Speaking on a panel discussion at the Technology for Marketing and Advertising conference in London today (26 February), Skyes said graduates increasingly want to make a difference in the world and are looking for brands that can match that ambition. She claims that an increasing number cite Unilever’s sustainability work as a key reason why they want to join the company as they look for brands that are making a social impact, as well as providing a good career path and opportunity to learn.
William Hill’s CMO Kristof Fahy agreed that businesses must adapt. He admits that social responsibility is not an area that bookmakers have previously focused on but says the company is doing more work in this area, including sponsoring schools in Africa.
However, Microsoft’s marketing boss Philipa Snare warns companies they shouldn’t do CSR just for the sake of it and that graduates too must be clear on what they stand for.
She adds: “It is OK not to have CSR if there is no natural route and you are just slapping a sticker on. It needs to be authentic. Sometimes it is fine just to have a really great product or service”.
Speaking on the same panel, Sykes also cautioned that brands must not separate digital, leaving it up to younger marketers to understand new technology and online and mobile trends. She believes it is vitally important that the whole marketing team gets involved and understands how consumers are changing.
Johnny Miles-Prowten, Coke’s UK and Ireland digital activation manager, agreed: “Digital is simply a different way to connect with consumers. We must try and inspire the marketing leadership to understand the audience, try out new platforms and experience digital.”