Al Gore, former Vice President and environmentalist, is in the news. He hit the headlines following the launch earlier this week of a white paper and 5-point manifesto for what he calls “Sustainable Capitalism”.
The manifesto is published by the non-profit arm of a fund-management company Gore launched with an ex Goldman Sachs partner. The asset manager, Generation Investment Management, focuses on investing in firms with “sustainable” business models.
Gore in interviews discussing the manifesto, identified five practical steps towards a model of capitalism that minimises short-termism. Abolishing quarterly reporting is the most straightforward, while creating “loyalty shares” that pay out more to investors the longer they keep them, is a novel idea and sure to provoke debate.
The PR Verdict: “A” for the launch of sustainable capitalism by Al Gore and his business partners. This was a classic and well-executed PR “thought leadership” launch.
The roadmap for “thought leadership” launches is well established but not always easy to execute. First, begin by framing the ideas as suggestions only. The purpose of any white paper is to initiate discussion and not be overly prescriptive. Secondly, identify simple practical suggestions (in this case five potential reforms) and provide some surprising supporting facts (e.g. the average holding period for a share is now seven months, down from several years in the 1990s). Finally, to maximise the headlines, have someone who is authoritative in the field as your presenting front-man (or woman).
As far as textbook examples go, of how to plot a successful launch in the “thought leadership” space, this was hard to beat.
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