News & Views

Event Debrief / Dare Purpose Session

by Contagious Team

London agency Dare invites speakers to explore purpose

It's up to brands to improve the lives of customers whilst minimising the damage that the brand brings upon the world. So said Nick Hirst, Dare's joint head of planning at a Dare Session on Purpose at Google's London office on Friday 12 July. Failing to do so results in what he called collateral damage for society that is greater than the brand's overall positive impact. Hirst shared a formula where a brand's collateral damage is subtracted from the improvement of lives the brand offers and then multiplied with morality of acting like as well-meaning entity [(i-d)m in short].

Five additional speakers took to the stage at to share their own take on Purpose at the Dare Session, a half-day event organised by the London-based digital agency.

Indy Saha from Google's Creative Lab quoted Google X's Astro Teller who said that 'do good things for the world and the money will follow'. According to Saha, Google firmly believes in the premise, and demonstrates its philanthropic side through projects like the Google Cultural Institute, which digitises Dead Sea scrolls for example, and makes them available to the world.

Hiut Denim founder David Hieatt encouraged the audience not to rely on sentiment alone, and said that being the best was sometimes not enough. Hieatt for example showed Hiut jeans to department store Selfridges, who turned down the opportunity to stock his product despite being made of such high quality. Instead, Hieatt advised to try small things, like the brand's HistoryTag, which allows denim-owners to record their own personal history through photograph. The photos are tagged with a unique code and are then collated online to produce a virtual story of each product.

Ben Gallagher head of insight and strategy at the Nike Foundation, said that it was important to set big goals. For the foundation, the ultimate goal is to end global poverty. The Nike Foundation believes it is imperative to educate the 250 million girls who live in poverty around the world with an initiative called the Girl Effect. The foundation works hard to dispel the myth that 'educating your daughter is like watering the neighbour's field'. According to Gallagher, girls who complete secondary schools in Kenya would add USD 27bn to the economy. 

The foundation aims to educate and empower girls through initiatives like Ni Nyampinga, a Rwandese brand established to give girls a voice and increase their confidence through female and teenager-targeted cultural projects and programmes.

Barclays' managing director of brand David Wheldon  talked the audience through the company's progress in times of crisis, and how being very clear about company values was imperative when it comes to getting staff and customers on board with a change in culture.

Finally, Alex Jenkins, editor of Contagious Feed, explored the different degrees of purpose brands can have. He explained how CSR should not exist as a bolt-on feature of a brand, but as an incremental aspect to the brand's reason for being. Increasingly, said Jenkins, brands are stepping up to provide the infrastructure and services formerly supplied by governments and NGO's.