Today Inder Phull of KRPT reflects on the modern startup compared to the traditional business organisation....
"TBL, these three letters will come to define modern business ethics as the next generation start leading a revolution in what they expect from commerce.
Triple Bottom Line is an accounting framework with three parts: social, environmental and financial. Many organizations have adopted the TBL framework to evaluate their performance in a broader perspective that creates greater business value.
We think there is a noticeable change in the ethics that are expected from a brand. Classical economists believed that businesses only aim is to maximise profit; this single-minded viewpoint might be part of the reason that up to 80% of the world's natural forests have been destroyed.
This profit only mindset allows no space for sustainability or social welfare and has been a key driver in inequality and many other factors that cause negative externalities in the world.
Millennials are the most eco-conscious generation yet and this mindful, green movement is happening across the globe. It also has an impact on startup culture as many businesses are rooted in this same sense of being. Instead of just existing driven by profit, many new startups are trying to make a change and solve big problems, companies like Pavegen and Give Vision are just two examples of how young entrepreneurs are changing the world. Is this the sign of modern startup ethics? Partially.
As always, the dualistic nature of the world means that many modern businesses operate with questionable ethics. Major players like Facebook and Google are just some examples of operations that we’re born in the “startup era” and not 100% trusted yet. The issues of privacy and data are still being resolved in many people's minds and it’s left a grey area when it comes to what modern startup ethics should be. The general feeling however is that the next generation are setting a trend for many new business practices. Brights Ethics is an organisation that provides brands with an accreditation and workshops to improve their practices and was started by young entrepreneur, Bethan Vincent. She, like much of the next generation felt like this sense of purpose and responsibility was crucial to our future.
People, planet & profit
The modern brand will have more than profit as their aim. They will have a sense of purpose and will use new methods to analyse their impact and performance. Many startups are already existing with this new model in mind but how will the major organisations implement these changes?
The idea of a brand being meaningful is an interesting abstraction from this idea of people, planet & profit. How many companies ask themselves whether they are a “meaningful brand”? These are the type of questions that many CEO’s are being asked if they work with global ad agency, Havas. This is a unique proposition when compared with the rest of the market however similar approaches are also being spearheaded in agencies like Grey and more specifically niche companies like Livity.
Advertising agencies exist in the middle of this changing process. We represent brands who may not be willing to adapt. We know that people are thinking about this stuff, we hear about the trees and the immigrants, most of us get it. But, in a world where multiple stakeholders will determine the path an industry takes, it’s very difficult to implement this change.
How do we get there?
TBL, CSR, IDGAF TBH
It starts with changing the way we analyse performance. If key business stakeholders from all organisations agree to implement similar accounting principles around their impact we’re already going at lightspeed. Agencies and brands will have similar aims because they are driven by the same KPIs. Many aspects of this are attainable however measuring impact will always be subjective and Deloitte, PwC and the like have their ways we may not fully understand. Transparency will be vital in all aspects from tax to actual social impact. This hurts many people, even me at times.
I love understanding how schemes like SEIS are benefitting my business but many other schemes may not work for society in the same way. Brands that take advantage of this aren’t in the wrong if it’s legally allowed but questions are being asked around these practices and it will continue to be this wa
Investment in the future
Instead of wasting resources on trends like overpaying for mediocre artist partnerships, brands and agencies should be considerate about how they are investing their ad spend. These changes could lead to revolutions, for example imagine a time where advertising and brands meet scientific research. I’m not talking about the creepy fucking realms of neuromarketing but truly valuable ideas like understanding the brain through partnerships with projects like EyeWire, a game to map the brain.
This is a quest that could help us understand mental disease, consciousness and even why I like Coke more than Pepsi? Which one of those excites you the most? If it’s the last you shouldn’t work in the ad industry in my opinion. Please be a scientist instead….
It doesn’t matter whether you consider yourself a brand, agency or human; our ability to create and explore ideas in cultures like music all the way to science is what really defines many of our lives.
Advertising as we know it is dead. We’ve made it our mission to completely revolutionise the way brands exist in our culture and this world; whether that is music, skate or startups. There is a movement happening as the next generation are being split; some falling victim to the selfie-syndrome whilst many others are being called the DIY generation.
In this world where education has failed many, the internet is the new teacher. Any brand that doesn’t play by the rules of modern society will be exposed and the crowds will decide, a PR disaster could now be the end of many brands if they cross the line.
The future of society could still be in the hands of a few corporations. These leaders in oil and banking rely on the rest of us to follow their system and play by unfair rules, this will be one of the biggest battles any industry has seen as we all try evolve our society.
The internet is changing everything and the way a brand operates in this world is also being scrutinised more publicly. Once the major oil & gas corporations are forced to submit, attention will focus on other similarly unethical brands that may take advantage of society in other ways.
They have time to change before the next generation really get started.
TBL, CSR? Who cares, we call it The Movement and it’s happening all over the world.
#LongLiveAdvertising or #DeathToAdvertising?
Join us at krpt.co.uk as we celebrate the future of the industry according to the next generation.
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