by Halinka Panzera
Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution can teach us much about social enterprise strategy. In trying to change the way we eat he has implemented a comprehensive multi media campaign. What makes it a social enterprise and not advertising is the fact that it is public education. He is concerned about the quality of food people are consuming and how it affects their health. His approach involves a genuine focus on food issues as they relate to the end user. Through his attention on the health needs of the population his brand becomes strengthened.
For his campaign to be successful Jamie Oliver has to provide alternatives to our current food preparation and eating habits that address consumer needs. Food quality, price, speed of preparation, convenience are all issues he has to rethink and re-solve for a society that has become accustomed to fast food frozen convenience. It becomes about education.
In addressing issues food manufactures need to address, Jamie is providing corporations with a model for new strategies of communication and action relevant to the mums and dads who after forty odd years of advertising and mass production based food models, have resulted in eating models that are not sustainable in the long term for our heath.
I have heard consumers for years tell me what a confused, cluttered, crazy, advertising-message, dominated world it is and we at my research company- BDC Market Intelligence have seen firsthand how this is shaping our values.
I hear business talk about authenticity, transparency and consumer engagement and so far in terms of a real consumer led revolution, I have seen very little in the Australian business landscape. The reason why business is floundering and unable to take the steps forward to address consumer concerns is because it does not have the relevant social value models at the decision making table to address the change in consumer sentiment.
Incorporating social values in to business models is not a fad but an important part of a business strategy. Research suggests that over 60% of consumers are looking to support/trade with business with more sustainable authentic and transparent business policy. Consumers are happy to trade as such in more engaging ways that ever before, but they seem still to be waiting for the business to pick up the cues.
So what’s this all got to do with a business revolution? Through our food choices and lifestyle we have reached a point in history where we are actually reducing the life expectancy of the next generation. It’s important to see business sit up and take note of its role in the creation of this terrible truth. A business revolution begins by taking into account what is happening in the real world and dealing with it. Social entrepreneur movements provide models that use authentic storytelling that sets the record straight and is then followed with an implementable strategy.
No more glossy marketing campaigns, walking the walk takes a new type of leader who is prepared to stand up and be counted. The case studies of Unilever I have blogged shows how profit only motives are not enough. Unilever is looking for a deeper involvement with the society it is a part of. Others companies are starting to do the same.