be the number one company in the world to do this." Okay, so how does that mean in terms of your actions, and your delivery? Because if you don't have that, it's just a beautiful dream that is never achieved. And then you end up just focusing on working for the wrong companies.

Flavilla:
And I think the wrong place, will become a bad apple, and damage your brand in the long term. So yes, having that is super important. So, how do you put this into action, what we say?

Louis:
And so, that's the key stakeholders, and the CEO, the founders, who will have to take care of that. So, let's say we have a vision, we have some key actions, do we basically use the vision, or the purpose, and repeat it every time we can? How do we make sure it's embedded in people's head, this direction, this compass? How do we make sure every employee who joins fucking remembers it? And knows that every action that we must take as a company, must be in line with it?

Flavilla:
Yeah, a very good question. So, the best way to do it, is that you can start from recruitment. So, you can put this as part as well, of someone's role and KPI. So, how are you going to align, let's take for example a salesperson, and say for example in our case, is to make sure that we work with companies that make a positive impact. As my sales guy, he knows that we need to make sure whoever you're recruiting, or whoever you're prospecting, has to fit that same purpose.

Flavilla:
You believe in what they're trying to do, and you want to work with that. So, you don't choose to just bring on any client possible. Let's say as you've mentioned Coca-Cola, we would basically say, "Well there's no point, you spent six months prospecting and trying to have them as a client, but they don't fit with our purpose." So, you can really embed that as well, in the role description. And every single, how does it fit within your activities, and your roles and duties?

Flavilla:
Therefore you know that people are effectively aligning with what you're trying to achieve. And you can do that for ever single role. And I think that people forget that. They just have a standard, generic roles that they give out, or put out there. If you look at for example, our job description. It's funny, it's the stories of like, "When you come into our office, this is how you look like. You don't have to come to the office every day, but we're not focusing on your input, we're focusing on your output, so you choose how you want to work."

Flavilla:
"I'm not here to micromanage you, I'm here to support you. And tell me how I can support you, to be the best that you want to be." And that sets the tone, it's like, "I want to work with this company." And I constantly get a number of people that want to work with me. So, it's the same way as the business, if you think about it for more than that, like the type of clients that you want to have as well. It's how do they look like? Create your own stories, and it can be such a fun journey to write it.

Louis:
That makes a lot of sense, from the hiring perspective. You start from the very start. Now, the more difficult task is, let's say, if you are listening to this episode right now. You are part of a company. The vision and purpose already there. People inside already there. How do you make sure that the folks inside are aware of it, and using it as a compass, again?

Flavilla:
Yes, very good question. So, there are different ways you can do it, depending on how big you are. You can actually have those outside meeting with the company, with a number of employees. Where you take them all out for lunch, and you have this conversation, where you can do a number of... For example, the company I used to work for before starting my own business, would have director's meetings. Then every director have to go and report their own vision, to their own team. So, you can do that.

Flavilla:
And I think the way that people have always seen it, is that management is a one way system. I think management should be a two way system. Where you say this is what we want to do, and actually tell us, how can we achieve that vision. So, you invite your employees as well, to be part of it. Say, "This is what we thought that we're going to do, and we want everybody to be part of that vision."

Flavilla:
So, they take ownership of that vision. They say, "Okay, well this is how I can make an impact. This is how I can make you achieve." Instead of telling them what to do, go and have this open conversation. "This is what I want to achieve, and how can you support me in your own way?" And that's how you get people. That's how you get generation Z. That's how you get baby boomer. That's how you get many views to work together, and have fun everyday they come to work.

Flavilla:
My team, they've never been late for work. I have to say like, "Can you please go home? What are you doing here?" And that's what I was talking about, an environment where you have fun. You get excited to come to work. You feel that you matter.

Louis:
So, there is two ways to think about it. I think from the employee's perspective, someone listening, who might be part of a business, that empowers them, I think that's much easier. Now, they could also be part of a business that doesn't. Their manager doesn't really ask them for any input. As you've said, it's a one way system.

Louis:
What would you advise those people? Maybe they've tried, maybe they're sending the podcast episode to them and say, "Hey, we need to try that." But, they get pushback, and it doesn't seem to change. How do you advise those employees, to take care of that?

Flavilla:
You know what's funny? I'll tell you about a project I had. The first time I went to... He said, "How on earth did you manage to work with the biggest brands around the world?" I said, "I've always been super cheeky." Because I'm also telling them, if you don't ask you don't get. So, don't go and say, "Hey, I'm in marketing, and I want to work with you." Say, "I think that there's something that is not working right now, and this is what I suggest we should do."

Flavilla:
And then you actually come with a solution, rather than just demanding them to come with the solution. It's your job, if you believe in it, to insist and ask for it. But ask for it with a solution as well. And I always say, "Don't come to me with problems. Come with a solution." I always say that to my team, "Come to me with solutions." And if you come with a solution, and they don't accept it, then change job. At that point, work for another company. If they're not going to change, you're probably not going to do anything.

Louis:
I knew you would say that. And that's the only advice, you can't change people who can't change. And as you've said, don't come at it just complaining, and say, "I don't like that." No, come at it with, "This is a problem I'm seeing, those are the proper solutions. This one is easy, but it's actually quite expensive. This one is difficult to do, I could do it myself."

Louis:
I like that, the initiative side. Now, just reversing the question. I'm a manager, a director, a VP, a founder. And I feel a bit uncomfortable with what you've said. Because you know what? Wow, do you mean actually giving freedom to employees, actually to do stuff? To own stuff? I'm not 100% sure about it. What would you tell me, to convince me?

Flavilla:
It's so funny, I just did an episode on my podcast this morning about a company that specializes on feedback. And they say that the best way to give feedback, it doesn't have to be done verbally, it can be done anonymously. So, this way people can choose the best ideas. So, if they don't feel... I think comfortable comes from... I think French people tend to be very comfortable, to give direct feedback.

Flavilla:
But, sometimes with the English culture it's not something that's very common. So I said, "If you're not comfortable taking direct feedback from your company, ask them to do it anonymously." And then that way, you release that pressure of doing the hard work. And I always say you have to take feedback, I think whatever it is. With your employees, or your customers, it's important. That's the only way to improve.

Flavilla:
If you're not listening to people, you're going to wake one day and realize nobody wants to work with me, or nobody wants to buy from me. So, you have to be open to that. And I always ask my customers, "What can we do better? What should we stop doing, and what should we carry on?" That way I know exactly where I need to stand, and what I need to carry on. And at least, I keep attracting the same great people I want to work with.

Louis:
So, repeat those questions? What could we do better...

Flavilla:
What should we stop doing? What should we start doing? What should we carry on doing? Stop, start, carry on. And that really helps you, not only from a... And again, we have the same approach as well, internally with my team. It's that same thing, what should we stop, what should we carry on, what should we start doing? And it works in other ways too. You can apply it in so many ways, not just customers or employees, but also your suppliers.

Flavilla:
And this way, you're always on point. And I always say to companies that innovation should be part of your culture. If you stay complacent... And we've seen how COVID-19 has affected all business. But if you're going to prepare yourself for the worst, and for the best, you're always ready for the next best idea. And innovation should be part of your company culture, if you want to stay relevant. And any companies who are not innovating regularly, are probably missing out on big opportunities.

Louis:
So, we have a vision, a purpose. It's been operationalized. Folks inside the company know it. And know how to use those to get stuff done. To say no to stuff. Now, if you go to specifically the assessing society issues, or what should you go after, if any.

Louis:
I know it sounds a bit impractical, and archaic, and emotional what I'm going to say, but should you list out the issues? Shit that is going on in the world, and say, "Listen, this doesn't fit our purpose and vision. So, let's forget about it. It's not that we don't care, it's that we can't give our attention to everything, and make a change for everything." So, should we make a list? Is it as bad as that, or simple as that?

Flavilla:
You can make a list. You can make a list as well, and look... I think I love the idea of a list as well, but you can also look at what is a priority right now. And a priority that will align with our vision now, but also in three months, or six months, or five years, or 10 years? And then really figure out, what makes sense to us. If you think about a few brands, for example some brands I'm not going to name, they wanted to empower women to feel confident.

Flavilla:
And they barely talk about their product. They talk about how, and tell some stories about how women can feel comfortable in their skin. And I think the definition of beauty, social media has killed. I feel sorry for our younger generation right now, because they have so much to deal with. So, it's good to see that there are companies who understand that it's important, that looking at not only what is right now, but how will it matter again in 10 years, or 20 years down the line? And it will still be relevant.

Flavilla:
So yes, I think a list is a part in choosing your main topics, or think about it. A lot of tech companies right now, their biggest issue is diversity of people. Because, if you're going to be a global product, if you don't understand how to speak to the black community, if you don't understand how to speak to the Hispanic community, how on earth are you going to do that?

Flavilla:
So, really think about what really matters in your environment, in the environment that you work with. And how does it align with your own vision? It's super important. But yes, again a list does help, because there's so much. Honestly, I can list out so many society issues, the list is endless.

Louis:
And so, let's say we pick one. We pick one that fits our vision, that is still going to be relevant in three months, six months, five years, 50 years. What do we do next? You said assess, do we basically make it open and say, "Hey, we can't talk about those other stuff? I know we care about it internally, but we must make a choice if we want to make an impact in this particular cause, we must say no to that."

Louis:
Do you advise to do this? And how do you advise to approach that, once you picked a cause?

Flavilla:
Yes, I think it's exactly that. You have to be drastically picky. It's like anything else... I always like to compare business to relationship. If you pick a girl, pick a girl. Don't go and date, and start talking to different girls in the same club. Otherwise, none of them are going to speak with you. So, the same thing, when you've picked the society that really matters to your business, then decide what does it look like?

Flavilla:
And break it down in terms of, what does it look like in terms of our implementation? I want to pick another subject, so let's pick for example the LGBTQ society issues, or even there's another level of also trans, which is something else. So, if we look at the LGBTQ, how does it look in terms of recruitment of staff? But, how does it look in terms of the product that we create?

Flavilla:
So, look at it as part of product creation. How does it look in terms of selecting our brand advocate, or brand representative? How does it look into that? How does it look in terms of really all the aspects. If you really break it down, you can really see how you align with everything. But when you start picking too many, that's when the confusion occurs. Because you say, "Okay now Black Lives Matter is a big thing, so I'm going to talk about that now."

Flavilla:
I'm like, "Who are you really?" So, stick to that. I think is important, and that's when you would not called out on, as you say, your bullshit. And people will say, "Yes, this is a brand I trust. This is a brand I'm going to be faithful. This is a brand, no matter what's happening in the situation, I'm always going to buy from them, because they've showed to me, that not only they sell me product that align with who I am. But also, they've done furthermore in terms of their corporate social responsibility. And supported organizations as well, who do this." Yes?

Louis:
Yeah.

Flavilla:
And that's why you're going to have to really break it down, in terms of how does it mean for every single part of our business. From product development, to communication, recruitment, visual pictures. I was sitting in this agency network, agency leaders. Like, "Look at your websites. If everybody is looking one color, how can you attract people of different background?" Everything start from the inside first, before going out with the message externally. I think that's when you'll find the creativity.

Louis:
I love that. Because you basically look at every aspect of your business, the product as you've said. Before the product, the hiring, the customer journey. Your website, your emails. Basically, it sounds like a massive audit of what's up. You audit, and list down, "Those are all the things we do internally, externally facing."

Louis:
And we just look at every line at them and say, "Hey, does it align with what we decided? Does it align with supporting LGBTQ for example? When we only have white dudes in their 30s, with a beard, on our website? And we're supposed to support diversity, what the fuck?"

Louis:
Inside the product, if it's not accessible to the visually impaired. Or to folks who have a... I'm going to forget the word, but the color... Like [inaudible 00:33:45] for example, who can't see different colors. You start then looking at, "Oh shit, yeah. We've been saying that for years, but we haven't done anything about it."

Louis:
So then, let's say once we have this list of stuff. Once we have all the aspects of the business, and we are looking into it. Should we try to do something about every single one of them? Or, should we try to prioritize, based on obviously what we are able to do? What's your advice on this, how to pick the right parts?

Flavilla:
Split it. I think everybody should be in charge of one thing, you can't put... I think that's the thing. Now that I think about now, it's, "Okay, you're going to be in charge of LGBTQ, only you." Not really, that's not how it works. It's not, "Black Lives Matter, you're black, so go and tell everybody about it." Oh my gosh, I'm so annoyed with this. It's like, "Come on, it doesn't mean because I'm black, that makes me an expert on Black Lives Matter issue?"

Flavilla:
No, that's not how it works. It's really like I said, you break it down in terms of who's going to be in charge of the HR? How are you going to apply that in marketing? How are you going to apply that in the web development? How are you going to apply that? And I wanted to say something here, as you talked about it. That's why people get it really wrong, when it comes to this. The way you treat Mother's Day, or Valentine's Day, is not the way you treat obviously society issues.

Flavilla:
That's really where people get it wrong. That's where you can have a lot of fun, doing anything else, but don't mix up the two of them. So, when it comes to the application, again split it. It shouldn't be one person's responsibility, it's everybody's responsibility. And you can then, together as a collective, really figure out, who has been slacking? Who has been doing their job, and who needs to be put back on track, to get what they're supposed to do?

Flavilla:
And then you can review that. You can bring in an auditor. When you set your impact goals from each single department, then you can reevaluate how do we implement it in your creative game, as a marketer? You can have so much fun. If people would just be clear on how we do things. Instead of trying to tap on everything, that is being said out there.

Louis:
So, give me an example, because you've talked about impact KPIs a few times, and I don't think we've gone in depth enough. So, you said actually each department, if you have a big company, would have impact KPIs. And that would trickle down even to individuals, potentially?

Flavilla:
Correct.

Louis:
When you assess every individual's performance, you should have a section that is about that, particularly how have you made progress towards this? Can you give me an example? We've just talked about LGBTQ as a massive society issue, right at the minute. Let's say this is the cause we are fighting for. This is the change we are seeking to make in society, how does an impact KPI look like for example, for a marketing department? What could it be for example?

Flavilla:
Good question. First of all, you look at your customers. If you don't know your customers by now, then you have a serious issue. You should know who your customers are. You can start really evaluating, do we have more men? Or is it more people from different sexual orientations? If you are a B2C company, then you can see who used your product. And the same thing as well for a B2B company, who are the brands that I'm banking with.

Flavilla:
Probably more difficult from the B2B, to know exactly that. But from a B2C angle, you can really start evaluating what kind of customers. Are we now attracting more of this type of customers, or do we still have the same type of people? From the LGBTQ point of view.

Flavilla:
Certainly from the LGBTQ point of view, you can also look at who are you using as your brand influencers? Are people more from different backgrounds, feel like they can fit with your brand? Are you still attracting the same type of people? That kind of element that you can use.

Flavilla:
How as well, as a brand, have you aligned for example, let's say from a marketing point of view, what kind of collaboration have you done? What kind of brands have you worked with, that are pro LGBTQ, to really showcase that you are on the same path? And therefore, again it helps you grow your own reach.

Flavilla:
So, if you say it's the case, how you... For example, if you cannot bring innovation internally, do a partnership. That's pretty much the solution. If you can't bring innovation internally, do a partnership, and that's how you keep your customer engaged. That's how you keep doing something fresh, and innovative.

Flavilla:
So there are different things. There are so many of them, that I can think of on top of my head right now. So I'll say, look at your type of customers, how they were before, and what you have right now. Look at people who actually talk about your brands, how do they look like? Are you being more involved in a certain community, than you were before?

Flavilla:
And again, something to look at as well are the partnerships that you created. Have you changed as well, who you decided to work with? Have you done that as well? So, you don't want to alienate people, and just be focused on one thing. But at least diversify your approach, so you have your short term plan, and you have your longterm plan. There's so many, you can play with it so much, and have fun with it.

Louis:
You mentioned partnership as a key way, when you don't know what to do anymore. Can you give me an example of that? What do you mean?

Flavilla:
Let's say in terms of partnerships, if I was a beauty brand, I'll look at who are my customers? And if I looked at my customers, what do they buy from me? And therefore what type of brands does not necessarily compete against me, but will have the same type of customer as me? So it could be, I'm trying to think about it from a LGBTQ, you might have a brand that also have the same agenda as you. So, you've seen as well in the articulation of their message, they have the same agenda as you. And you're like, "We are on the same path, so let's work together." It could be that.

Flavilla:
Again, I imagine it could be as well, who do we choose... And again, I mentioned influencers. Not just social influencers, influencers can be at any level. If you think about brands, I'm trying to think off the top of my head right now. Influencers can be organizations, who are trying to really fight that battle. It could be that as well.

Flavilla:
So, it doesn't have to be just those people on TickTock or Instagram. It could be people who are actually activists out there. So, you can just do that as well. So, really depending... I'm think off the top of my head right now, but there's so many ways you can approach. This is where the lazy creative needs to wake up, and really play around, because there's so many avenues. Especially with LGBTQ.

Flavilla:
I remember the first time I worked into the Pride. And I literally was looking at the parade, and I'm thinking this is just a commercial agenda. I said none of them actually really care. I felt really like, "I can tell you guys how to do it, but do we actually do more than that? It's great to be on this parade, but are you doing more after this parade?"

Louis:
Here is a controversial question.

Flavilla:
Yeah.

Louis:
Let's say I'm listening to this podcast, and I believe in what you're saying. But I have to generate money, let's say. I'm under pressure, my company's under pressure. We need to fucking generate revenue, this is part of our target. You're telling me that I need to partner up, and I need to do stuff about a specific cause, but it's not going to generate money for me directly. Or at least I'm going to have a tough time to prove that it is making money. What do you tell me?

Flavilla:
I tell you that anything to do with society is never about money, it's about your brand. And again, I think that you should have more than one campaign. As I explained, you can have Mother's Day campaign, you can have a Valentine's Day campaign, or whatever you choose to do. You shouldn't have just one campaign. But, you should choose actually just one campaign which is about impact, which is not around money directly.

Flavilla:
So, whatever you're doing right now, as I explained to you, the brand that we love, are the brands that do more than we expect from them. They actually go beyond and further. So, it means that whatever you are doing with your brand, is not measured right away, straight away by the impact on the number of sales. It's measured by the brand exposure, and brand awareness, which in the long run, means that you have built brand loyalty.

Flavilla:
So, that's super important, and there are people that get it so wrong. It's like, "Oh my gosh, if we're going to have this." Don't compare it the same way. You can have an impact focused campaign, which is, "We're doing this because we need to do this. As a company, we need to be involved in that." But, we know that in the long run, that's for the benefit of all.

Flavilla:
And it will pay off. You might not see the impact straight away, but in the long run, it will pay off, if you cannot measure right now. And that's why it's important that you should have different campaigns. One, campaign focused on impact, one focused on let's make money. At the end of the day, you're a marketer. And another campaign focused on the National Burger's Day, or whatever you're doing. There's so many of these national days, I get so confused.

Flavilla:
But that's the problem. People get it wrong, they say, "I can't measure that." It's okay, you have to measure it in terms of how does it impact on people? And let it flow, in the long run it will pay off.

Louis:
Is there anything I forgot to ask you on this topic, that you really want to share, specifically?

Flavilla:
I think we covered it all. I think really want people to understand is, that it's so easy to just follow. As marketers, we have to be strong and say no. And I think we have to call out as well our clients, and say, "Don't do this." I do this, because they trust me. The attitude of our peers, or whatever it is internally, is that they should treat us as equal. And they should trust our expertise in terms of we're going to stand for that. And we're not going to do anything else.

Flavilla:
And I think about choosing our battle, and not doing anything else. And the more we call our clients, or our team members on their bullshit, the more they will start believing in us. And I think that it's important to stand up, and say, "No, we're not going to do that. I'm sorry, because it doesn't fit with..."

Flavilla:
And I think having that, coupled with your social responsibility, put it into plans. Then go back to what we agreed. Why are we shifting away? You can use that as your armour. You say, "This is what we said we're going to do, so we're shifting away and doing something else, I'm sorry."

Flavilla:
It's simple, "And if you really want me to achieve, what you want me to achieve as a marketer, I'm going to stick to that."

Louis:
I love that message, because it works for everything in marketing, and in life in general. Focus on a few things, and do them very well. And say no to the rest, and you're going to be much better off, than someone trying to say yes to everything. Before I let you go, and thank you again by the way, for all of those details and super practical tips, on a topic that is quite difficult to handle.

Louis:
Very important for all of us, whether we are marketers, and just as humans as well. So, the first one being, what do you think marketers should learn today, that will help them in the next two, five, 10, 50 years?

Flavilla:
They should learn about psychology. And they should definitely learn about technology. Both of them. I'm involved in both, and that has definitely made an impact. And it's funny, I did a talk ages ago, and I talked about marketing DNA. I was like, "What the hell is marketing DNA?" And I'll tell you something, have you ever heard that remark that, "You remind me of your father?" "You remind me of your mother." We've all heard this somewhere, somehow.

Flavilla:
We always think that we are in control of ourselves, but most of the time everything that we do is somehow a part of our DNA. And the more we understand the psychology of consumer behavior, the more you're better to understand how to be a better marketer. So, marketing DNA is something that freaks me out, but it's something I think is very fascinating, especially if it's combined with technology.

Flavilla:
So yes, I definitely think marketers should be more curious about psychology, and also technology. Because there are some amazing people, doing some great things with technology right now.

Louis:
Maybe you can name a few people? I don't want to put you on the spot.

Flavilla:
You should listen to my podcast.

Louis:
So, your podcast is again, remind us?

Flavilla:
TechBrainsTalk. It's available on Spotify. It's available on iTunes. And it's going to be available soon on Audible Amazon. Yes, so that's coming up very soon.

Louis:
You got the same email?

Flavilla:
We got the same email.

Louis:
Yeah, Amazon are launching their podcast service through Audible, and they told us not to say anything, as part of the email, to not share it. It's like, the fuck? Anyway, so thanks for fucking saying to everyone, before you're supposed to.

Louis:
Amazon's going to send you another email. Aside from your podcast, that I urge everyone to listen to, the intersection of as you've said psychology and technology. It's really interesting stuff. What would be the top three resources you'd recommend to people today? It could be anything, from books, to podcasts, to conferences, to people?

Flavilla:
The first thing I would say, I would say cultivate an attitude that I have, which is my mantra is, "Get comfortable, getting uncomfortable." I've always been able to think outside the box, because I've always put myself in situations that I was not accustomed to. So, I would say, go and speak to people that don't look like you, and listen to conversations.

Flavilla:
So for example, I love Blinkist. Because I don't always have time to read books, but I love to listen to Blinkist. And I did that series called State of Mind. And it was about this girl who changed the world of porno. Think about Pornhub, which is disgusting. Then she made something called, it's amazing... Her life is so much better-

Louis:
Is it MakeLoveNotPorn?

Flavilla:
Yes.

Louis:
Is that it?

Flavilla:
It was amazing.

Louis:
Cindy Gallop?

Flavilla:
Yes, it was amazing.

Louis:
I talked to her two years ago.

Flavilla:
She's brilliant.

Louis:
Two years ago. It's on the podcast if you search for her name, Cindy Gallop, she was on the podcast two years ago. She's an amazing woman.

Flavilla:
It's fantastic. Yes, I'm glad. So, you get the best on your podcast, so I'm glad to hear that.

Louis:
Exactly, so you and her. And that's it. I'm done.

Flavilla:
You won't be doing anybody else?

Louis:
I can quit.

Flavilla:
I always say, "Always challenge yourself to think differently. And challenge what people say." And I say, "Challenge your mindset and be curious." And I loved your podcast as well, before we even did that, so I'm pleased I'm on it as well. Anything, obviously I like as well, from a marketing point, from a whatever. You run an agency, I would say, or just into marketing, I love as well another podcast called 2Bobs, from Blair Enns, and David C Baker. They crack me up, they're funny-

Louis:
I've also talked to him, David C Baker was on the podcast.

Flavilla:
So, we are the same people, which is brilliant.

Louis:
Small world, fucking yeah.

Flavilla:
Small world, small world. And then what I like, I like reading the Hidden Agenda, from Kevin Allen. I think it was very fascinating, about the world of advertising, which has evolved a bit more. Some things we just need to change. There was a lot of things that was interesting, in terms of understanding the agenda of every single person in the room that you're talking to. This is so important.

Flavilla:
There's always different players, and when you get that, that changes the game. So, I recommend that. So, cultivate a curious mind. That really helps you to always to get excited. And love, and be happy in your life. And yes, listen to those podcasts, it's really good.

Louis:
Flavilla, you've been a pleasure. I've learnt a lot from you. I genuinely mean it, because this is a topic I'm quite weak on. And I've learned a lot, so thank you for sharing so many resources. Let's say someone wants to get in touch with you, how do they do that?

Flavilla:
Oh my god, it's so easy. You can literally just type Flavilla, and Google will tell you the rest. So, I always say I have to be careful of my reputation, because I'm easy to be found. But yes, you can find me on LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube. I am not on TickTock, so do not look for me on TickTock. But yes, I'm very active on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, where I really speak my mind a lot.

Flavilla:
So, check out 3coloursrule.com, which is my company. So, 3coloursrule.com, which is available. And at [inaudible 00:50:11].com as well. And yes, so check me out. I'm a lot of fun. I'm crazy. I'm fun, people love that. If you want somebody to motivate you, I'm the one.

Louis:
Yeah, it sounds like it. Once again, thank you so much.

Flavilla:
My pleasure.

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