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Episode Summary

In episode 008 of Marketing for What Matters, Jason interviews John Davis, director for the Center for Sustainable Business Practices at the University of Oregon. Curious how businesses can thrive by prioritizing sustainability and stakeholder value? John shares the competitive advantages of responsible business practices, the role of leadership in driving change, and the ethical considerations in AI development. Get into the value of qualitative research in understanding consumer behaviors and the significance of authenticity, integrity, and transparency in modern marketing.

Key Takeaways

  • 00:00 Guest Introduction: John Davis
  • 04:04 John’s Background and Role at University of Oregon
  • 06:10 Importance of Business Transformation for Sustainability
  • 09:01 Thought Experiment: Leading a Company
  • 13:28 Ethical Considerations in AI Development
  • 16:14 Framework for Transitioning to Stakeholder-Centric Business
  • 21:26 Leadership Traits in Sustainability
  • 28:51 Importance of Leadership in Personal and Professional Life
  • 32:29 Shifting Marketing Strategies: STP to CAM
  • 37:14 Qualitative Research in Understanding Consumer Behavior
  • 45:03 Storytelling in Product Marketing
  • 49:00 Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses
  • 53:16 Integrity and Transparency in Modern Marketing
  • 56:27 Challenges and Solutions for Brands Aiming to be a Force for Good
  • 01:01:57 Role of Higher Education in Shaping Sustainable Business Practices
  • 01:09:17 Planting Trees: One Tree Planted Initiative
  • 01:10:39 Conclusion and Final Thoughts

Action Items

  1. Connect with John Davis on his WebsiteLinkedIn
  2. Subscribe to “Marketing for What Matters” for more episodes on sustainability and marketing
  3. Engage with us at [email protected] to share your feedback, suggestions, or guest recommendations
  4. Consider a business partnership or birthday gift campaign with One Tree Planted
  5. Share this podcast with your friends and colleagues

View Transcript

JAM (00:00.463)
Hey, I’m Jam at Peaceful Media and welcome to a new episode of the Marketing for What Matters podcast. I am thrilled, entirely thrilled down to my, down to the bones here to have John Davis on. And I know I’ve already introduced in the preamble, you know, where John comes from and where we met. But John, I’m just, I’m entirely stoked to have you here. I really, really admire the way you lead.

Just a quick story before I ask you your first question about your background. I met John through the University of Oregon’s Sustainable MBA program. As you guys know, John is the director for Center for Sustainable Business Practices at the University of Oregon, and they put on an incredible event. I think this is an annual thing now. This is year two, the Summit for Sustainable Organizations.

and just bring in powerhouse after powerhouse speaker and John’s leadership abilities and capabilities were just omnipresent throughout the entire event. I, John, you wouldn’t know this, but I just, I really just silently acknowledged and admired the way you led that event while also letting a bunch of people around you lead as well. And I just think you guys facilitated a.

a world -class event and I hope if nothing else, our podcast listeners will have heard this and sign up to go to the next year’s summit down there at the University of Oregon Business Program. So with that, John, I’d love to hear a little bit about your background. And I know you’re at University of Oregon and I’d love to know what led you to shift out of business leadership into teaching business leadership at the University of Oregon.

John Davis (01:56.878)
Sure. Jason, thanks for inviting me. I’m delighted to be on this. And I want to just add a little bit of context to your very lovely and completely unnecessary description of me. But I will tell you that the Summit for Sustainable Organizations that you mentioned was actually the byproduct of the work of our MBA students. They’re the ones who put it on. They organize everything. They…

They invite the speakers, they put the entire agenda together, and I just get the beneficiary of kind of tagging along. So it’s really their work that made the whole summit succeed and become the thing that you witnessed and saw. And yes, it’s an annual event, so it’ll happen again next April and every April thereafter. I came to the university a couple of years ago, actually. I had been talking to them anyway about joining as a faculty member, which I am. I’m a professor of practice here in sustainability.

And during the course of the discussions, as it turns out, the opportunity to also be the director for that Center for Sustainable Business Practices came up as well. And so I took on both of those and I’m delighted to be here. It came about because my book, Radical Business, had just come out at that time. And I know we’ll talk more about that, but that was a fun way to kind of have the conversation with the university and talk a bit about.

bit more about my work and the role it plays in sustainability and also what organizations can do to become a force for good. Because of the work I’ve done over the last 20 years or so in academia, 15 years of which was over in Singapore and Asia, you get to know it’s a relatively small community, relatively. And so I got to know a number of faculty from University of Oregon anyway, over that span of time. And so I had some relationships here anyway. And so it was just delightful to be able to join and be a part of it.

more full -time basis. And so I’m really excited about that. And then to your earlier point too, you know, the program itself and the students are one of the reasons why I do, why all of us do what we get to do. You get to work with some great people. So that’s the fun part of it for me and why I joined.

JAM (04:02.543)
Yeah, it shows. I know you had a little bit of experience, maybe a lot of experience at Nike in product marketing, which I definitely want to touch on as we get into the currents of marketing practices today, especially for sustainable organizations. When I was reading one of your articles, John, and the CEO Today magazine, and I think it really well encapsulated what I’m understanding as your main argument for business transformation.

And it reads like this, our businesses are far more than economic engines. They are vital contributors to the lifeblood of communities everywhere and can be influential role models for doing well by doing good. It’s very close to my heart. We share a philosophy about business and the raison d ‘etre of business and being a force for good.

And I’m kind of curious, this is again going back into your experience, but what were some of the more transformational events, both on a personal level and professional level that helped shape those beliefs that businesses should be a force for good and not just a maker of goods?

John Davis (05:17.454)
Yeah, well, that’s it’s a sum total of a number of different factors that contributed to create this. So first, the reason why I think this matters at all is because businesses, when they’re doing well and doing right by society, then they’re doing more than employing people and providing a living. That’s very important. We recognize that. But, you know, a really strongly high reputable organization and company.

does well because it’s part of the fabric of the community that it serves. And so that’s a geographic proximity. You know, are they there not just to have buildings that people go to in the morning and disappear all day and come back at night? Or are they there because they really are strong advocates for what’s going on in the local community, right? And so that part of it is really critical. So, you know, doing well by doing good means more than just employing people. It means you are actually a part of that fabric that I’ve now referred to a couple of times. And we see examples of this.

certainly here in the US on a regular basis. It may be things like sponsorship of youth sports, support for STEM projects in schools, entrepreneurial competitions for students, good citizen awards, fundraising for schools and so forth. Those things are really critical. But the bigger picture to that also comes out of the work I did over the last 20 years in over 40 countries with organizations and what those leaders in those organizations.

did to demonstrate that they care more about the role of the organization in society than just the shareholder outcomes. I mean, I know we’ll talk more about that, but that was a key part of it.

JAM (06:55.535)
Yeah, yeah, excited to dive in. I have a couple of thought experiments I’ve prepared for you. I know I sent this over in advance, but I’m really excited to get your responses to these thought experiments. So I’m imagining, so whoever goes into our presidency gets the White House this November, calls you up and says, John, I heard that…

You’re kind of leading leading center there with a top four MBA for sustainable MBAs. And you seem like the right person to take over any business in America, any business where you can deploy employ philosophy that businesses should be a force for good and make things right for people, planet, as well as profits. I’m kind of curious which company would you run and why?

John Davis (07:52.398)
Well, first, I think the phone call would have come as a result of this interview on the podcast, right? Because this is getting a global audience.

JAM (07:57.131)
The president’s holding this book.

John Davis (08:01.55)
Hahaha!

JAM (08:03.567)
cruising around on Amazon, you know, we’ll get into this more.

John Davis (08:05.038)
Yeah.

John Davis (08:08.782)
Gosh, I love the question for a number of reasons. There are so many organizations. There’s some default organizations I could lean into and say, well, it’s an obvious low hanging fruit organization that stands out because its current practices are so devastating that it’d be great to go in and try to create the obvious change there. And I’m thinking fossil fuel companies or whatever.

But that’s my real reaction goes beyond that and deeper than that. And I actually look at an organization like Microsoft and its investment in open AI as an example of organization that I think would be fascinating to work toward, not because they are a negative force or a bad force in the world. I think under Satya Nadella, the company has really transformed in a very positive way from its era of Steve Ballmer, which is a very different sort of psychology of the organization.

had in that era to what is now a much more positive force in innovation and technology. And so I think it’s all really good in that regard. But I also think that there’s stuff taking place that’s really important to pay attention to. So that investment in OpenAI, which was prescient a few years ago, $10 billion or whatever, before we really knew that commercial artificial intelligence would become a viable thing, turned out to have been a really smart play in their part.

but that also comes with a byproduct. And that byproduct is the energy required to run a data center that fuels and funnels AI is not to be taken lightly. Basically, each data center powering AI requires about the same power as a, I believe it’s a small city. That’s fairly sizable. And by 2026, 2027,

JAM (09:45.407)
Yeah.

John Davis (09:50.478)
Forecasts show that artificial intelligence worldwide will use as much energy per year through the data centers as it takes to power the country of Argentina. So those things to me are huge because that power grid demand, that demand for energy will have a direct implications in terms of the climate impact, emissions and so forth that are required to make that happen. So we have to find ways to mitigate that. Excuse me.

So I think that’s part of the challenge there that they have, and they’re very well aware of that. But I still think that’s a fundamental challenge. The second piece to it is that there is also the potential for misuse of AI, which we’re now seeing time and again, whether it’s Google, it’s Anthropic, it’s others, it’s open AI. There is no amount of precision you can rely on right now with the current iterations of artificial intelligence, and the misuse of data is ripe right now.

And I think that’s where we have to pay attention to it as well. I think they have a responsibility as an organization to dive in deep on that. Look, so much of the information that I think AI is using is the result of crawling it has done to ingest media from everywhere, including social media. And I think some of our social media has gotten so toxic and poisonous that I’m wondering if it almost in a disproportionate way influences the way AI then uses it.

to return results to us. I don’t know for sure, but I think it’s a logical argument in this case. So we have to pay attention. I know, I know, I know. But it’s an issue that I think it’s important for social reasons. I think it’s important for energy reasons. And so that’s why I look at this as sort of an example of an organization that really stands for good and needs to continue to stand for better.

JAM (11:20.495)
Yeah, you’re about to open up a can of worms here, John. Yeah.

Yeah. Incredible.

JAM (11:42.863)
Right, well, you are an honorable and very brave business transformation expert if you’re gonna go into Microsoft and OpenAI, but you’re right, it’s some of the most, I just can’t imagine a more profoundly impactful organization right now in terms of what this is gonna do for people and planet. And not to mention.

John Davis (11:51.47)
No.

John Davis (12:05.294)
Well, and Jason, if I may, let me just forgive me for stepping on your words there. We met with them a few weeks ago. We took a group of students up to Seattle and spent some time with them. And it was incredibly encouraging and great to see the level of emphasis the company is placing on its investments in sustainability, not just in terms of the things that we just discussed, but also more broadly speaking.

JAM (12:10.415)
Yeah, no, please.

John Davis (12:32.174)
its role as an influential engine of economic activity in society and its role in how we work. So they’re paying close attention to this stuff, but you know, like any organization, there are a lot of moving parts you probably don’t notice. And these are one of those things I think ought to be paid attention to.

JAM (12:50.479)
That’s promising on many levels. So I’m excited to talk about this book as we segment, as we sort of transition into this segment on marketing for sustainable businesses, marketing for what matters. I really enjoyed your book. It’s a, so it’s a, it’s a, you know, basically you’re writing an antithesis for Milton Friedman’s doctrine, right? That businesses only exist.

John Davis (12:52.302)
Yeah.

JAM (13:19.503)
solely exist for to make profit and make money for stakeholders. I’m sorry, shareholders only. Totally butchered that, but it’s, I think that that’s for throughout the eighties and nineties and maybe into the two thousands, the Friedman doctrine really ran how CEOs lead companies is I, my only job is to make as much profit as possible at any expense needed for my shareholders.

and you offer a roadmap, a framework for transitioning to from that sort of shareholder only doctrine to a broader stakeholder centric philosophy. So I’d love to hear some of your framework for that transition for any business leaders or entrepreneurs who are listening to this podcast.

John Davis (14:15.022)
It’s an interesting doctrine, right? You can imagine why it’s seductive and attractive to businesses. It’s in many ways, it’s reductive, right? It makes the efforts that you have to undertake as a business leader fairly transparent about the areas of focus and those areas of focus are fairly narrowly defined. And it sort of removes you from the challenging stuff like dealing with people and so on.

JAM (14:20.815)
really clear.

Yeah.

John Davis (14:41.518)
With that said, you’re right. The thing about that is it has distorted the benefits of the capitalistic model in a way that benefits in many ways what some people call crony capitalism in a way that allows only a very few to celebrate the successes and enjoy the successes to the detriment of others. I think that’s a challenge that we face. And you’re right, in the book, I talk a lot about what that ought to become.

And I will say that back in, I think it was 2010 or 2011, Harvard’s Michael Porter, you know, who wrote competitive strategy and competitive advantage back in the 1980s, came up with the concept, or at least he articulated the concept of shared value, which is this notion that the companies can create economic value by addressing social problems that affect their business in many ways. So in radical business, I took this a step further and I set aside in effect the idea of the profit motive.

and said profit is still important, but it’s not the driver, it’s not the engine. I wanted to replace it with something called the societal value motive, which is a redefinition of those spoils of success that a company enjoys have to be redistributed in a way that allows it to invest in those broader aspects of stakeholder needs out there, above and beyond shareholder wealth gain, above and beyond even narrow customer definitions and into the role it plays in impacting

those communities it serves that I talked about earlier, the environment, and because of its activities with suppliers and so on. In other words, it really broadened the understanding that the company must pay attention to these things now. It’s a more complex model for leaders, for sure. And it’s an absolutely necessary model because we now know a lot more about the conditions in which we have placed the planet intentionally or unintentionally, and therefore we now have an obligation.

to try to find ways to correct that. And part of it requires a redefinition of what a success or prosperity model for businesses is. And that’s why I call it the societal value motive. And so that to me is one of the critical factors in driving this. And as you know, there’s this idea of the triple bottom line, which is people, profit, and planets. And I think those three P’s are important. But I also think there’s a fourth P in there called purpose, which is why we’re here in the first place. And those four things kind of come together.

John Davis (17:04.27)
to help say, okay, this is the framework that ought to animate how we look at the societal value motive as the driver and definition of wellbeing going forward. So that to me was critical. Now, I didn’t make this up. It was something that came about as a result of the work that we were able to do in over 40 countries and that it showed from their efforts the kinds of things they’re paying attention to, the most successful organizations.

that I found to be really compelling examples of why this is something we need to start doing writ large around the world.

JAM (17:41.967)
Yeah. So in the book, there’s a chapter called Cultivating Stakeholders. And it starts out with this quote. I’m going to read it here from Steve Leonard, one of the CEO of Singularity University. By the way, you just have such a wonderful breadth of different voices coming into the book through case study and anecdotes and quotes and really opened my eyes to.

the fact that this is a movement. This is a movement that’s bigger than what it seems when I go on LinkedIn and see the despair, right? Like that there are champions for this new way of caring. This is societal value. Caring about the societal value. And the quote goes like this. Companies have historically felt safest on the solid ground of being neutral when it comes to sensitive issues involving the planet and people, people and planet. Leaders would prefer to…

not risk alienating potentially large numbers of customers, which just sounds like, yeah, a company and corporation playing it safe because of tradition. And that’s the way it’s always been and not wanting to stick their necks out. But you also highlight this new breed of, you know, brave leaders who are vocally championing caring for the stakeholder.

people like Larry Fink and Mark Benioff and Ryan Gellert from Patagonia, I believe. And I would love to know what leadership traits do you see as the consistent leadership trait framework for across all of these corporations who are leading that charge?

John Davis (19:29.39)
It’s a rather expansive framework and Steve Leonard I used as an example for a number of different reasons. A bit of backstory on Steve. I got to know Steve when we first moved to Singapore back in 2004. At the time he was heading up EMC for Asia and so he had a very large multi -billion dollar business for which he was responsible and just a fascinating person.

first and foremost, running a very complex global business. And over time, the types of work he did started to transform and transition. He became the founding CEO of an organization in Singapore called SG Innovate, which was an organization that is designed to bring in deep tech startups and founding innovations into both Singapore and Southeast Asia. He did an incredible job there.

And then more recently, as you mentioned, he became the CEO of Singularity University, although he’s no longer there. But at the time I interviewed him, he was. So I’ve known him for some time. I’ve had a chance to observe his own leadership because that dovetails into your question about the qualities. And one of the things that stood out to me about Steve over that time is he as an individual has a number of characteristics that I’m going to describe when I look at the rest of the traits in here too. But one of it is,

One of them is that he’s just a very approachable, honest and transparent person. We hear a lot about those things, but that does make a difference. But it goes beyond what he did in leading a complex organization like EMC or that startup SG Innovator, then Singularity University, because it gets down to the core of the other things he cares about. He’s been deeply involved in Cambodia and building wells for communities lacking water access. He’s been doing that for 25 years. And those are things that he just

deeply, passionately cares about. So he not only has the business sense to know what it means to have a company aligned with the right kinds of opportunities and values out there, but he also lives it himself. Because that’s a bit of backstory on Steve and one of the reasons why I reached out to him for the book as well, because he knows a lot of the key players and has a lens on what makes them successful. And so it was interesting to find out more about

John Davis (21:50.702)
that viewpoint. And one of the things he talked about in making this world more sustainable to getting leaders who are more informed about this and making the actual change was you needed what he called forcing functions. And forcing functions in effect are large scale events that are remarkably disproportionately persuasive. And that includes individuals. And so in the book, you may know I talked about Mark Benioff as well and several others because they’re outsized characters in this world, not characters in a negative sense, but they’re just well -known

personalities whose voice is persuasive. And Mark Benioff in particular at salesforce .com has been well known for being a very big advocate for responsible business practices, sustainability, DEI, and so forth. And so all of them combined kind of represent this idea of this forcing function that Steve Leonard talks about. And I found that to be particularly compelling. In other words, we can’t just have grassroots level motivation and momentum. That’s important.

It’s just not enough. We also still need those those looked at leaders who continue to say these are these things are important to us as well partly because They are influential to their their competitors. They’re influential to capital markets influential to others in business Now the attributes they shared are really interesting There is a baseline that I found compelling which was really cool number one

They were all, they all had, they all displayed a level of courage. Secondly, they had a level of personal integrity that was recognized across the organization and or even competitors. They were honest brokers. So that’s what they did. They were honest people and they were decent. So their courage, high integrity, honesty and decency. Now that’s not a revelation. What is interesting about that is if you didn’t have those qualities, it doesn’t really matter what other behaviors you displayed because at the end of the day, you’re obviously not.

being a leader that others can look to, a role model. So assuming that that bare minimum of courage, integrity, honesty, and decency is there, then you have to look at, well, what are the behaviors that show up? And this is what was interesting to me in our conversation to interviews with leaders. They display, and I call it the five ambassadors, and the ambassadors are each behaviors. It’s not a title, it’s the way they showed up. They were curiosity ambassadors, which meant that they were…

John Davis (24:11.086)
detecting, constantly looking out for weak and strong signals. They had their head above the weeds. They were looking over the horizon. They paid attention to a wide range of information sources. So they were strong curiosity ambassadors. They’re strong relationship ambassadors. In other words, relationships actually do have meaning and meaningfulness to them and to others. It’s not about the transaction.

They really did want to understand others in order to further, obviously, the aims and ambitions for their organization, but in a way that propelled both organizations or a group of organizations together collectively in the right direction. So, curiosity ambassador, relationship ambassador, they had terrific imaginations, or what I call the imagination ambassador, and that is they encouraged others to try novel approaches and create, in effect, a safe environment for people to experiment.

That’s easier said than done. We often look at imagination as that creative exercise done by a group of people in the corner of the building that we hire during good times and we fire during bad times. But it’s not about a specialty skill set such as architecture, creative design, or artistry or whatever. It is about creating an environment in which people feel free to be able to explore and experiment without having in effect their reputations impugned because something might have not worked out.

So they’re curiosity ambassadors, they’re relationship ambassadors, and they’re imagination ambassadors. Then the fourth of the five behaviors is they’re experience ambassadors. They are exemplars of fallibility, which means that they share failures as well as successes, and they do that to increase the range of lessons for others to learn from. And that’s really important. Now, experience ambassador implies that they’ve been doing this for decades. In some cases, that’s true.

But in other cases, like in the world of design thinking where you do rapid prototyping, test and learn, trial and error, where you’re really going through massive rapid cycles of over 30, 60, 90 days of new products and experiments, you’re learning very quickly and you’re gaining a lot of successive experiments and experiences over a short period of time. That also is important. And you’ll learn from those experiences and those failures. And the final piece is that they’re really good brand ambassadors.

John Davis (26:21.006)
which is they’re able to both convey verbally and visually what they stand for. And they work hard at this. Not all of them take to it naturally. They spend time thinking about how they’re going to get in front of an audience, how they’re going to convey a point of view. And that’s a critical part of what they do. So those five behaviors kept coming up time and time again as examples of what these really high integrity, transparent leaders do.

So you ask a simple question, the boy will quibble off on an answer.

JAM (26:51.503)
I love that. Yeah. Hey, love. No, I love this. I, you know, for someone who’s strictly coming to this podcast for like marketing strategy and tactics, this may seem like, why are we talking, you know, why are we talking so much about leadership here? I’m not the CEO of this company. I’m not on the board. but I think, I think in any role, you, you are a leader. and that’s.

And sort of the flattened hierarchy of our business here at Peaceful Media is just everyone is an autonomous leader and thinker and experimenter and vocal agent for the brand. And I know that is tough to scale, but still, I think when we think about the people who got up on the panels at the Summit for Sustainable Organizations at U of O, you think about those hard conversations that the CSO.

Noel Kinder for Nike had to have with the product director, you know, chief of product who’s saying, yeah, priority number 1003 buddy, you know, get in line when it comes to all your sustainability stuff. Like, we’re just all, we’re all gonna be thrusted at some point in our career to choices of whether or not we wanna stick to our integrity, to what we know is right, to our purpose.

or if we’re going to take the easier route and sort of lay down and sort of do the things that we know is just harmful for our society. So that’s the spirit of some of these leadership -based questions, John.

John Davis (28:25.966)
It is, and Jason, if I could build off of that for a moment too, most of us, a good chunk of us in this world, certainly in the US, were raised at some point with family or relatives that supplied some level of…

of framework about, you know, what does it take to be a good person in society? You know, who do you look up to? And maybe it’s an athlete or maybe it’s a business leader, maybe it’s a whatever it might be. But at an early age, we kind of knew that there were certain qualities that stood out in people. And and those became in many ways the arbiters of our definition of what success would mean. And it was really it’s really kind of hard to imagine a world in which those those successful role models were, you know,

let’s be really extreme, murderers or something like that. In other words, they’re people who are trying to do their best in society and in effect they’re leading by example. They are role models. And to me what is refreshing is that there are tremendous numbers of really good role models in organizations. And to your point, even with what you’re doing with your company, as well as recognizing that leadership is not a title, it’s not just a senior level role in an organization. You could be leading a project, you could be leading a small team.

you can be leading at the middle of the organization. Leadership is much more a way you show up and a way you behave. And so you will present yourself every time you open your mouth, step out into the world.

JAM (29:51.823)
Yeah. Yeah. So for the patient marketers who have made it this far in the episode, I would love to ask some questions because you include some chapters in the book about, you know, sort of, I’ll describe it as a snake shedding its skin and the old way of marketing just doesn’t work. I think you have a couple of acronyms that I’d love for you to define. STP is the old skin and CAM, CAM is the new skin that’s emerging as a, as a

As a more effective way for brands to market and communicate today, could you unpack those acronyms and explain why one is being left in the dust?

John Davis (30:32.014)
Yeah, and I might, you know, I want to be careful to say it’s not being totally left in the dust, although I definitely have that belief personally, and it’s partly born from experience. So STP to catch people up who may not be familiar with it stands for segmentation, targeting and positioning. It is a classic framework that’s been around for decades. It’s taught in business schools everywhere. Marketers all know about it. And it’s a method for understanding how to identify the right kinds of.

customers to go after, and then how to, in effect, communicate and reach them. So segmentation can take demographic forms, psychographic forms, behavioral forms. It can look at geography. It tends to look at sort of data -specific categories, so it’s large groupings of people sharing somewhat similar characteristics. And then you narrow the target within that, and then ultimately define a communication strategy to reach that target.

It’s useful, it’s just not enough. And that’s where, to your point, and what I talk about in the book, CAM comes in. CAM is an acronym, C -A for cause, advocacy, and meaning. And it is to build on STP and say, look, STP is insufficient for what we need to do today. We’ve gotten smarter about the needs of the world. We’ve gotten more aware of the fact that our customers and our stakeholders are much more aware of conditions around them. They don’t just take things at face value anymore.

They need convincing. They need to see what you’re doing as a representative member of society, either as a business or as an individual, to in effect believe in you and vote for you through their purchases. And so to understand what motivates those behaviors, you have to dig deeper. And so that’s where CAM comes in. And so CAM stands for Cause Advocacy and Meaning. So what is cause? Cause is in effect the customer or even substitute the word stakeholder.

just the stakeholders personal aim, their belief, their need for which they are seeking validation and affinity. You and I have a cause. We believe in the importance of the world becoming healthier, society becoming less environmentally polluted, for social injustice to disappear, whatever it might be. Those are important causes. So CAM is, the seeing CAM is a really important thing to understand in identifying your stakeholders interests. Then advocacy.

John Davis (32:54.094)
is how to translate that interest into making them champions for the greater value that your company or your organization offers society, well above and beyond the products and services that you create and you sell. And then you share this enthusiasm with others. And we know in some of the stronger brands that have been around the world, there are really diehard enthusiasts who really believe in the brand and they live and breathe the brand. It stands for their values. It symbolically represents…

their own self -image to others. And then in fact, that’s what advocacy really is, is how do you tap into that in a way that then allows your efforts as a company trying to transform into a force for good? How do you get people to help sell that idea to others because they genuinely see it in action themselves? And then the third piece, the of CAM is meaning, and that is how do you then translate that into ongoing meaning for those stakeholders or those customers? In other words,

They understand that you understand their cause. You’re getting them advocate for that. But you’ve got to stay connected to them. One time does not make it lifetime. And so you have to make a regular sort of case in front of them as to why what you do as an organization, as a company, the products and services you sell continue to resonate and have impact above and beyond just solving a narrow problem such as a pen that helps you write.

But is it produced in a way that it’s built off of materials that are recyclable and whatever it might be? And those things all have a level of depth that we can’t necessarily satisfy through classic STP. So now how do you do that? You do that through ethnographic studies, observational studies, you interview customers. I tend to think that focus groups aren’t terribly useful in that regard.

JAM (34:15.695)
Right.

John Davis (34:43.854)
Because more people do not spend time in focus groups trying to think about what the focus group is trying to solve. And it kind of destroys the dynamic. But when you go out and observe people in stores or in sports events or other environments, and you get into a sense of what you and I do on a day -to -day basis, you begin to get an informed point of view much more so than just the characteristics revealed through a demographic survey. they’re 25 to 34. They make X amount of dollars per year.

they’re this ethnic group and so on, that doesn’t really tell you much about the causes and motivations for what they do. That’s where CAM really is useful.

JAM (35:19.759)
Yeah, what qualitative research would you do? I mean, I’m sort of jumping a question here over to your experience at Nike. It seems like a perfect segue that you did a lot of research. I understand to understand why ACG was falling flat, All Conditions Gear, which by the way, as an Oregon native ACG was my homeboy. I love that brand. And I was sad when it went away for a while, but you were, you were,

A big part of that as a product marketing director, I believe. You thought a lot about like, where have we gone wrong with our consumer? And I’m really curious, what kind of qualitative research and work did you do to better align the product and the way you position the product and message the product, the story told about the product to compel consumers to come back to the brand.

John Davis (36:15.822)
So I need to share a bit of backstory on this one too, because it’s useful, because I did not start ACG, nor am I responsible for ACG turning around. I was part of a really good group. And I really mean this, because I came into it as an outsider. I was a track and field athlete, but I was not a classic outdoor athlete. And they had had predecessors in the role who had different kinds of capabilities, but had not necessarily had people who had outdoor experience in the marketing realm.

JAM (36:17.455)
Yeah, absolutely.

John Davis (36:43.694)
But the developers and designers on those teams did. They lived and breathed the outdoor world. They were active mountain bikers, road cyclists, kayakers, mountain climbers, Smith Rock, you name it. They were really deeply involved in this space. It was, yeah, they really switched on team. And when I first joined, they were understandably skeptical of me joining the team. And partly because I had come out of business. Yeah.

JAM (36:58.767)
really interesting.

JAM (37:08.911)
Dirty marketers.

John Davis (37:12.43)
And I had come out of business school and I had all these great analytical tools that I learned in business school, multidimensional scaling and conjoint analysis and deep data and analytics, which I did and spent a lot of time on. And it’s a little bit like I was mentioning earlier with STP and segmentation, targeting positioning. I could comb through the data and I can understand and create sort of a storyline that said, here’s what the evidence is. And that’s important.

But it wasn’t what you call necessarily relational, right? People couldn’t look at that and go, okay, I get it. It’s like looking at a table of random numbers and trying to create meaning out of it. And what I learned from so many of my colleagues at Nike was the real art of translating information into meaningful, impactful stories that would actually change people’s lives. And I learned that from the team there too. They got me deeply immersed in…

in understanding what it meant to be an outdoor athlete. And they did that by making me go into outdoor events. I mean, my first mountain bike, they took me on a trail of Mount Hood and we descended all the way down to Hood River. I’d never done it before and I was determined to do it. And fortunately I made it through, even though these folks were fantastic and I don’t know how I survived the ride, but I did. And I think that helped, but that wasn’t alone. Then we went to events like, in those days they called them fat tire events, but they’re mountain bike events.

and we watched mountain bike races. And so we got a sense of what the outdoor athletes were doing there. We went to kayak events. We went to skiing events in the winter time, Crested Butte, down to Lake Tahoe. We spent time in Mount Hood, of course. And all of those different kinds of events got us deeply into the world of the outdoor athlete, which gets to the core of your question. The qualitative research we did was so observational and it couldn’t just come down to a survey or an analytical tool that said,

The evidence shows that over the last five years, we’ve had people between the ages of 24 and 40 be our primary consumer, and they spent this amount of dollars. That didn’t matter. And the reason why it didn’t matter is because we were showing that as a business, it really wasn’t a terribly successful business. There were some indications that we’re starting to move in the right direction. But what really happened was…

John Davis (39:22.894)
The group said, look, there’s a tremendous shift in society towards outdoor sports, towards brown leather, away from court sports. And we need to be in the realm of products that actually are credible with those outdoor consumers. So we did user groups where we went up to Timberline Lodge and we met with a whole range of enthusiasts who in round table sessions said, here’s what’s wrong with your product in the past. Here’s what you’re missing.

And they identified a whole range of different things, including the quality of materials that were used for a particular type of athletic pursuit. It just wasn’t suitable for what they needed in rock climbing, for example, or road cycling, or in river rafting, or trail running. So they had completely different specifications of what they wanted in product. They also had different lifestyles, the way they lived their lives. And we started to get deeper and deeper in understanding that. And this took place over several months.

They also revealed to us that in retrospect, it wasn’t a surprise, but at the time it kind of was. We were distributed in the wrong places for the ACG products. A lot of the products were distributed in classic sporting goods outlets, but the real buyers were places like REI or Eastern Mountain Sports in those days or other very vertical outdoor locations. And they weren’t taking our products and displaying them on the shelves because they didn’t see our products as authentic to the outdoor industry.

So there’s a whole group of people we spent time trying to win back the favor of those retailers by focusing on producing brand new products that really captured the imagination of that market because it actually spoke to their specific needs. And you may recall in that era, there was, this is actually before I got there, but there was a sandal called the Air to Shoot Sandal, Tinker Hatfield had designed. There was the Air Moab, which was a great outdoor running shoe that started to get the ground.

softened for our entry and growth of ACG. And then once that door was opened, the rest of it was, now we just need to understand more specifically what these outdoor athletes are doing, what their lifestyles are like. And by the way, that also then changed how we communicated to the marketplace, you know, versus sort of the classic slick corporate approach that we did with so many other product lines at Nike. This was much more documentary style. This was, this was,

John Davis (41:43.854)
What was the movie back in the mid 1990s? It was the Blair Witch Project. Remember that?

JAM (41:48.175)
Yeah, it’s a little high -end cameras running around, bad sound, bad lighting.

John Davis (41:53.262)
that’s exactly that sort of granular, rough approach was taken with some of the with the marketing activities for ACG. And that started to really capture the imagination. And it really helped transform the business. And so so much of that was the that really, to me, was the early precedent for camp CAM cause advocacy, meaning really understanding the cause of outdoor athletes what they’re interested in.

JAM (41:57.967)
Mm -hmm.

John Davis (42:19.822)
If you want them to buy your products and services, you need them to become advocates, but then become advocates that had to totally understand that the product was relevant for the specific needs and to create ongoing meaning that had to be relevant to their lifestyles, right? So all of that really kind of coalesced, although at the time I didn’t frame it as CAM. It was only through subsequent work that I did across Asia and Belize that that really started to gel as a framework for understanding customers and stakeholders more broadly.

JAM (42:48.751)
Yeah, you remember some of those like round tables where you’re thinking about what that maybe this is to this far outside your department, but just thinking about headlines and slogans and you know, frames essentially for this product line that would do a better job of connecting to the C .A M You remember any of those kind of conversations?

John Davis (43:08.814)
Well, yeah, so it was very interesting too, because at the same time, I’m going to get to your point, but at the same time this was happening, there was also a couple of other big things happening inside the company. There was a there was a groundswell of support to reinvigorate at that time the women’s business by having more authentic conversations with with female fitness aficionados and athletes. That was not sort of the classic Nike top down male approach.

And so that was happening at the same time. There was also a big movement towards cross -training, BowJax and Bono, that kind of stuff. And each of those were having very unique conversations with the marketplace. And ACG just kind of built on that in the way that it started to tell more authentic stories through this type of pictorial and language -based approach that was far less slick and corporate and far more…

to the core of what that particular audience was like. And it didn’t really even care if it alienated others. It was much more around the authenticity of the product. Can I mention a couple of other things in there, Jason?

JAM (44:15.119)
Absolutely. Yeah, this is great. There’s like 8000 questions that are going through my head now that are not in the in the pre interview question. Good.

John Davis (44:18.222)
You still =

John Davis (44:22.734)
Sorry, sorry, it froze on me there. Are you still there?

JAM (44:27.055)
yes, sorry. I’m back and can you hear me? Alright, yes, please continue.

John Davis (44:30.51)
Yes, yes.

Well, a couple of things were occurring at the same time, which was also contextually important to understand, which I think helped as well. So not only did we do the user groups, we spent time in markets, we went out and visited at various outdoor events, but we also spent time at industry trade shows, specifically celebrating the lifestyle of outdoor. You may recall in that era, Nike town stores had just started. So.

Chicago had opened it, Portland was opening its Nike Town store, and in those days they were a laboratory for retail innovation and a way to merchandise different types of products. In the case of ACG, I recall that the floor at the Nike Town store had a fake river that went through it and there were aquariums. In other words, you felt like you were in this outdoor environment. So that helped to really convey to people the magic of it.

But you know, the thing that was really critical to me, and this was an absolute personal lesson to me, was what I learned from colleagues there, who I still consider to this day, the very best in the world at being just world leading experts in understanding how to get something across, how to get a message across. People that nobody would know externally really well, but Tom Phillips and Skip Lee and Mike Wilske and Ron Hill and Chris Van Dyke.

Were all leaders in that era who were really gifted at taking a complex idea like what is the specific gravity requirements of the midsole compound and the stresses you have to put it under in order to ensure minimal compression that it lasts over a period of time. Translate that into here’s why it’s important to your mountain bike athlete who’s climbing Crusted Butte on a 40 mile trail.

John Davis (46:17.198)
You know, they were able to tell those stories in a language that inspired designers and developers. And that to me was a part of the magic of this, is being able to understand how to finally explain things that was less businessy and much more, as we call it today, storytelling.

JAM (46:35.855)
Yeah, internal, internal storytelling and external storytelling coming together there. I’m kind of curious for we work with a lot of small businesses who don’t have Nike budgets to go do user group research and, you know, huddle up in Timberline for multiple months to unpack, you know, why they don’t like the product. And so if you’re kind of if you’re going to distill like one or two questions or if there are if they are going to on a small budget,

John Davis (46:41.358)
Absolutely.

JAM (47:04.399)
do some of that qualitative research to help tap into that CAM, what would you recommend really focusing on? So yeah, limited time and limited budget. You’re just doing your best to better understand where your consumers at.

John Davis (47:20.366)
It is again a lesson I learned at Nike and it carried it forth and it’s been true every time. And that is first off, and this is going to sound obvious, but that is go to where your key customers are, number one. So whatever that means, if you’re a retail outlet, what is it they’re doing aside from shopping in your stores or online at your online store? What is it they’re doing? Try to understand a bit more about their lives. And that’s the observational ethnographic piece because that’s important. Now,

there’s a line you can’t cross, which is that sort of creepy line of stalking. I’m not advocating that. What I’m really just saying is trying to do your best to peel away the layers of the…

JAM (47:55.983)
seems like a totally reasonable notion that you can just go and look at what people are looking at on other browsers.

John Davis (48:05.23)
Yeah, yeah, now that’s I agree, I have to be careful what I advocate for here. But it comes back to I think the first phase in design thinking, which is understanding empathy, how to empathize with what’s going on in the world. We often in companies, small or large jump to a conclusion, the solution, we think this is needed, without having understood why we think that’s needed. Now, sometimes that is informed by experience and observations already. But other times, it’s just a jump to conclusions, absent evidence.

And when that occurs, that’s oftentimes why products will fail because we think if we build it, they will come, right? And that’s just not the case. I mean, it’s very rarely the case. And so what happens instead is to be successful, even in a small organization, is at least go to where those customers are. Try to understand a bit more about their lives and lifestyles. Ask a few, some questions. You’re not looking for an N of a thousand in order to have statistically perfect data. You are trying to look for evidence of momentum and insights.

from a handful of conversations to at least drive you in a direction that helps you start to experiment. The other piece of that too then is experiment. So take those insights and rather than trying to build over the course of a year or two a perfect product, recruit prototypes, take them back to those same people. What do you think about this? And continue to iterate from there. Those kinds of things still aren’t cost free, but they’re far more cost effective than the old style Nike approach.

I shouldn’t say old style, but the large company approach like Nike does where they can afford to invest in large user group, go off to conferences, go off to these events. You can do it in a much smaller scale way and gain a lot of valuable insight that you can then use to build a business. And the other piece to this too, and then Jason, you know this better than anybody. The ability to now market is much easier than it has ever been. You don’t have to depend on the old classic.

marketing vehicles in order to build traction with an audience. There are so many digital tools available. There are ways to reach out to people that are fairly affordable that allow a company that’s very small to succeed.

JAM (50:15.311)
Yeah, a quick example of that is every business can host and produce their own reality show at this point, making the main character of the reality show their consumers and customers and clients. We had a high -end dating coach who was offering a whole life transformation program to find the person you love. And I just remember saying, gosh, you have a camera in your pocket.

YouTube is readily available. Let’s take one of these clients and do a 90 day reality show where we check in on a daily basis on how that life transformation is looking and basically prototype with a user and they’re going to document and share their stories and you’re going to see this transformation unfold over 90 days. And it was just a blockbuster campaign because people are like, nobody’s pushing a message on me.

I am curious. I’m curious about this human being who is going through a transformation right before my eyes. I’m just witnessing the product in motion and seeing the effect of it. Of course I want that if I can afford it. So we all have that that possibility today to tell our customers heroic journeys by you know in the lens of our products and services.

John Davis (51:27.182)
Absolutely.

John Davis (51:36.238)
Well, that’s right. And the other piece of that too, Jason, this really inspires a couple other things to think about too. Look, the world today is not controlled by companies and marketers or product people. The world today is controlled by you and me, the crowd, because we’ve inverted the typical approach to how any company gets to market. And this has been taking place for 20 years, as you know, but it’s as powerful today as it’s ever been. The idea that a company can sort of

JAM (51:57.519)
I really agree.

John Davis (52:06.318)
foist its way into the market and bombarded with messages and eventually overwhelm all of us with the elegance of its advertising, they’re just gone. And so understanding as a small company that your role is to basically understand the best possible customers you have and speak to them in that way has far more resonance and meaning with them because they’ll spread the word for you. The crowd will take over and that will be…

That will be the litmus test for whether you succeed or not. Or if you make some blunderous decisions, you’ll learn that quickly too. But that’s the nature of the world today. You really can’t control the conversation. All you can do is sort of influence things.

JAM (52:47.695)
Yeah, I’d say the most powerful marketing tool we have today is something you just spoke to earlier, which is integrity. There’s just way too much information about your company and how they’re treating consumers, how they’re treating the planet, how they’re treating employees for that matter. To think that you’re going to skirt by and put out a headline on a billboard and people are going to believe it. We have all the research tools now and as soon as that integrity is broken,

You’ve lost your capability of persuading and compelling people to believe what you want them to believe.

John Davis (53:23.79)
Yeah, and once that’s, you’re right, once that’s punctured, you’ll be jumped on. You’ll be jumped on in a very massive way in some cases where you can really, you know, it takes decades to build a brand and It takes a few minutes to think it. And that’s because of the power of what you’re describing there.

JAM (53:42.223)
Yeah. Well, like I can tell this segment probably needs another episode because I think companies are navigating a lot of challenges here, right? Like you can be Apple, a brilliant marketing brand, right? And put out a new commercial with all the creative juices being squeezed down in this pulverizing machine. You know, you can…

take what you will from that pulverizing the machine, what that symbolizes and out comes an iPad and just get lambasted and quickly need to issue an apology statement and a whole PR team of sort of recourses. So yeah, I’m kind of curious just on the last on the marketing thing. I would love to know what do you see as the biggest challenges that brands and particularly brands who are trying to be a force for good.

are facing today and how do you recommend getting around those challenges?

John Davis (54:47.31)
Wow, yeah, so it comes back to the core of what you were just describing earlier, what you and I were both talking about, and that is that level of authenticity and integrity is critical. The reason why it’s a challenge is partly a byproduct of that 20th century model that said profit is most important, and therefore whatever it takes to achieve profit kind of gets in the way of sensible, responsible decision making. I shouldn’t say it gets in the way. It is just, it offers a tempting vehicle to get to the profit first and explaining.

or apologizing later for mistakes you made. So for companies today to really kind of make this work, they have to step into that purpose of why we’re here in the first place and not deviate from that. That purpose is critical because once you are discovered to have, let’s say in the case of sustainability, greenwashed, whatever definition is, whatever violation you’ve incurred as a company, really, really difficult to overcome that.

Think about what happened with Audi and Volkswagen a few years ago with the diesel engine controversy. It cost them billions of dollars. The executive team was basically wiped out and the reputation of the company was sunk for many, many years. It was really hard to kind of get around that. And, you know, to what purpose? You have to wonder what line of decision logic led them to say, well, this is a good idea. Let’s flout the rules.

and do this to see if we can get away with it. You know, you’re talking about a huge organization with a massive customer following that you basically said, I guess we don’t care that much about it. Let’s just see if we can extract more profit. So to me, that’s sort of the extreme end of why you have to focus on integrity and honesty and transparency in these things. The other thing is that transparent piece is also important to say what you’re not doing well.

It’s not to focus on here’s why we’re a failure and we’re screwing up all the time. That’s not the point But it is to say look in the world of sustainability as companies are trying to make a transformation It’s really important to say we recognize this is something that we need to improve And here are the things we’re going to do over the next year two years six months, whatever it is in order to improve that here’s why we think it’s valuable for for you as stakeholders and why it’s valuable for us as a company and continue to chip away at that and

John Davis (57:06.382)
give regular updates to that whenever, if it’s a publicly traded company, then make sure you speak to those changes and updates in there so that people are aware of it. We will forgive a lot if we are aware of at least the effort underway. We will really have a hard time forgiving if we learn about it as a surprise that failed and then we wonder, well, what the heck were they thinking? We weren’t even involved in the conversation in the first place. So that’s really important.

I think you wanted a bit off of your question there but I…

JAM (57:35.119)
Yeah.

JAM (57:38.799)
Yeah, no, I think we could have a whole episode about the green washing and green hushing, you know, sort of sticking out, keeping the turtle’s head shrinks back inside the shell and sort of refuses to take any risks or just state like, here’s what we’re trying to do, because it’s just too risky from a PR standpoint. And I,

John Davis (57:44.462)
Yeah.

John Davis (58:00.526)
That’s right.

JAM (58:02.799)
I think that’d be a really, really lovely follow up conversation, John. Cause I think there’s a lot of brands who are suffering from that sort of, sort of, well, the, the safest choice is to be silent on this. And I, I really do think that we need more of those, those loud, you know, those loud soapbox CEOs and leaders to communicate this, this matters y ‘all because at the end of the day, I think when, when other companies see that it’s a competitive advantage.

to align with consumers’ cause and, you know, meaning, then they’re going to jump on board because they’re going to start to see revenues being usurped by companies that give a damn. So, and by the way, you know, if you’re, you’ve made it this far in the episode, I do recommend grabbing a copy of this book off of Amazon. There’s a lot of really great data to support this that overcame some of my cynicism.

John Davis (58:46.67)
Absolutely. Absolutely.

JAM (59:02.895)
about whether or not there are enough companies making, you know, trying to be a force for good to actually make an impact, a so needed impact right now with where the climate’s at and where the planet’s at right now. But so, John, to circle back real quick to your program there at University of Oregon, you have such a great purview of where higher education is and where…

today’s emerging leaders are, and to your earlier point, you’re right, the team, the students, the MBA students there were the leaders. They made this event happen. I kind of saw you as the wizard of Oz, like you were the leader of leaders, but maybe that’s inaccurate. It was completely their brainchild. Either way, either way, I was deeply impressed.

by each and every one of your students. I want all of them to be interns at Peaceful Media if we can make it work. But yeah, I’d just be kind of curious, what do you see as a top four MBA program for sustainable organizations? Where do you kind of see the landscape of higher ed and their role in shaping business?

John Davis (01:00:17.294)
wow, I love this. Well, obviously it’s a pivotal role, that’s the simple answer. But the more important answer is what I think higher ed can do to get students excited and informed about this so that when they graduate, whether undergraduate or MBA program or otherwise, so that they can hit the ground running and have real impact in the company. Now, to answer it on the higher ed side, I need to kind of give you some backdrop here for a moment.

JAM (01:00:20.015)
Be gone.

John Davis (01:00:43.118)
One of the things that we do do here is we take our MBA students on what we call experiential learning trips. So we’ve been to London, we’ve been to Paris, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and we visit with companies and leaders both in the startup space, but also government agencies. We visit stock exchanges, we visit Fortune 100 companies to understand about the sustainability practices. And those are more than just field trips. They are actually deeply immersive conversations with leadership.

at those organizations to understand what it is that they’re doing. And the reason why we do it is probably self -evident, but that is to give students is inspiring a sense of what is possible out there as possible and what are some of the new things that they didn’t even know were happening, are happening. What’s happening with incubators. We visited incubators in New York and down in the Bay area. And what is it that the companies are doing to try to address these things. And that’s huge because that’s part of the educational mission.

That’s why I use that as backdrop. Now, whether our institution does it or others do variations on that, that is absolutely critical. We can’t learn it all sitting in the classroom. The classroom provides 10 % of that. It’s the experiential piece. It’s 70 % of all learning that’s really critical. And that’s where this really comes in. The other piece to this is, and we recognize this, we’re not alone. Our colleagues at the University of Washington, Oregon State here in Oregon,

Southern Oregon University down in the Bay Area, you name it, and East Coast, so on, or New York, NYU in particular, we try to create a community of understanding and sustainability. In other words, we’re not competitors trying to compete for students. I mean, I guess in the classic definition, we hope our students come here, but I really just want students who are informed, who can help make change. And so we talk a lot about…

how to create this understanding and community of shared experiences where the MBA students from different schools are working together, not because they went to XYZ institution and therefore they have bragging rights over others, but because they have a shared interest in how to make business a force for good. So that to me is where higher education can get better and needs to unpack, I think, this opportunity ahead of us to get institutions to be partners with each other.

John Davis (01:03:01.454)
in the context of sustainability and then to also integrate sustainability deeply into the curriculum, which is something we have done here. So every MBA a student, even if they’re not specializing in sustainability, has to take the core course in sustainability to be informed of for a very simple reason. These students are gonna hit the marketplace, they’re gonna go into companies, whatever level, junior, senior level, and they’re going to need to have an informed understanding of how to contribute to decisions that are going to impact.

their investments in sustainability. So the more they know about that, the less it creates risk for that company and it creates an opportunity for the companies to be more successful and prosperous over the long term. So that’s why we embedded in our curriculum and it’s not just singular courses, it’s also across different courses so that students gain really penetrating understanding.

JAM (01:03:52.783)
Like I said, I was deeply impressed by each and every one of those students and future leaders and current leaders. It made me really, really hopeful driving away from the University of Oregon, honestly, John. So thank you for what you’re doing there. I want to plant some trees with you, because I know I got to get you out of here for probably to teach a class there on campus. And before I do, though, is there anything else that you’d love our listeners to know about you, something that you’d like to plug?

John Davis (01:04:14.062)
you

John Davis (01:04:23.79)
There’s a few things I think would be helpful if that’s okay. If people want to stay informed, obviously I love it if people read my book, but there’s some other good ones. There’s Net Positive by Paul Polman and Andrew Winston, fantastic book. Came out a couple of years ago as well. There is Not the End of the World. It’s the name of the book by Hannah Ritchie. And she works for Our World and Data. And it’s a fantastic data rich book about the positive progress we’ve made and also the things we need to be aware of as the world tries to.

JAM (01:04:27.151)
Yeah, of course.

John Davis (01:04:52.238)
deal with sustainability related changes. And then a third book by Vaclav Smil. Bill Gates looks to him a lot, but is the world is How the World Really Works. Both all three of those Net Positive, Not the End of the World and How the World Really Works are really powerful books. And then Jason, I have to point to just several different people I think are critical in this field. One is Janice Lao. She is the senior vice president sustainability at a company called Helen of Troy. I actually profile her in the book.

Helen of Troy owns Hydroflask among other things, but she’s been involved in sustainability for a very long time. It’s considered one of the top 40 sustainability leaders in the world. Kate Gordon, who you met at the conference, she’s now CEO of California Forward, just took over, but she was previously with Jennifer Granholm with the Department of Energy. And prior to that, Director of Policy and Research for the State of California, a fabulous leader, great insights, post all the time on LinkedIn.

JAM (01:05:33.135)
Yeah? Ugh.

John Davis (01:05:49.71)
Phoebe Yu, who you met at the conference, who is CEO and founder of Ettitude which makes bamboo fiber linens. Fantastic. And then Helle Bank Jorgensen, who heads up an organization called Competent Boards. And she goes into companies at the board level, senior level, middle management level, to give them fluency and literacy in sustainability related issues, because it’s increasingly important that everybody’s informed on this.

JAM (01:05:51.663)
Yeah.

John Davis (01:06:15.278)
So I look at those things as things people ought to pay attention to, because these are the leaders making a difference. These are the sources that I think are really influential, useful sources. I’ll stop there because you asked a simple question and I…

JAM (01:06:27.951)
You have a, you have a servant’s heart, John. You spent two seconds talking about radical business and then, and then rattled off a huge, great list of other speakers, thought leaders and materials to help you be a more informed consumer and business leader. So I really, yeah, it further demonstrates how you lead John in, in action and, let’s plant some trees. I’m curious. I’m really curious to hear where you would like to go. So if you’re just joining the podcast for the first time,

We were partnered up with, let me share my screen here, with One Tree Planted, a brilliant organization that has a very simple message. For every dollar you contribute, they can plant a tree. And what’s neat about it is that you get to select what is the most important impact or region to you. And it’s nice for giving gifts. So as a replacement to giving.

Giving my kiddos another plastic toy. Gosh, I’d really love to put on the invitations. Please just plant some trees on our child’s behalf. But yeah, so John, speaking of that on your behalf, where can we plant some trees?

John Davis (01:07:40.238)
So when I knew you were going to ask this question, my gosh, so many places came up on my list. But look, I think it’s really critical that in Brazil, and particularly in Pará and Mato Grosso, those are the two areas where I think it’s really critical. The Brazilian rainforest is basically the lungs of the planet, as it is in Indonesia too. But I think that that’s, you know, their deep forestation is still at devastating paces. So whatever we can do in Brazil to me is critical.

I’m not sure if that’s a part of their purview here and if not, I can suggest another place.

JAM (01:08:13.167)
Well, I see Amazon rainforest and Argentina, but no no listing here for Brazil. Is Amazon rainforest close enough? Yeah, that’s perfect. Alright, well we’re going to complete the transaction of 40 trees planted in the Amazon rainforest. You’ll get a gift receipt for that in your inbox. John thank you so much for for spending some time with me today and for all of our listeners.

John Davis (01:08:21.39)
That’s good enough.

JAM (01:08:42.639)
Yeah, I’m deeply grateful for for all of this and for taking a chance with our little podcast Marketing for What Matters. So I’m going to let you go and until we see you next time.

Remember to love more, play more, and do more good. I’m Peaceful I’m Jam at Peaceful Media. Peace.

John Davis (01:09:04.046)
Thank you, Jason.

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