Editor's note: This article series on brands as a force for good is sponsored by Procter & Gamble and produced by the TriplePundit editorial team.
The events of the last 12 months have brought clarity to what matters. The role of business in society has been forever disrupted. It is now inescapably clear that brands and companies have a responsibility to society to step up as both a force for good and a force for growth. At P&G, we call this “leading with love” — an opportunity to do more and do better for our communities and the world around us — on Valentine’s Day and every day.
The choice of being both a force for good and a force for growth is important. Being a force for good without growth is philanthropy; there’s nothing wrong with philanthropy, but businesses and brands are accountable to shareholders. Being a force for growth without doing good for society overlooks our responsibility to a broader set of stakeholders, including consumers and employees. Doing good needs to lead to driving growth, which in turn enables doing more good.
This virtuous cycle of good and growth is not something new at P&G. For generations, we’ve supported consumers, communities, and our own employees through unexpected challenges, all while providing the products people count on to take care of their personal health and hygiene, care for their families, and create healthy homes.
When COVID struck, P&G heroes were among the frontline manufacturing and distribution workers who were working around the clock to supply needed products as people rushed to stock up during the lockdown.
With our brands, we viewed every communication through the lens of being “useful”… creating “how-to” content on sanitizing surfaces, shaving for a better mask fit, and skin care after wearing a mask all day. We offered free laundry services for frontline responders and their families and virtual childbirth classes for new parents. We used our voice to create public service messages for social distancing and mask wearing. We expanded existing disaster relief operations to donate tens of millions worth of products, cash and personal protective equipment through more than 200 relief organizations worldwide. The focus has been on how to help, because being a force for good is about being useful.
Another way to be useful is supporting programs that help raise money and awareness to fight COVID-19. Crises like COVID reveal the cracks in society and those of us in business cannot let those inequalities widen. When we address systemic inequalities, communities are healthier, economies grow, and the world is a better place — for everyone
That’s why at P&G we use our voice to highlight bias and promote equality.
One example is gender equality. Seventy-five percent of workers on the front line are women, who experience the majority of job losses, and who bear the disproportionate burden of work in the home. So, instead of setting gender equality aside during the pandemic, we offered a call-to-action to Choose Equal for an equal future.
We also stepped up for other hard-hit communities, such as the 80 percent of U.S. Hispanic adults who have jobs outside of their homes, often without adequate healthcare or other support services. We created a film called Estamos Unidos for fundraising events benefiting the Hispanic community.
Black Americans are up to 340 percent more likely to die from COVID-19. We created the film Circumstances to shine the light on the inequalities that disproportionately affect the Black community and raise money for much needed assistance and emergency support.
These films and several more we released in 2020 were intended to help people learn about and engage in conversations about the realities of inequality. Because conversation leads to understanding. Understanding leads to empathy. And empathy leads to action.
As we’ve turned the page to 2021, action is needed more than ever. That’s why P&G has committed to 2,021 acts of good for the year 2021. We’re mobilizing the power and reach of our trusted brands — and we’re inviting consumers to join us.
These acts of good represent the next chapter of P&G’s Lead with Love consumer campaign, which includes a call-to-action to make 2021 the year we all come together to support our communities, accelerate equality, and protect our planet. We’re bringing this to life through a new film, Emotions, which highlights the eight emotions humans are born with and why love is the most powerful of all.
The events of 2020 have made it clear that brands and companies have a responsibility to society — and that we can do even more, shaped by the love and compassion we have for each other. This Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to reflect on how we can lead with love — as individuals, brands and companies. Even the smallest acts of good can make the world a better place.
Images courtesy of Procter & Gamble
Marc Pritchard is responsible for P&G’s brand building disciplines worldwide. He sets the Company’s multi-billion-dollar media, marketing and advertising strategies, and leads marketing innovations that guide communication and brand building for P&G’s portfolio of trusted, quality brands. As top brand builder and veteran of P&G for more than three decades, Marc believes in the power of brands to serve people with the best-performing products, while also being a force for good through ethics and responsibility, community impact, equality and inclusion and environmental sustainability.