Unilever is launching a company-wide purpose initiative for Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs Sept. 15-Oct. 15. The company says that this initiative, “Nos Inspiras Tú,” (You Are Our Inspiration),” will drive change across the organization and advance social impact work that connects with the U.S. Hispanic community.
As part of the initiative, Unilever’s Dove skincare brand has partnered with Dr. Marisol Perez, a psychology professor at Arizona State University, to create a new tool as part of the Dove Self-Esteem Project specifically for Hispanic youth. Unilever says that new curriculum will be unveiled in 2022 and launched alongside fellow Dove partners like Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Unilever’s Hellman’s condiment brand will also partner with Hispanic families to help reduce food waste.
“As a Latino myself, I am proud of the Nos Inspiras Tú commitment, rooted in purpose and accountability, for the largest multicultural segment in the United States,” Unilever North America president Fabian Garcia said in a press release.
Much like Travelocity’s Hispanic Heritage Month campaign, Unilever’s initiative wisely tethers its work to proprietary insights and communicates the intentions of this work through the perspectives and lived experiences of Garcia. By acknowledging the wide scope of issues relevant to Hispanic consumers, and connecting those issues to individual brands depending on the industry focus, Unilever also illustrates how to make purpose work relevant to your brand identity.
Costco explains purchase limits on toilet paper and cleaning supplies
Costco CFO Richard Galanti announced on an earnings call that the company will be reinstating purchase limits on essential items including toilet paper, cleaning supplies and bottled water to meet an uptick in demand during recent COVID-19 surges. He explained that while there is more supply than during the initial months of the pandemic, delivery issues persist.
“Domestically, anecdotally rather, from—even on the domestic side, various major brands are requesting longer lead times, some cases, difficulty in finding drivers and trucks on short notice. Lead times on ingredients and packaging have been extended in some cases. So planning is crucial, which I feel we—our people have done a great job with that over the last several months. Also, we’re putting some limitations on key items, like bath tissues, roll towels, Kirkland Signature water, high-demand cleaning-related SKUs related to the uptick in Delta-related demand.
“Containers, trucks and drivers all are impacting the timing of deliveries and higher freight costs. Despite all these issues, we continue to work to mitigate cost increases in a variety of different ways and hold down and/or mitigate our price increases passed on to the members. We’ve also chartered three ocean vessels for the next year to transport containers between Asia and the U.S. and Canada.”
What it means:
Galanti’s words to stakeholders distinguish how Costco’s reimposed purchase limits are different from the rationing that took place during the start of the pandemic, which serves as a reminder that a re-emerging crisis offers an opportunity for your brand or organization to show lessons learned. In this case, that means Costco is sharing steps taken to keep prices down and bolster its supply chain.
A new study by Skynova found that 3 in 5 small business owners are planning to automate at least one function of their business in the near future, while 56% of small business owners believe for ethical reasons that customer service should never be automated. Fifty-five percent believe the same where HR is concerned. The study includes an infographic that highlights the most automated functions of small businesses.
These numbers, and the fact that customer service, customer management and HR are so far down on the list of automated functions for small businesses, highlight the extent to which human judgement, discretion and tact are still considered essential to all functions that involve direct customer or employee engagement.
Apple has responded to a push from the European Union (E.U.) to mandate that USB-C ports become standard on portable electronic devices, including smartphones, to reduce e-waste by eliminating the need for consumers to buy multiple cables and instead re-use the accessories that they have as they acquire new devices. The new proposal would also give consumers the option to purchase new products without also buying a new charger.
Are your chargers piling up in a drawer?
We propose a common charger for mobile phones and other similar electronic devices.
A single charger will be more convenient for people and will reduce electronic waste.
— European Commission 🇪🇺 (@EU_Commission) September 23, 2021
Apple pushed back against the proposal. “We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world,” the company said in a statement. It also voiced concerns about the 24-month transition period for companies to comply with the legislation once it is adopted.
Because Apple’s response directly avoids addressing the EU’s primary concern of e-waste that underscores the push, the company’s message comes off as evasive and its stated concerns for stifled innovation “harming customers in Europe around the world” could fail to convince some consumers. Moreover, Apple also misses a chance to highlight its substantial sustainability efforts, which include carbon neutral and recycling benchmarks.
Sustainability expert Ursula Heise and filmmaker Eva Orner spoke to The Washington Post about Hollywood’s problems addressing environmental issues, such as climate change, in film and television. The conversation offered plenty of takeaways for communicators looking to send ESG messages to stakeholders.
“Most climate-change films fall into the didacticism-or-disaster trap,” said environmental-culture expert and UCLA professor Ursula Heise, who teaches at the school’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and chairs its English department. She said viewers either feel lectured to, as with a documentary, or anesthetized, as with a big-budget action film such as “The Day After Tomorrow.”
“People are resistant to didacticism, and disaster is a spectacle — the genre is so established it puts a barrier between you and the consequences,” she said. “You just get used to these images.” She suggested it might be more effective to embed realities subtly, as the Hugh Jackman film “Reminiscence” did when it casually showed people in the future moving around Miami Beach in gondolas.
“Films about climate change are tricky for audiences because it’s a tough world and people want escapism,” (filmmaker Eva) Orner said. “You have to guide people through stories with characters, not bash them over the head telling them what to do.”
As more brands and consumers demonstrate sustainability concerns, consider these storytelling tactics and best practices as applicable to your organization’s own ESG and purpose storytelling. Be wary of taking an alarmist tone with your efforts lest they resonate with audiences as desensitizing, overexaggerated and insincere.
Avoid didactic calls to action and instead tell a story with real people, real communities and real environments to increase the likelihood of your message resonating with authenticity and sincerity.
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Delta encourages airlines to create a national no-fly list for unruly passengers
Delta has written a memo urging other airlines to join the company in creating a national no-fly list of ill-behaved travelers. The list would be different from the government’s no-fly list, which is maintained by the F.B.I. and monitors those convicted or suspected of terrorism. While the memo did not get into specifics about what the list would contain, it did point to a congressional hearing last week that sought to address the rise of passenger disruptions and proposed a similar, airline-maintained list.
“We’ve also asked other airlines to share their ‘no fly’ list to further protect airline employees across the industry—something we know is top of mind for you as well,” wrote Kristen Manion Taylor, Delta’s senior vice president of in-flight services. “A list of banned customers doesn’t work as well if that customer can fly with another airline.”
During the hearing, Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants union, testified that the F.A.A. had logged 4,284 “unruly passenger reports” since January. About three-quarters of them were related to wearing masks on planes, she said; 61 percent of disruptive passengers also used racist, sexist or homophobic slurs, she said. “If we continue at this rate, there may be more incidents in 2021 than in the entire history of aviation,” Ms. Nelson said.
From 2015 to 2020, the F.A.A. initiated 789 investigations into unruly passenger behavior.
Why it matters:
Delta’s memo is an example of how a company can demonstrate industry leadership by urging cooperation to rally around a shared crisis..
Communicating shared goals with competitive brands strengthens not only strengthens the likelihood of those goals being met, but reminds your competitors you see the value that their expertise and resources provide.