4 Key Takeaways from PRWeek PRDecoded: Purpose Principles

This week, the Porter Novelli team headed to Chicago for the annual PRWeek PRDecoded conference, contributing to two days of conversation fully dedicated to Purpose. The event brought together C-suite and agency thought leaders to lead a conversation on how to deliver Purpose communications with strength, conviction, authenticity – and maximum impact. The conference featured a series of thought-provoking discussions on some of the most notable Purpose campaigns over the last few years from brands like Nike, Always, State Street, Levi’s and more. Here, we’ve highlighted four key ideas and moments that stood out to us from the event:

Bacardi Takes on Youth Unemployment in the Hospitality Industry

Even in strong economic times, employment remains a concern for many individuals. In fact, our 2018 Purpose Study found that domestic job growth was the number one issue Americans wanted companies to address – superseding topics like access to healthcare and cost of higher education. Now, one company is tackling unemployment that is prevalent in a specific industry – creating job training and career-focused opportunities for young workers.

Mattel Embraces Inclusivity with Gender Neutral Doll

As individuals have more options of where to shop and what to support, increasingly, they are looking to purchase from brands they feel reflect who they are and the values they support. And companies are taking notice. Now, more brands are creating product and service options that answer to consumer demands and mirror the society we live in – including eschewing traditional gender definitions. Case in point: the company behind Barbie – one of the most iconic, and gendered, toys in recent history – is breaking gender barriers in the name of inclusivity.   

Companies Join the Fight Against Climate Change

Last week, young people from all over the world marched to shed light on the urgency of climate change, with “climate strikes” in over 150 countries. Several brands, like Ben & Jerry’s*, Patagonia, Seventh Generation and Lush supported these demonstrations by encouraging customers and employees to participate in their local marches. This set the stage as leaders from around the world convened for Climate Week 2019 and the United Nations General Assembly, which kicked off in New York City on Monday, September 23rd.

Salesforce Launches Sustainability Cloud to Make Carbon Accounting Easy

With the United Nations announcing earlier this year that we only have 11 years to prevent irreversible damage from climate change, the urgency to address environmental issues is reaching new heights. In response, companies are announcing increasingly aggressive targets while—at the same time—communicating progress to-date. Yet, even as 86 percent of S&P 500 Index Companies now publish sustainability reports, the process for compiling the data included in the reports can be complex and arduous. Now, one company is putting its leading cloud-based software behind sustainability reporting in an effort to create further transparency, engagement and ultimately, advancement.

PepsiCo Partners with Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Encourage Recycling

Recycling presents a unique challenge for both company and consumer. Although 74 percent of Americans say recycling is important and should be made a priority, 62 percent worry a lack of knowledge is causing them to recycle incorrectly. Research shows that knowledge gap does exist, with over half (53%) of respondents erroneously believing greasy pizza boxes can be recycled. Now, one company is taking a unique approach to not only educate young people on recycling habits, but make it the fun and cool thing to do.

National Preparedness Month: Expect the Unexpected in an Unpredictable Climate

This week, Americans watched with bated breath as Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas and skirted along the southeastern coast of the U.S. We’re no strangers to severe weather – on the contrary, more than a handful of storms have devastated coastal communities over the last several years and a study from ServiceMaster Restore* revealed that half of Americans (52%) think they are more at risk now for a severe storm now than in past years.

Ben & Jerry’s Spotlights Racism in Criminal Justice System through Ice Cream

There’s no question the biggest trend in Purpose communications over the past 24 months has been companies taking stands on hot-button social justice issues. We’ve seen companies advocate for topics such as immigration and refugees, racial equality, LGBTQ rights and more. And some bolder organizations have even chosen to go head to head with the president on policies directly. Yet, most companies choose areas that are mainstream in the news or trending topics on social. Few go against the grain, taking on problems that have far less visibility. The latest campaign from Ben & Jerry’s does just that.

Nordstrom Launches Sustainable Style Category

As something they touch and feel every day, consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the clothes they wear, and the practices used to create them. Indeed, attention on sustainable fashion is on the rise – with research showing a 47 percent increase in “shoppers looking for items that have ethical and style credentials with terms such as ‘vegan leather’ and ‘organic cotton.’” Now, one retailer is making it even easier for consumers to shop – and dress – in alignment with their values.

The ALDO Group Eliminates Single-Use Bags

Out of concern for the implications plastics have for the environment,  there has been a growing movement among cities and states to regulate the use of single-use plastic bags. As the public sector launches policy initiatives to prevent the environmental hazard caused by plastics, more and more companies are proactively stepping up to address the issue. Brands like Walmart, IKEA, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market have all banned single-use plastic bags or implemented other efforts to promote sustainable shopping habits.

Google Rethinks Product Design for Sustainability-First Approach

In a world where some sustainability challenges seem almost too large or too complex to solve, tackling issues can seem like a herculean task. And yet, the concept of scale is a mighty one – and the decisions of one large company can help change the course on a grand scale. Take Walmart’s commitment to only sell concentrated liquid laundry detergent. Not only did this impact more than 800 million units sold within a three-year period; it also shifted an entire industry to pursue concentrate as well. Now another corporate goliath is changing its approach to design with an eye towards sustainable innovation.

WeTransfer, Headspace Create License to Operate Through Erasing Medical Debt

As tech companies continue to become a fixture in many U.S. cities, the juxtaposition between the fast-paced growth, high-rises and even higher salaries can be difficult to fathom next to the growing homelessness problem many of these same cities face. A recent L.A. Times article shared how homelessness in Los Angeles is on the rise – up 16 percent over last year in the city. Now, two companies are looking to assuage the issue in the communities they operate in.

Secret Supports USWNT Appeal for Equal Pay

Last week, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) made world history in becoming the first team to win four Women’s World Cup Titles. Yet, even as the team battled for the Cup on the field, they also fought for equal pay off the field – and the win only raised awareness and increased conversation around the pay disparity between female and male players. Now, a major brand is stepping in to support, lending its marketing platform and dollars to the cause.

Northwestern Mutual’s Ultimate Campout Unites Families Fighting Childhood Cancer

When a child receives a cancer diagnosis, their life as they know it – as well as their entire family’s – is put on hold, while treatment takes over as the family’s #1 priority. These children and families affected by childhood cancer are jolted into, and forced to adapt to, a new reality in which they often find themselves lacking the emotional support, and a genuine understanding of what they’re going through, that they need. Because these families are now typically spending more time in the hospital than their own homes, completely stripped of normalcy, sometimes all they want is one day away from their new reality.  

Summer Reading Gets Easier with JetBlue’s Soar with Reading

With summer in full swing, many kids are enjoying the outdoors, time with family and, freedom from the classroom. But, with school on pause, young children can experience what is called the “summer slide” – a decline in reading ability and other academic skills during the summer months. While many brands focus on back-to-school as a moment in time to help kids in need, one company is taking a different approach – tackling a season-specific issue through meeting kids where they are, all summer long.

Mastercard Launches True Name™ as a Step Towards Inclusivity

As Pride Month draws to a close, we saw many brands step up to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community in a number of ways. This year, it seemed a record number of brands created rainbow-colored products to celebrate inclusion and equality this month – from a rainbow Disney collection of gear to benefit GLSEN to a limited-edition Pride Bud Light triggering donations to GLAAD. And although this support from major brands shows a unified community, a recent article highlighted a need to “get curious” about the unique needs and issues still facing the LGBTQ+ community – and how business can act as a force for change. The most recent move from Mastercard does just that.