Michael Goon: What Does It Mean for a Brand to Be Purpose Driven?
Interview Featuring Michael Goon of Anheuser-Busch at the PRSA Tri-State Conference
Michael Goon, Director of Communications of the Better World Team at Anheuser-Busch, spoke with Alexa Ambroseo from D S Simon Media, at the PRSA Tri-State Conference. As a part of the Social Good: How to Do it as a Brand panel, Goon talked about the CSR function of the Better World initiative at Anheuser-Busch and what it means for a brand to be purpose driven.
ALEXA AMBROSEO: Hi, I’m Alexa with D S Simon Media at the PRSA Tri-State conference. I’m here with Michael Goon. Michael, how are you?
MICHAEL GOON: Good, good Alexa. Thanks for having me, appreciate it.
ALEXA AMBROSEO: Michael works with Better World, right?
MICHAEL GOON: Yep. I work at Anheuser-Busch and the Better World Team. So, yeah.
ALEXA AMBROSEO: And you can tell us a little bit about what you do?
MICHAEL GOON: Yeah. No problem. So, at Anheuser-Busch, essentially the Better World Team is our purpose driven platform where we support corporate social responsibility. So, my job in particular, I work with all of our individual brands, so: Budweiser, Busch, Stella, etc. to really help develop their marketing platforms when it comes to being purpose driven, giving back to the communities, and etc. and then I also when it comes to Anheuser-Busch support all their programs across their Better World initiatives. So, whether it’s emergency drinking water, environmental sustainability, community and economic impact, and also responsible drinking.
ALEXA AMBROSEO: Great, that sounds like it kind of flows really seamlessly into your panel today which is the social good, right?
MICHAEL GOON: Yeah.
ALEXA AMBROSEO: Correct. Yeah. So, in that panel, what do you think you’re going to focus on?
MICHAEL GOON: Yeah. So to me, when you think about brands and you think about why am I doing this, why does this make sense for the consumer, and not only the consumers, just people, right. For me personally, my hope is to educate the audience about what we believe in when it comes to being purpose driven for different audiences, right, and that means a number of different things to different people and sort of how we’re making a difference in making it a better world, literally.
ALEXA AMBROSEO: Great, and not that CSR is a new thing or anything, but it has become such a major part of the community today, right. How do you see that change consumer purchases and stuff like that.
MICHAEL GOON: Yeah, so, this is going to sound very funny, but you know consumers are voting every day and they’re doing it with their dollar, right. So it for us personally you know the way we design our programs the way we design the things we do from our CSR Better World initiatives, everything that we do it’s people first and to us it’s what’s going to resonate with them, what’s going to make a difference for them in their communities and, alternatively, you know working with them and then working with us to create a better world.
ALEXA AMBROSEO: Great. Finally, a piece of advice for any kind of younger professional in the PR industry, how you think they should incorporate CSR to make it look more like action versus advocacy.
MICHAEL GOON: Yeah. Absolutely. So I think for me personally, when I was coming through the ranks of just PR in general it’s the biggest advice I can give anyone is don’t try to fit a square in a circle, right. And to me, you know you see a number of brands fail when they do something CSR. And, again, anything where you’re trying to give back, it’s great! But you really need to think about how your customer, how that consumer, from the brand’s perspective, is going to perceive the brand and you know, if you get it right the first time, you’ve nothing to worry about.
ALEXA AMBROSEO: Great. Thank you so much for talking with us today.
MICHAEL GOON: Thank you.