Concha Santiago, Ogilvy Madrid: "Advertising agencies need to help brands create value, not just avoid harm."

Driving impact with transparency and authenticity is more important than ever

出自 India Fizer , AdForum

Ogilvy Spain
Madrid, 西班牙
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Concha Santiago
Head of Strategy Ogilvy Madrid

When it somes to sustainablity, advertisers have the power to drive impact through creative storytelling. Concha Santiago, Head of Strategy at Ogilvy Madrid, shares her views on the role of advertising in climate change and its power to bring positive and meaningful change.


How are you advising clients on sustainable messaging and product development? 

Climate change and sustainability are a key issue for all brands today.

I don't think there is a single one of our clients that has not adopted sustainability as a key element in their strategy communication. We have witnessed a very important change in which sustainability has become a core issue for companies, radiating to all their areas of action and, of course, to marketing and communication. For us at Ogilvy, it is an IMPERATIVE, both within our own company and in the work we do with our clients. And it is so important that within our Consulting department we have an area specialized in sustainability. And we also have the support of our international network. And this is what we pass on to our clients. It is no longer just about being environmentally friendly.

We must move towards regenerative sustainability, which builds rather than diminishes and avoids the things that are important. And of course, we also always transmit the same mantra: Transparency, Trust, Coherence, Real Objectives and Total Avoidance of anything that might seem like Greenwashing.


Have you implemented any sustainability initiatives in your own workflow?  If so, can you tell us what steps other agencies can take to lead by example and adopt sustainable practices within their own operations?  

As part of a large network like WPP, we have a fully planned and very ambitious sustainability policy. There is a clear objective to maximize our positive impact on the planet and to act in accordance with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change:  carbon emissions reach net zero 2025, by reducing absolute emissions by 845; and - in our supply chain by 2030 by reducing absolute emissions by 50% from a 2019 base year.


In what ways can agencies help promote sustainable practices and drive meaningful change towards environmental protection?

I believe that first you have to lead by being the best example, both from the most basic like the reduction of plastics inside their offices, reducing the carbon footprint in their activity, the control of audiovisual production processes, etc, to the type of communication strategies that they propose and develop for their clients. 

At Ogilvy, we always say that our challenge is that the brands we work with have to generate a positive impact in our society, and this is a clear match with sustainability, whose objective is also the creation of positive impact. And therefore, one of our main objectives is to contribute to creating sustainable experiences, because this not only increases the growth of the brand, but also helps it to adopt sustainable solutions throughout its life cycle, which means that we will make clients, by default, sustainable as well.

Let's not forget that, as Kantar assures us in one of its studies, while 92% of people say they want to lead a sustainable life, only 16% actively change their behavior to do so. This means that reducing this gap through behavioral change is one of the most important challenges for brands. And for this, from the agencies, in the communications we develop we must appeal first to people's own interests. We must translate sustainability into close, immediate, tangible benefits that offer a personal benefit to the consumer.


What is your POV on advertising’s responsibility to take action in shifting consumer preferences towards eco-conscious practices, brands, and products?

The responsibility in this advertising task is high. We can be the loudspeakers of our clients' initiatives. In addition, our challenge is to create strategies, products and actions for their brands that contribute to this end. Consumers are aware of the impact that their consumption habits have on the world and are looking for brands that make it easier for them to make decisions. Advertising agencies need to help brands create value, not just avoid harm. Active value creation drives new products, services and business designs that generate greater profits. But the need to act with transparency and authenticity is more relevant than ever.

On the other hand, people want to be the agents of change that make the world more sustainable, but they face barriers that prevent them from acting. Once again, we need to enhance the role of facilitator for brands to offer the necessary tools and solutions that enable people to truly become the protagonists of this shift towards a more sustainable society.

This is not only a task for advertising agencies; it is a task for all companies. We must be able to develop a business model capable of growing the business while creating a better world. That is, nowadays, the greatest challenge of our society.