Our latest Marketing in the time of COVID-19 series is an interview with Robin Gadsby, CEO, of Forever Beta, and the new Beta Good Consultancy. Forever Beta are a full-service communications and problem solving company with one objective: to help brands and businesses become forces for good. For too long things have gone unchallenged, but we’re now at a tipping point. Businesses and brands can no longer get away with simply chasing profits. They have to show how they’re serving the planet and society, as well as their shareholders. Customers have included Camden Town Brewery, Google, Co-op, Klarna, Kapersky and Absolut.
Earlier this month Forever Beta expanded its ventures portfolio by launching Beta Good, a strategic sustainability consultancy aimed at delivering agile, effective solutions to modern sustainability issues.
Called Beta Good, it focuses on creating agile and effective strategies for clients who are struggling to come to terms with the modern demands of sustainability in business, demands that have been exacerbated by Covid-19. for more information visit our article on the launch here.
Can you tell me a bit about Forever Beta, and what you do day to day?
As Group Chief Executive Officer I oversee a selection of companies. Forever Beta which is a full service strategy and creative agency. Beta Alliance which is a digital, content and media business. Beta Good which is a sustainability and Impact Consultancy. As well as a selection of Ventures including Beta Space – a workspace and co-working development company; a children’s content company; and a sustainable tattoo cream.
Do you think that Covid-19 has changed how companies and businesses consider their marketing strategies?
Yes, at least in the short term. You only have to walk down the street etc…In the long term it remains to be seen whether a ‘new normal’ will truly establish itself or not. Either way we believe there will be an even bigger shift towards brands and business having to behave more responsibly and more sustainably in the future.
Post-covid, we have learned that the people don’t necessarily want to return to “normal” – in fact, in April a YouGov poll revealed that 91% of Britons would rather we didn’t and they want brands and businesses to change as well – with sustainability at the top of this list. And the best way for them to do this will be to move from a mindset of purpose to one of responsibility.
Having a purpose has been fashionable for a few years.But this pandemic has been a shock to the system. Brands and businesses will no longer just be able to be voices for change, they will now have a new role to play in actively helping to implement those changes.
But these new responsibilities can also become an opportunity for brands. They have a responsibility to find a way through these obstacles of cost and complexity, and they have an opportunity to be the ones who deliver the solution – the solution to people’s eco-anxiety.
How important do you think ethics are within both your business and within the marketing of your business?
More important than ever. We are constantly evolving how we operate, how we train our people and how we work with our clients. We believe that within our business we need to continually be improving out Toolsets, Skillsets and mindsets to help us improve as we’re constantly ‘In Beta’ we have never done. We work on Google Cloud so this toolset helps be efficient in how we work, working remotely and quickly. We have lunch & learn where the team learn for other companies to help our skillsets, and we bring in training like unconscious bias training, black history and LGBTQIA+ community talks to open our mindsets.
Have you made changes to your own marketing during this and will they continue after COVID-19?
We were just relevant at the right time. We wanted to be a support for anyone that needed help. We did a lot of work for free to help people through this crisis. I even bought PPE and distributed it locally for front line workers.
We also used the creative people in our business to try and make a difference by creating a product called Mask Mints. Days after the announcement that masks on public transport would be compulsory social media was awash with people bemoaning their new found intimacy with their breath, so we created mints that we gave out free to commuters in London.
And of course the launch of Beta Good. Which actually meant we could use our people in new and interesting ways, helping us stave off redundancies.
Can you tell us a bit about Beta Good and the thinking behind it?
We’re a full-service communications and problem solving company with one objective: to help brands and businesses become forces for good. For too long things have gone unchallenged, but we’re now at a tipping point. Businesses and brands can no longer get away with simply chasing profits. They have to show how they’re serving the planet and society, as well as their shareholders. We’re here to help them do it. Through provocative, intelligent and ethical thinking. With a belief that when it comes to creating a sustainable future for our planet, we all need to play our part.
Do you have a favourite ethical marketing campaign that you would recommend people look at, and who influenced you?
Not a campaign but a piece of NPD from M & S. It was for a pack of Avocados and it had a simple message on the 2 packs. 1 EAT NOW, 1 EAT LATER. And it really made me think about conscious consumption.
A lot of ethical businesses read us for hints on their marketing, can you share with you insights into what makes a great ethical campaign?
We often look at what we call the 4 Cs, which are Collaboration, Culture, Commerce and Conscience. It helps us find ‘The Good’ in an organisation and this becomes a platform for us to help them with all of their 360 communication needs. We’re a firm believer that it only works if it all works. And a lot of the time the answer starts within the heart of the business and then spans through the four Cs. The focus should never start with Commerce, but if we get everything else right then the profits should ultimately look after themselves.
What are you most looking forward to doing when everything is back to normal?
Literally a beer with my team and our clients. It will be a great way to hopefully push things on again together. It’s been a tough 6 months for everyone.
Lastly what’s next for your industry, and what are you, as a company, up to next?
We are in the process of creating our own range of sustainable products. It will help with our consultancy
Thanks very much to Robin for giving us an insight into his business and how it has been affected by the current pandemic, and telling us a bit more about Beta Good. To find out more about Forever Beta then please visit their website here.