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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn Butler-Madden

Big Brands Harness The Power to Transform

Updated: May 28, 2019

“Women have been transforming the world every day in ways big and small. But you wouldn’t know it from search results, because society has taught search engines to become biased.”

Those are the opening lines of Pantene’s new “Power To Transform” campaign, introducing S.H.E. - Search Human Equaliser.

The campaign sets out to eliminate gender bias from search results.

Try searching the term “school girl”. You get sexualised images of girls. Search CEO - only about 10% of images are female, despite women comprising 28% (US stats).

S.H.E. is a browser extension built to help take bias out of search.

“As a leading brand for women, we see the accomplishments and transformations women achieve daily, but the reality is in some ways female-led transformations are not visible. In fact, some of the most accomplished women aren’t even visible in something we do over 3.5 billion times per day: Search. That’s exactly why we created S.H.E.” states Ilaria Resta, Vice President of Hair Care for North America at P&G

The initiative inserts the Pantene brand into the centre of the movement to fight gender bias and promote women’s equality.

Pantene is also committed to nurturing female-led transformations, through the announcement of a unique partnership with the Wing. The $1 million partnership will help fund female entrepreneurs and women-led businesses through a pitch investment competition, and provide a first-of-its kind mentorship program between Wing members and college-bound girls to help guide them through their own transformations.

The introduction of S.H.E. comes as the first chapter of Pantene’s new “Power to Transform” campaign, which recognises, celebrates and gives visibility to women who transform their lives and the world around them every day.

Coming off the back of Gillette’s #toxicmasculinity campaign (another P&G brand), this latest campaign suggests P&G is leaning strongly into #purpose.

It’s not a new strategy for them. Other notable P&G purpose-led campaigns include Pampers & Unicef 1 pack = 1 vaccine 12 year campaign to eradicate Maternal & Neonatal Tetanus from the developing world. 

And US teen sanitary brand Always #LikeAGirl campaign - first launched in 2014. Always also are campaigning to #EndPeriodPoverty, partnering with Feeding America in their mission to donate 15 million pads to keep girls in school. (A recent survey revealed that almost 1 in 5 American girls are missing school because they do not have access to period products).

P&G join Unilever as another company leading the way for business to do well by doing good.

Unilever are 9 years into their 10 year Sustainable Living Plan strategy, which sets out to decouple growth from their environmental footprint, while increasing their positive social impact. Unilever's Purpose? To make sustainable living commonplace.

Some of the progress they've made:

  • They now have 26 sustainable living brands, including Dove, Ben and Jerry's, Lipton and Omo.

  • They've helped 1.24 billon people to improve their health and hygiene, including handwashing, sanitation, oral health, self-esteem and safe drinking water.

  • Over 50% of their agricultural raw materials are now sustainably sourced

  • Millions of lives impacted through initiatives like their smallholder farmer and small-scale retailer programs.

And evidence of the commercial benefits of their strategy:

  • Business growth - last year's published results revealed Unilever's fourth consecutive year of growth for their sustainable living brands, which grew 46% faster than the rest of the business and delivered 70% of its turnover growth.

  • More trust - they are the number one FMCG graduate employer of choice in around 50 countries

Two of the world’s biggest packaged goods companies both actively leveraging Social Purpose with through their business with their key brands.

If you're still not convinced that Social Purpose is becoming one of the biggest strategies on the business agenda, then consider this insight. In a recent Fortune 500 CEO poll (to be published in Fortune Magazine's June edition), 44% of CEO's aligned with this statement, up 4 points from last year.

“I believe my company should actively seek to solve major social problems as part of our core business strategy.”  

Is #socialpurpose on your business agenda yet? 

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