Our Voices

CHANGE THE BRIEF, CHANGE THE WORLD

Senior Writer and Editor
Hannah Lindley joined Havas Group in October 2021 as a Senior Writer and Editor. She has a background in corporate reputation management, journalism, and creative writing.
Havas London and Havas Media Group have partnered with their joint client, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), to become the first companies to tap into Purpose Disruptors’ advanced #ChangeTheBrief sustainability training. The Alliance provides an on-demand and face-to-face learning programme and community to all its members, offering expert advice about how the advertising industry can adapt its work to promote more sustainable choices and behaviours in line with a zero-carbon world.
Hear more from Alec Campbell, Senior Account Director, Havas London, in this edition of Dare!.
Alec Campbell

Can you talk about why Havas chose to be a founding member of the #ChangetheBrief Alliance?

As a certified B Corporation, using business as a force for good is incredibly important to us – which is why, in 2020, we became founding supporters of the industry-wide Ad Net Zero initiative. Its ambition is to help the advertising industry become more sustainable, and ultimately achieve net zero by 2030. Havas’ own commitment is even more ambitious – we’ve committed to reaching net zero by 2025 – but it’s vital the industry works together on this issue.  

The #ChangeTheBrief Alliance itself is the consumer-focused pillar of the Ad Net Zero initiative and seeks to help agencies and brands directly address the challenge of the climate crisis by promoting sustainability via every channel available. 

It’s the area where we can really put our core skills to use, by helping our clients shape their communications to promote more sustainable consumer attitudes and behaviours. Naturally, with our aligned goals, it made sense for us to be part of the Alliance, and we’re proud, alongside Havas Media and our shared client EDF, to be the first agency to complete its cutting-edge ‘Level 2’ deep-dive training.

Why is this Alliance important?

There are two key parts to the #ChangeTheBrief Alliance. First, there is the incredibly insightful and useful training programme, which has an array of sustainability leaders breaking down complex issues into simple, easy to understand modules. It gives you a great understanding of key issues, like becoming climate aware, greenwashing and eco-effectiveness, and empowers you to use this knowledge in your day-to-day job, both internally and externally with client and partners. 

Secondly, the Alliance also acts a community for all companies involved to collaborate, share knowledge and drive change together. This part is arguably the most important, as the power of an industry is far greater than a single agency to change consumer attitudes, lifestyles and behaviours. Collective action is imperative if we are to drive real, permanent change and do our bit to help save our planet.  

In your words, why does the advertising world play a critical role in driving change in global sustainability?

The single biggest area of impact that agencies can have is through the brands and businesses we work with. These brands are the ones consumers buy, use and have a relationship with in their everyday lives. What these brands say and do has an impact on people’s decisions and actions – and that can either be positive or negative. 

By understanding consumer behaviours and the decision drivers for our brands’ audiences, we can actively help promote more sustainable attitudes and lifestyles. Sustainability itself might not be a core business driver for all industries and brands, but society now expects businesses to have a view on sustainability, and it’s fast becoming a key part of our decision drivers. 

“These brands are the ones consumers buy, use and have a relationship with in their everyday lives. What these brands say and do has an impact on people’s decisions and actions – and that can either be positive or negative.” 

Can you speak to your experience doing the advanced training so far?

The ‘Level 1’ online training is broken down into three key areas: WHY Change the Brief, HOW to Change the Brief, and LET’S Change the Brief. Each module has incredibly insightful training videos from sustainability experts, who distill the key challenges down and make them relevant to our industry. It will give you a great foundation of knowledge to use in your day-to-day job, but will also leave you curious to find out more. 

We have just completed the ‘Level 2’ training with Rob McFaul, co-founder of Purpose Disruptors, which is a deeper dive into the themes introduced in ‘Level 1’. Because we did it alongside EDF – who totally get the importance of sustainability – we focused particularly on the energy sector, and had the wonderful Morag Watson imparting much wisdom. One of the outputs of this level of training is to workshop how you can make the training and knowledge applicable for the brands you work on. Given EDF’s business objective is to ‘Help Britain achieve net zero’, the insights gained in the training are directly applicable to their brand strategy. 

Why was it so important to undertake this training alongside EDF?

In EDF, we have a client partner whose core business objectives are aligned to the ambitions of the #ChangeTheBrief Alliance. Therefore, it was a no-brainer for us to undertake this training together, and workshop on how the learnings could help shape future activity for the brand. It is through brands like EDF that we are going to be able to have the biggest impact on consumer attitudes and behaviours to live a more sustainable lifestyle and, ultimately, help Britain and the world get to net zero carbon emissions. EDF’s involvement is real testament not just to the brand itself, but to the strength and importance of the Alliance.

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