Last month for Climate Week, a new digital clock was unveiled in Manhattan’s Union Square, designed to tell us exactly how long the world has left to act before an irreversible climate emergency alters our existence. As of Tuesday 27th of October, it displayed 7 years, 66 days! Scary right?

At Innate Motion we have witnessed with joy the rising importance of environmental sustainability and social impact on brand management agendas, moving central place from what used to be side CSR activities.

Yet our frustration too is rising: all too often do we hear brand teams negotiating exclusivity deals with their societal impact partners. Really? We want to shake our heads and roll our eyes at this trend as it does nothing but block others from doing their part for the planet, and slows down an important movement.

Today we are reaching out to the marketing community to shout: STOP! Stop using your well-intended societal actions to increase your brand differentiation.

Yes, creating a strong point of differentiation for a brand has always been a marketeer’s dream. But using your societal initiatives for that purpose is the wrong battle. You should be honored if your competitors copy you, you should encourage them to follow you – not prevent them from adopting such honourable promises.

When it’s a matter of societal impact, the barriers of differentiation need to be torn down at the favour of alliances with – dare we say it – your archrivals. And believe us, it won’t hurt your business: remember last year when Burger King launched the ‘Day Without Whopper’? They stopped selling Whopper burgers and asked their clients instead to buy from McDonald’s who was giving $2 to childhood cancer for every BigMac sold. The campaign had a very positive impact for both brands… and for the cause.

We would like to see more marketeers take inspiration from this.

We would like to see more brands and industries build partnerships at the favour of greater environmental and societal impact.

We would like to see more brands be so people-focus that they forget about competition when they have the opportunity to have more impact.

We ask you to wake up and understand: in the fight to save the planet, competition is not the enemy.

The Climate Clock reminds us that we have seven years left to save the planet.

We don’t have time for exclusivity deals.

And we don’t have time for every brand to try to reinvent the wheel.



By: Muriel Soupart and Thais Gyurcso