February 2014

Responsible Marketing for Good

CSR blog 6


The importance of growing and protecting your corporate brand reputation in the digital age.

Having worked in the advertising and marketing communications business for many years – I now take great personal pleasure in working on projects that go beyond simply selling more stuff. Don’t get me wrong – selling more stuff is great but the kind of marketing that recognizes a social benefit as well is even greater.

In other words – responsible and purpose-led marketing for good.

SEED Marketing Communications

If I think about it, the role of responsibility has been a key theme in much of my work for many years. As part of Lloydspharmacy’s leadership team, we were the first UK pharmacy retailer to take a responsible stance towards the products we sold. For example-because it is proven that sun cream below SPF 15 provides insufficient protection from the sun’s rays, we took the decision to sell only SPF 15 and above and we made this one of a number of key purpose-led marketing messages. The core team and its partners’ work in this area led to a number of award accolades including Marketing Week – Winner of Corporate Responsibility, The Marketing Society – Cause Related Marketing Award and Winner of raising Awareness Award from Diabetes UK.

And, at the start of my career, I remain proud to have met and been thanked personally by HRH Princess Diana for the contribution I made to raise money and awareness for Capital Radio’s Help a London Child whilst working for Saatchi & Saatchi.

Now, as an independent marketing consultant leading SEED Marketing Communications, a growing proportion of our work involves corporate brand social responsibility (CSR) and managing brand reputation to grow better, more sustainable brands.

SEED Marketing Communications

In 2007, when we established the consultancy, we were fortunate enough to work with Crossroads Care (Now Carers Trust) where we embarked on an 18 month programme building and communicating their brand for the good of the many great carers in the UK. We even managed to get Esther Rantzen on board to help with our communications programme – a relatively easy feat given the good cause we were promoting.

More recently, SEED also enjoyed working with the West Mercia Police Force on a project to help protect children, their parents and their carers from the dangers of the internet. This included working with key stakeholders in the Midlands including schools and the Local Education Authorities.

SEED Marketing Communications

And, although not successful at the final stage, we were asked by the Prince’s Trust to pitch for a very prestigious piece of their business at the end of 2013. Hopefully we will be successful next time.

Today, our current work with a global food client is no less rewarding – bridging the gap between perception and reality with key stakeholders and building a solid reputation for a company that is doing myriad great, responsible things above and beyond the pursuit of profit.

SEED Marketing Communcations

There is no doubt that a strong company reputation adds an undeniable brilliance to the health and performance of a growing brand and that a strong corporate brand is just as important as strong product brands. It provides that all important product quality assurance.

Increasingly, consumers are buying products that are remarkable through their responsible approach and their efforts to do good things for the environment or the community.

Take TOMS Shoes from California. http://www.toms.co.uk/our-movement/l

Their buy one, give one away model is a great example of responsible retailing in action. Amongst others, it’s resulted in copycat concepts from the likes of Starbucks with its Buy One, Get One and Give One promotion.


SEED Marketing Communications

In a similar vein, that’s why SEED supports Kiva. Kiva is the world’s first online lending platform connecting online lenders to third world entrepreneurs. http://www.kiva.org/home SEED’s pledge to Kiva is this. For every marketing project that we win, we contribute a small micro-loan to a third world entrepreneur to help them grow their business and provide for their family.


SEED Marketing Comunications CSR Blog 9

The power of the consumer to shape and influence brand reputation has been fueled by the internet and the real time generation in which we live – making the importance of planning even more important. And in a world where growing organisations are under increasing public scrutiny, protecting a company’s corporate reputation and the sending out of the right messages is vital for survival. From Corporate Social Responsibility and brand building through to Crisis Management – communication now plays a key role in business strategy.


SEED Marketing Communications

At SEED, we work with senior management, marketing and sustainability teams of smaller and medium sized companies globally – focusing on the good stories these companies have to tell and using the latest communication tools including film and video to tell them. We take a strategic view of the business and we employ our qualified knowledge to communicate with the key stakeholders.


Martin Thurley is an independent brand marketing consultant operating at director level in the UK, Europe and South East Asia. He is founder of SEED Marketing Communications – a full-service marketing consultancy near Birmingham in the West Midlands providing practical marketing solutions for  sustainable business growth. SEED Marketing Communications helps organisations tell their stories with marketing guidance, support and marketing communications with specialist sector experience in Food Retail, B2B and Not for Profit. A member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing – he has worked for Saatchi & Saatchi as well as client-side for leading UK retailers including Lloydspharmacy and Homebase. His brand growth marketing communications experience includes previous work with – British Airways, Avis, Wines from Spain, RAC, Adams, Olympus Sport, Prudential, Capital Radio, Cunard, The Money Store (US), Courtaulds, Lowenbrau, The Starlight Foundation, Aqua Pura, Eden Valley Mineral Water Company,  Stena Line, Amstrad, Viglen, Selfridges, Imperial Tobacco, CP FoodsWest Mercia Police, Poundland and many SME’s.




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