As the world continues to grapple with Covid-19, a racial justice reckoning, and rising economic uncertainty, it’s clear these crises have profoundly shifted relationships with power, space, time, leadership, and each other. That creates new challenges—and opportunities—for business and brand leadership and impact. 

Many consumers are now looking for increased accountability. “How many companies have said ‘Black Lives Matter’ with no Black people that work there?” says Xavier, a 30-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia. Xavier was interviewed along with other young adults, youth activists, brand leaders, and business experts for a new report by BBMG and GlobeScan, called “Leading Regenerative Brands: Five Paradigm Shifts to Thrive in a World in Flux.” 

Matheus Bertelli / Pexel

Others acknowledge the scale of the challenges companies face. “We need our leaders to care. And I think it’s really hard,” says Melody, a 24-year-old from New York City. “Capitalism and social good conflict a lot. One thing I learned is many of our leaders have crippling climate anxiety. They don’t feel like they’re sustainability experts. They don’t know what to do, so they’re just going to do nothing, because it’s a huge PR risk to do the wrong thing these days.” 

Nevertheless, many brands are proactively tackling these critical issues, leveraging their reach and resources to take on problems like climate change, racial justice, health equity, and mental health—all issues that BBMG and GlobeScan’s interviews and survey identified as particularly critical to young people under age 30. 

“I think we have to embrace our interdependence and recognize that the individual is actually not the fundamental unit of life, that nothing exists apart from community,” Dave Rapaport, Global Social Mission Officer at Ben & Jerry’s, shares in the report.

Five paradigm shifts

“Leading Regenerative Brands is part manifesto for why it’s imperative to build a purpose-driven company, and part handbook for how to do it. It shares a vision for regenerative leadership inspired by extensive interviews and a global survey of over 30,000 people in 30 international markets. It outlines five shifting paradigms that brands must navigate in order to thrive through this time of change.

  1. Power: Giving voice, choice, and ownership to those with the most at stake.
  2. Space: Closing the distance between the people and places that make, sell, and use our brands.
  3. Time: Slowing down, moving with intention, and becoming good ancestors.
  4. Leadership: Welcoming vulnerability, embracing ‘not knowing,’ and turning challenges into quests. 
  5. Relationship: Widening the circle of connection to thrive together with all of life.

“We’re experiencing new social and environmental conditions on a daily basis, and we believe brands can respond with a human-centered ethos—a spirit of care, of learning together, of building connection, of honoring our mental and physical health, and co-creating responses so that we can find our way to richness, meaning and rejuvenation,” says Raphael Bemporad, BBMG’s Founding Partner.

BBMG is a brand and social impact consultancy dedicated to working with leaders who won’t wait on the things that can’t wait. With a team of strategic creatives and creative strategists, culture experts, and design thinkers, we build Regenerative Brands that are aware, additive, and alive to transform the world we’re in and create the future we want. BBMG is a Certified B Corporation with teams in Brooklyn and San Francisco.