NEW YORK: Scott Beaudoin has joined Fenton as group president of the social change agency‘s newly formed brand and corporate offering, Actio.
In his new role, Beaudoin will oversee business development, vision, strategy, and hiring talent, he said. He will oversee between five and ten staffers.
Actio is launching with American Honda, the North America subsidiary of the Honda Motor Company, and several other unnamed brands and companies as founding clients, Beaudoin said. The Fenton agency is helping "evaluate their CSR effectiveness in driving action on societal and business impacts."
Actio is a response to an over-saturation of CSR programs over the past 20 years, Beaudoin said. He explained the effect of those efforts to give companies a "reputational lift" has diluted their original intent with "purpose-washing." He said he hopes Actio will help companies bring about societal change on the biggest issues of the day.
"I believe today we, as marketers and communicators, need to ensure there’s substance behind the recommendations and campaigns we create, because business today is more open to scrutiny in a more transparent world," Beaudoin said. "As a veteran in this space, I want to move the conversation from ‘corporate responsibility,’ or ‘corporate social responsibility,’ to ‘corporate action.’"
Beaudoin pointed out Pepsi’s wildly controversial Kendall Jenner ad and State Street Global Advisors’ Fearless Girl as examples of purpose-driven marketing’s shortfalls and their potential blowback. Both companies experienced backlash after making bold statements about how their brand can help with societal issues.
"I feared this would happen because of a lack of understanding of the issues," Beaudoin said. "It opens up the brands to scrutiny in terms of whether they’re living what they’re communicating."
Beaudoin joins the Fenton subsidiary from RF|Binder, where he served as chief strategy officer and oversaw the corporate and brand purpose practice for about two years, according to his LinkedIn account.
Prior to that he worked at MSLGroup for eight years and led the corporate and brand citizenship practice globally.