Pièce de Résistance
Author of Conscious Marketing, Carolyn Tate, chats with Business State about why businesses are uniquely placed to bring about positive change and what it means for your marketing.
Carolyn Tate says businesses need to break their addiction to profit.
That’s not to say profit is bad or unimportant, but Tate’s philosophy for business and marketing says profit is an ingredient in a higher purpose. Her book relates to the Conscious Capitalism movement, which originated in the US, but has since spread around the globe. As one of its leading proponents in the US, John Mackey (Whole Foods Market), told Forbes in 2013, “Conscious capitalism puts higher purpose and creating value for the community stakeholder at the core of every business decision rather than being added on later as a program to thwart criticism or help manage a business’ reputation.”
We’re not talking religion here, but rather about the role of business in solving the problems of the world or a local community. Business is uniquely placed to bring about positive change, and Bank of Melbourne has always been aware of this.
“Bank of Melbourne is positioning itself very much around the local economy and local business because, the fact is, small businesses are the backbone of Australia,” says Tate. “By 2040 or 2050 half of the workforce is going to be self-employed or working in a small business. A lot of the media attention is focused on big companies, but the reality is that it’s the small enterprises that are going to be the future.”
Supporting environmental and social issues has long been a ‘nice to have’ part of a business, to be leveraged through its marketing communications, while profit is the primary concern.
But Tate’s latest book, Conscious Marketing, posits the argument that things are, and should be, changing fast.
“We should all be ‘profit for purpose’ organisations. Profit is a one-dimensional, singular financial measure of success. For me, measures of success range from staff retention to social impact. They’re more effective than profit, but our economic system is set up to measure short-term profit, so that’s what everyone runs toward.”