As MPG begins work with globally renowned marketing brand The Drum, Helen Coetzee looks at the need for marketing to play its role as the ‘conscience’ of a company. With a history stretching back over three decades, The Drum is rightly considered one of the premium resources for the marketing industry. As loyal consumers of its heavyweight output over many years, we are very proud to announce we will be working with The Drum on the brand’s global launch. For us it’s not only the chance to work with a media brand we have huge respect for, but also an opportunity to work with a brand we share many ideals and beliefs with. The Drum proudly proclaims on its magazine masthead and website that “Marketing can change the world”. We have always bought into that philosophy. Be a bee in the ear We are believers that brands should have a mission – a positive purpose to what they do. At MPG, one of the strategic areas we are committed to is raising the reputation of marketing through better use of data and analytics to improve clarity on marketing ROI. Recently we blogged on the need for marketers to rise above the ‘post-truth’ reality that is worryingly being formed all around us. In difficult political times, many brands are squeamish when it comes to taking any kind of political stance. But they shouldn’t be and marketers shouldn’t be either. A CEO I worked with once said that marketing was the ‘conscience of a company’. A sort of bee buzzing in the ear of executives calling out ‘the elephant in the room’ or being the voice that pointed out ‘the emperor wasn’t wearing any clothes’. There are a lot of bees buzzing around at the moment in board rooms across the globe. 127 tech companies have now formally joined a lawsuit to challenge new US screening procedures for immigrants. And the number keeps on growing by the day. Even a brand like Budweiser, normally famous for its beer adverts with cute lost puppies or talking frogs, used its flagship Super Bowl advert this month to tell an inspiring story about its foundation by immigrants. In both of these examples organisations and brands are taking a positive, inclusive and, crucially, global approach. It’s not ‘us’ against them, but a call to be outward looking. In divisive times, they are embracing globalism over isolationism. Authenticity over alternative facts. There will of course always be those who reacted with scorn or negativity to such actions, but that is offset by the long-term benefits of being a brand with integrity. A brand that stands for something beyond just selling people things. A brand needs a voice People who know me know I’m an immigrant to the UK. I’ve embraced it as my home, set up a family here and set up this business – helping create jobs and supporting our local economy. Seeing brands like Budweiser embrace its immigrant history or watching tech giants openly raise concerns about how poorly thought-out immigration laws can damage economies and global relations is reassuring. Having a voice is part of being a brand. As marketers we need to be bees in the ears of the board room. We need to make sure organisations don’t take a head in the sand approach to major issues, but take a positive, progressive approach to crafting and protecting brand values. On The Drum’s ‘About Us’ page on its website it states its belief in marketing’s transformative powers, calling for the industry to “consider the effect its work has on the world at large”.It’s a powerful message and one we need to push out more than ever. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll end up representing nothing. That’s not an attractive brand position for anyone.