Katie Pascoe (BA(Hons), CIM, MBA, PGD/tgem FHEA)
I am currently an MSc candidate in International Strategic Marketing at the University of Northampton in the UK. My research interests include prosocial consumption, mindful consumption, biopsychosocial perspective, globalization, customer-centric sustainability, integrated strategic marketing communications, and digital and social transformation. Organizations that balance profit and purpose and consider a triple bottom line mandate (people, planet, profit) will be in a better position to redefine success in business through building a more inclusive and sustainable economy that supports health and vitality in its citizens.
After 15 years of writing ad copy, designing graphical communications, building integrated marketing campaigns and creating digital footprints for organizations I finally acknowledged an inner conflict - marketing and advertising was significantly responsible for the drive to overconsume contributing to the pressing problems of our society and planet. Convincing and persuading people to consume - that emotional needs can be satisfied through consumption - became an unremitting and untrue disconnect for me. Correlating material goods, including technology, to consumers' non-material desires ensures that people are never satisfied with what they have. Convincing people that they are not enough and do not have enough meant I was contributing to the harm. The marketing and advertising industry in the past 50 years has been based on a growth model with several unexamined assumptions: that there are unlimited resources and that business has consumers' best interests at heart.
As a senior marketor with a background in pyschology I am pressed to consider how marketing influences society and its citizens and how business can be used as a powerful force for good instead of harm. Therefore, recasting the sustainability concept to represent, in a practical way, people, planet and profit. Business success in the coming decades will depend on the ability to negotiate both social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. On the societal level, we must understand that human and planatary health and well-being is not an individual outcome, but is an interplay of family, community and the culture in which the individual exists. Not only does a stressful culture with stressed out individuals negatively affect health, it actually impacts and changes people’s physiology and nervous system. In other words, people’s health is highly influenced by the surrounding culture and the people in it. “A culture can be toxic or nourishing,” writes Thom Hartmann.
This research, cross-disciplinary in nature, is a direct response to the pressing environmental issues and the increasing ills that western society is having on its citizens. The seemingly most “successful” society in the world - the US, is witnessing 50% of the adult population suffering from stress-related chronic illness (heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, autoimmune diseases and addictions including psychological related problems like depression and anxiety) in the last decade alone (Mate, 2011). Now, more than ever, consumers are waking up when it comes to their consumption decisions.