MIAMI: If you’re successful, but don’t have an impact on the world, what’s the point?
Away cofounder Jen Rubio asked herself that question in 2015 when she launched the luggage brand that has now reached a $2 billion valuation. And she challenged the audience with that same query during her Up & Away session, presented by WE Communications, that opened the second day of ColorComm’s 2019 conference.
Purpose, added Rubio, is at the heart of her brand just as much as the quality of the luggage.
"I want every person who interacts with our product to leave with a compelling-enough story that they want to share about it," she said.
Jovian Zayne, executive coach and founder of OnPurpose Movement, stayed on that theme during her session, Living on Purpose. She explained that the key to being a truly purpose-driven brand is asking the right questions. Among them: Who do you want to impact? What are you committed to shifting? What are your values? Who will impact you?
Zayne also advised attendees to change their vocabulary.
"Never say you ‘need to’ do anything," she suggested. "Be ‘committed’ to your goal - including purpose."
During the Brands Take a Stand session, Edelman’s global client relationship manager Smita Reddy shared her advice on helping brands identify and convey their purpose.
"Ask yourself, ‘Why is the world a better place because your brand exists?’" Finding that answer, she said, will help brands know and share their purpose.
Unilever has long been a company associated with purpose. Mita Mallick, the brand’s head of diversity and cross-cultural marketing, attributed that to the sentiment captured by this quote from former CEO Paul Polman: "There is no line where Unilever begins and society ends."
In shifting the focus to diversity and inclusion, Mallick challenged agencies and brands to initiate internal conversations that go beyond unconscious bias and to speak more about cultural immersion.
In delivering the day’s keynote, Nely Galán, media entrepreneur, former president of entertainment at Telemundo, and New York Times Best-selling author for her book, "Self-Made: Becoming Empowered, Self-Reliant, and Rich in Every Way," energized the delegation with counsel on achieving holistic success.
"Fear and failure have to be your best friends," she advised, noting that lessons from failure often spur prosperity later on. "Change your mindset from instant gratification to goal orientation. And in setting goals, start at the end of your life and work backwards."
As for brands, Galán underscored that the fastest-growing consumer demographic in the U.S. is multicultural women.
"Companies will not survive for a month without this market," she stressed.
The "A Few Good Men" session featured leaders from Belvedere Vodka, the Miami Heat, iHeartLatino and BMW. The conversation centered heavily on diversity and inclusion challenges.
Nate Poekert, global director of comms for BMW Group - Mini innovation and brand strategy, earned raucous applause when he offered his thoughts on overcoming hiring obstacles - and the responsibility diverse leaders must accept in moving the needle.
"Understand the rules, then become the exception," he said. "And when you become the exception, you have to make the rules."