Authentic Marketing – Larry Weber

The one sentence summary: Companies can capture hearts and minds through the power of purpose.


  • To achieve long-term value and capture true stakeholder engagement, companies must now embrace a higher purpose – something intrinsic in their DNA that addresses a pressing social issue such as climate change, world hunger or improving education or healthcare.
  • Companies have been through several eras: production (1860-1920), sales (1920-40s), marketing (till the mid-90s), relationship marketing (to the 2000s), digital engagement, and now is the time for authentic marketing.
  • Authentic marketing is a natural by-product of operating with higher purpose, as companies share compelling narratives about their work and purpose that appeal to the values of their customers.
  • There is a four-part method:
  1. Explore values: does your company have a founding or core value?
  2. Pay products and services forward: who in the world would most benefit and can we set up a programme for them?
  3. Feed your audiences’ passions: what do they care deeply about?
  4. Take a stand: what harm do we cause and how could we change that?
  • A new, integrated strategy model brings together business, technology, and engagement strategy – putting moral purpose at the centre of everything.
  • Moral purpose is when a company works to address world issues.
  • Moral code is a pledge to operate responsibly to minimize harm to the planet.
  • A social purpose native company begins with one at the centre of everything it does.
  • Social purpose immigrants (those that don’t) can definitely infuse it later.
  • All of this is very commercially powerful. Consumers will pay more for products from socially responsible companies. Employee engagement is higher. Operational efficiencies can save up to 45% in costs. And capital markets tend to reward socially active firms.
  • The CEO should be the lead voice of the business strategy and moral purpose, acting as Chief Values Officer. They should use plain language and avoid corporate speak.
  • Move from storytelling to storydoing – show what your company is actually doing, then explain it…regularly. Data-telling is also important – show the data that verifies you are making progress.


  • Consumers believe 16% of what companies tell them, and 52% of what an employee says about a company.
  • 94% of consumers are likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency. But 70% of them will not even give even the most reputable companies the benefit of the doubt if something suspicious crops up.
  • Millennials are a vital audience:
    • 76% consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding to work there
    • 64% won’t take a job if a potential employer doesn’t have strong CSR practices
    • 68% want to be known for making a positive difference in the world
    • 78% want the values of their employer to match their own
    • 85% would stay longer with an employer with a high level of social responsibility
    • 83% would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues.