Jan Gooding: marketers and the crisis of trust

Jan Gooding, Chair of Stonewall the LGBT rights pressure group told a packed audience at the Society’s Ogilvy Lecture in Edinburgh: “We are in a world swirling with fake news, fake facts.....and leaders who are shameless in peddling their falsehoods”

'Lack of trust is the consequence of poor and dishonest leadership.... but as chair of Stonewall I have seen the positive impact of brands and business as a countering force for good.'

'Telling the truth is powerful. People respond positively to it. They don’t like being lied to.'
And I believe they don’t easily forget, or forgive, lying.
The Marketing Society makes much of encouraging leaders to be brave.

For me that means that we have to find the courage to speak our minds, and act accordingly.
We need our marketing leaders to be fearless activists, who are able to accommodate dissenting voices.
To be an inclusive leader requires us to hear the diversity of opinions, based on different life experiences, and outlook.
I think perhaps those of us who work in the creative industries, understand more readily than others, the power of divergent thinking and genuine debate.
We know that all ideas are enriched and strengthened if they are developed collaboratively and built on by people from different disciplines and perspectives.
We will judge our leaders by how they navigate the trade-offs between the demands of shareholders, staff, customers and the community in which they operate.
And would hope they have a transparent framework of principles, to underpin the way in which they make difficult decisions, as they strive to reach their goals,
It is an imperative that marketing leaders are accountable for what they do, and perhaps increasingly important, what they choose not to do.

This is what will help us know whether our leaders can be trusted.
We need marketing leaders who are much more than brave, we need leaders who are trustworthy.
That means leaders who tell the truth and say what needs to be said.
Who demonstrably do what is right for their staff and customers.
Who speak up for others who are less powerful than they are.
Leaders who educate themselves deeply on issues, bothering to understand the facts before coming to an opinion.

People who are prepared to step forward and lead, and not just slavishly mimic or follow.
I hope you will all join me.

You can download Jan's full lecture by clicking the download PDF button below.