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Communicating Purpose Can Create a Boom in Business

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mmunicating Purpose Can Create a Boom in Business

Any company, from a startup to a conglomerate, that wants to connect with its customer base may want to rethink its reason for being. Truth is, we’re watching companies like never before. While American politics and talk shows split everything into left and right extremes, the majority of us live in the middle. That has left a plethora of interests to serve. Less plastic in the oceans, reasonable gun control, inclusion and acceptance, free speech — who doesn’t want some of that? Not surprisingly, seven in 10 consumers today believe a CEO or company’s actions can make a significant difference in social or political issues, according to a 2019 Gartner study.

But here’s the twist: Purpose is no longer just about a better world. It’s become good data and dollars, too. At the recent Sustainable Brands conference in Detroit, ImpactROI, a consultancy tracking purpose brands’ business impacts, reported findings that anyone with a P&L responsibility should be clamoring to learn more about.

Through analysis and in interviews with CEOs, ImpactROI discovered that when done well, purpose-centric companies see a 6 percent increase in share price; 20 percent increase in sales; 13 percent increase in productivity; 50 percent decrease in employee turnover; and a sweet pop in “market reputation.” Projecting a company’s passion and point of view beyond a socially-responsible supply chain, and making it profitable, is arguably capitalism at its best.

Still, little has been said about the internal company landscape around purpose. Being a true activist company requires a lot more than barbed copywriting and a famous face. The corporate profiles emerging today of brands slinging purpose are starting to take shape. Some of it’s downright inspiring. Some of it no so much.

The OGs

Walk into any pitch or marketing meeting about purpose, and these are the gold standard logos: Patagonia, Toms, Whole Foods Markets, Kenneth Cole, etc. Down to their DNA (often the DNA of their founders), these are brands born and operated on some kind of authentic calling. The $200 billion natural food and products industry is actually built on this very idea. Even tech startups like Lyft quietly do awesome things (food deserts and voting), and companies like Nike have smartly nudged powerfully deft positionings to something well beyond product benefits (free speech). What buckets these companies as OGs of purpose is a deep commitment to recognizing that what they say and do matters. The other critical ingredient: The company leadership doesn’t care if you don’t agree. They know their tribe, often lead it, speak to their cultural concerns and get rewarded for it. So tip of the hat, OGs. We’re watching and learning.

The “Social-Purpose Immigrant”

There has been no more important article written about the eco-system of purpose companies than “Competing on Social Purpose” by Omar Rodríguez Vilá and Sundar Bharadwaj in the Harvard Business Review. They coined the term “social purpose immigrant.” These are mostly big companies whose leaders made the call, mashed up marketing and responsibility and are steering monster legacy brands and budgets into purpose. Levi’s (gun control), Unilever’s Dove (real beauty), Beam Suntory’s Cruzan Rum (rebuilding hurricane-ravaged St. Croix); the c-suite knows purpose done well is not only right but poised for profitability. They know their work will nudge culture, even be studied (success and failures). They know courage will inspire employees, suppliers and colleagues alike. They are in the midst of tearing down powerful, old-school corporate walls and fears, and let’s all hope they win.

The Adolescent

Teenage years can be tough. Mood swings. Insecurities. Mixed messages. And all of it wrapped around a world with seemingly too many rules. Yet there’s that insatiable thirst for inspiration. In the world of purpose brands, there are the Adolescents. Big or small, the company culture remains enthusiastic for a purpose, but something (often someone) gets in the way. The result: watered-down platforms; triggered cultural landmines (e.g. Kendall Jenner and Pepsi); or regressing to a “purpose” that aims to fix the very social problem the company is causing (after all, a beer company championing “Don’t Drink and Drive” is not exactly reaching for a higher calling). These Adolescent brands might admirable and even responsible, but are ultimately destined to become white noise.

The Divided House

These are the saddest of companies dabbling in purpose. As a family in conflict, the tensions within these halls (often big, legacy brands) are as physical as much as emotional. Corporate social responsibly and marketing are located on opposite ends of the building, led by leaders with different agendas, directives, lexicon and LinkedIn trajectories. Employees are often split along older versus younger generational lines. No one — be it the c-suite, marketing or CSR leadership — is truly convinced purpose can be a real business KPI. If any of this sounds familiar, and your company is not actively tearing down internal divisions, a purpose agenda will fail, and may even become dangerous.

The Green Washer

These missions remain real, gross and not hard to spot. Here’s how they work: A so-called “purpose project” is handed to a mid-level director, stuck with a shallow brief and a pimple of a budget. The product chain may be celebrated, but on a closer look, it’s really not pretty (as one CSR exec from a big brand once told me, “Some things don’t get talked about.”) The culture is often toxic. The leadership is focused on quarterlies, and at best, doing good means wrapping around a big-name charity and hoping it bought a halo effect. For me, the clarity and confidence of turning away this business always feels pretty damn good.

So there you go. A snapshot of companies that get purpose culture and strategy right. Or not. Either way, 10 years from now, purpose will likely be a discipline, embedded in a company’s master brand, maybe led by the Chief Purpose Officer, just like digital, experiential and design before it. After all, when I sat at a J. Walter Thompson media desk for my first job in 1991, “social” was simply inconceivable. Now, with purpose brands making real money and growing fast, and employees feeling pretty good about their jobs, someone will write about these early days and pioneers. So pick a side. History’s being made.

 

by  Jim Moscou

Source www.entrepreneur.com

 

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Venture Insurance Programs launches online platform for small business insurance

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Venture Insurance Programs

National insurance program administrator Venture Insurance Programs is introducing a new platform that will allow agents and brokers to better serve their small business clients.

The new Venture Small Business platform allows insurance professionals to quote and bind policies for over 150 classes of business within the same day. The platform will also provide several post-bind services such as direct billing, issuing ACORD certificates of insurance, policy document requests, and claims reporting/servicing.

Venture Small Business can quote and bind general and professional liability coverage for small businesses within the following industries:

Architecture and engineering
Landscaping services
Artisan contractors
Legal services
Consulting
Marketing and public relations
Creative and design
Health, beauty & fitness
Real estate
Financial services
Retail
Technology
Janitorial services

“Venture is pleased to offer this small business platform alongside our industry-specific products and services for agents and brokers,” said Venture Insurance Programs founder and president Phillip J. Harvey.

Harvey added that the dedicated online portal will assist producers in receiving quotes for their small business clients quickly and accurately, as well as in binding coverage.

 

Source insurancebusinessmag.com

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E-cigarette-maker Juul agrees to avoid targeting minors amid wave of vaping illnesses BY ANDREW SHEELER

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E-cigarette

E-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs must restrict its marketing and promotion to avoid targeting minors under a new legal settlement agreement with the Oakland-based watchdog Center for Environmental Health.

The settlement in Alameda County Superior Court exposes Juul, which is co-owned by Atria, the parent company of tobacco giant Phillip Morris, to legal liability if it violates the agreement.

The agreement includes prohibitions on advertising in media with an audience 15 percent or more younger than age 21, advertising on social media outside of Juul’s age-restricted YouTube account and using models younger than 28.

The settlement comes as dozens of people across the nation have sicked from a mysterious vaping-related illness, one that has led to at least 26 deaths, according to the Associated Press.

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order in September calling on his tax collectors to step up enforcement of the e-cigarette industry.

The Juul settlement, announced on Thursday, contains other prohibitions, including no advertising within 1,000 feet of a school or playground, no sponsoring sporting events or concerts that allow people under 21 and no paying or permitting company employees or contractors to appear at school or youth-oriented events.

The company also must replace the terms “adults only” and “not for use by minors” with “the sale of tobacco products to minors is prohibited by law” in order to avoid enticing minors.

The agreement limits bulk sales of Juul products both online and at brick and mortar stores and requires Juul to continue it’s “secret shopper” program, which seeks to catch retailers selling Juul products without asking for ID.

“This settlement will reduce the number of children getting addicted to a neurotoxin like nicotine, and help protect them from other toxic chemicals present in Juul products,” said CEH’s CEO Michael Green in prepared remarks. “CEH intends to monitor the company closely and if Juul violates our agreement by one inch, we will sue them again.”

A spokesman for Juul said that the settlement affirms practices that the company already had in place.

“We have never marketed to youth and do not want any non-nicotine users to try our products, since our products exist solely to help adult smokers find an alternative to combustible cigarettes,” the spokesman said.

 

Source sacbee.com

BY ANDREW SHEELER

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Drug Giants Close In on a $50 Billion Settlement of Opioid Cases

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AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson

CLEVELAND — As a critical trial deadline bears down, lawyers for states and the three largest drug distributors in the country, along with two manufacturers, have agreed on a framework for a deal to resolve thousands of opioid cases with a settlement worth nearly $50 billion in cash and addiction treatments.

Three people familiar with the negotiations said that cities and counties across the country are tentatively supporting the broad parameters of the deal but are negotiating over its total value as well as attorneys’ fees. They warned that details could change and the deal could still fall apart before Monday, when opening statements are to begin in the first federal trial to determine responsibility for the opioid epidemic.

The agreement would release AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson, which together distribute about 90 percent of the country’s medicines, along with Johnson & Johnson and Teva, the Israeli-based manufacturer of generic medicines, from a rapidly growing list of more than 2,300 lawsuits that they face in federal and state courts.

All of the companies either didn’t return requests for comment or declined to do so.

Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas are leading the talks for the states, along with lawyers for thousands of cities and counties whose cases are in federal court.

Since the late 1990s, more than 400,000 people in the United States have died from overdoses of prescription painkillers and illegal opioids, including heroin and fentanyl. The epidemic is considered one of the greatest public health crises in the country’s history.

The three drug distributors and Teva are defendants in the first trial, brought by two Ohio counties. With thousands of somewhat similar governmental lawsuits on the national runway, the Ohio suit is considered an important showcase that will test the strength of both sides’ witnesses and legal arguments before 12 jurors.

Even as discussions continue, so does the selection of a jury, in anticipation of the start of the trial should talks collapse.

Johnson & Johnson recently settled with the two Ohio counties for about $20.4 million, but the company is named in many of other suits, as well.

Many drug manufacturers and pharmacy chains also have been named as defendants in federal and state opioids cases, but they are apparently not involved in these negotiations.

The maker of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma — which is currently in bankruptcy court — has a tentative and much-disputed agreement with lawyers for thousands of municipal suits in federal court and nearly two dozen states that, if finalized, would remove the company from most opioids cases as well.

According to people familiar with the talks, the combined value of the current deal breaks down as follows: $20 to $25 billion in cash to be divided among the states and localities to help pay for health care, law enforcement and other costs associated with the epidemic; and another $25 to $30 billion in addiction-treatment drugs, supplies and delivery services.

People familiar with the negotiations said many details are still being debated, including the timetable for when the money would be paid.

Whether the amount will be considered sufficient by all the plaintiffs remains to be seen. A new report by the Society of Actuaries projects the costs related to the opioid epidemic at $188 billion in 2019 alone, including health care, child and family assistance programs, criminal justice activities and lost wages.

People familiar with the talks said that a sticking point in negotiation is how much money will go toward attorneys’ fees for the private lawyers who represent governments in the overwhelming majority of cases and work on contingency.

Those lawyers filed the first opioid lawsuits in 2014 and have since conducted hundreds of depositions and compiled many millions of documents.

 

Source : nonperele

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