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Messages from the archive of Rutherford Hall, critical communications strategist
WhatsApp to Stephen: Oh god, don’t get me started on that Apple video. They got Octavia Spencer to play Mother Nature quizzing them about what a good job they are doing in going green. Vomit-inducing sanctimony. It was so nauseating I wanted to go out and buy an oil rig. BTW Did you hear BP is rebranding again to Beyond Pickups?
WhatsApp to Stephen: Mind you, it’s getting a lot of buzz on social media, which is handy because it looks like they may be about to get throttled back in China. And the new product launches weren’t all that. But everyone is talking about Mother Nature. Food for thought.
WhatsApp to Murray@BP: Murray. Did you see that fantastic Apple Mother Nature video. They’ve had a meh product launch but all anyone is talking about is that they’ve stopped using leather in watch straps. I know that “be more Apple” is never helpful advice but there is something in this, if you are looking to move the news cycle along.
WhatsApp to Murray@BP: No way. I would never make jokes about BP at a time like this. Anyway, fair enough if you think the video isn’t for you. I do think it would help but can see you aren’t yet able to shift focus.
WhatsApp to SusanCB: Hi Susan, I’ve got an idea. I think it might be perfect for Volpone Bank. I’ll email the details. PS: Did you hear about this amazing company — it’s a kind of Tinder for senior corporate types. It’s called BP.
So, I’ve been thinking about how to shift the story on from the tricky next quarterlies as well as your continuing desire to soften Volpone’s image a touch. Have you seen that inspirational Apple video, where they welcome Mother Nature to the boardroom to brief her on their efforts to go carbon neutral? I’m not easily moved, but it brought a lump to my throat.
And it was all the social media influencers were talking about with Apple for days. This could become a meme and so, not to put too fine a point on it, I think we should build on the idea and run with it. I know the tide is going out a bit on ESG but the waves are still lapping the beach. Why don’t we use it to announce Volpone’s new commitment to being Britain’s greenest bank by 2030.
Find me on Strava, KoM Sydenham Hill, PR London to Brighton 3h 17m
No, I’ve no idea what being Britain’s greenest bank means either but it sounds great and will help the brand. I’m sure your guys can find some metrics, that dodgy one about cutting carbon intensity that others use seems very popular.
Anyway, we rework the Mother Nature idea except we call ours the Earth Mother or Gaia or something like that, and instead of her coming to the boardroom, she comes to a Volpone teller’s window at a high street branch (you have still got a few branches haven’t you?) because she’s looking for Britain’s greenest bank to open an account.
I don’t think we can get an Oscar-winning actress but we could definitely get Holly Willoughby or Maya Jama from Love Island. Different staff come along to tell her all the things you’re doing to save the planet. You might even want to be in it yourself at the end, although CEOs are generally more convincing when they are played by actors. Tim Cook had about as much charisma as John Major’s avatar.
It’s important we never forget we are also talking to shareholders. They want to know our bottom line is still the bottom line. So our slogan is — “For us, the colour of money is Green”.
The other thing we can tie in is executive bonuses. It might allow you to shift the bonus structure, so your ESG component is raised to 20 per cent. I know ESG-linked bonuses are getting some flak from institutional shareholders but the E part is still OK and if you get the metric right it’s the easiest money ever made. I hit my target by installing a bike rack outside the office. Best, R.
Find me on Strava . . .
I admit we thought of Mother Nature roles as female but sure, I can ask about Idris Elba, as you’re keen.
Thanks for the policy ideas. Love the green investment commitment and the decarbonisation of your back offices, sounds brilliant. But I’m not sure the “we’re removing the leather seats from all our private jets” works at all levels. Best, R.
Find me on Strava . . .