Cindy Gallop: forget co-creation, co-action is the new-world order of business
Cindy Gallop has made a name for herself as an astute business person, an advertising wonder-woman (she built the US branch of BBH in 1998) and the person behind one of the most talked-about TED talks of all time when she took to the stage in 2009 to launch her side venture, Make Love Not Porn.
Speaking from her personal experience, the Oxford-educated Gallop argued that hardcore pornography had distorted the way a generation of young men think about sex, and spoke about how she was fighting back with the launch of a website to correct the myths being propagated by the sex industry.
With her business and marketing consultant hat on, however, Gallop will make her way down to Australia next week to speak at the iMedia Brand Summit being held in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley. A regular on the speaking circuit, Gallop will call on marketers to embrace “radical simplicity” during her keynote speech, and spread her message that businesses can make money while also doing good.
Gallop is also responsible for the social venter, If We Ran The World (IWRTW) a web platform that aims to bring together good corporate and individual intentions and turn them into collective action. Gallop describes it as a slow-burn venture, stating it’s “very hard to do new-world order business from an old-world order place.”
“It’s taken some time, only now is the marketing world really catching up to the idea of the ability to do good and make money simultaneously. Historically, the way that that’s worked in the corporate world is a mindset that goes, ‘We make money here, and then we feel good by giving cheques to causes to clear our consciouses here’.”
IWRTW was conceived in 2009 to activate the business and individual goals into shared action, against shared goals, to deliver shared and mutually accountable results. She is quoted in the Harvard Business Review as wanting to make doing good “as sexy as hell” and to make it “quicker, easier, and simpler to turn intention into action, one ‘micro-action’ at a time.”
“I’m all about a future where we make money because we do good,” she tells Marketing. “Find a way to include social responsibility to the way we do business on a day to day basis that therefore can be a key driver of future growth and prosperity. But I’m finding that more and more brands now are really getting their heads around that and wanting to find a way to do that.”
But is this realistically possible for every industry?
“Absolutely,” replies Gallop, “it’s actually a very simple thought process. What’s happened historically, with the ‘writing cheques for causes’ model, is that there is a very big difference between ‘I want to do something good, so I’m going to go and find a cause and attach myself to it’ versus ‘I’m going to do something good and look within myself, whether I’m a person or a brand, and work out exactly what I stand for, what I believe and what I have has something of value, and what i am going to find within that is something of value, and that’s what I’m going to pursue’.”
Her aim now is to find brands that want to integrate social responsibility into the way they does business. “When we begin the process, we ask brands to answer one question: if you ran the world, what would you do? What we find is, just like individuals, some brands know the answer to that, but the vast majority haven’t the faintest idea.”
Gallop says the majority of brands feel they should do something but they don’t know what. “It would be so much easier if the world worked off the model: the more good we do, the more money we make, the more good we do.”
“When you talk to people in the business world today, everybody wants to do something meaningful, from people in leadership, all the way to people on the factory floor.
“[The issue is] they don’t often connect the ability to do this within the business they work in but I think it’s safe to say that everybody would like to be doing something that is meaningful and has a beneficial impact on the world.”
For now, Gallop aims to bring together the siloes of brand marketing and corporate social responsibility.
“Until you actually bring those two things together and demonstrate how those two things can be integrated, nobody is going to believe that they can. I am looking forward to finding companies that are future forward enough that can to want to be a case study and show it can be done.”
And, If the Make Love Not Porn movement got your interest at the top of this article, here’s Gallop delivering that talk at TEDxOxford this year: