Collaborating for good
Williams’ goal with Good-Loop is to both reframe how consumers view advertising but also to encourage brands in turn; the business is, she says, “creating that opportunity for people and brands to create that positive change together.”
To enable that, Williams aims to ensure Good-Loop is operating wherever people and brands interact and making that interaction “more positive and more meaningful”. They are already on Snapchat and Instagram with plans for Facebook afoot and even perhaps connected TV and digital OOH in the not-too-distant future. “Who knows where that could go?” she adds.
Alongside continuing to grow the business, Williams has another clear ambition: “I just want to build a company that I’m proud of. I want to build a company that people love working for,” she explains. Her talents as both a leader and a business founder have already been recognised by the industry; Williams is one of Forbes Europe’s 30 under 30, eConsultancy’s Rising Star of 2019 and a face of the United Nations #SheInnovates global campaign.
A big mark of success for Williams, she says, will be when Good-Loop hits its charitable donation targets; the business is aiming to donate £2 million by the end of 2021. They have more ambitious targets to come but, says Williams, she also cares deeply about the business’ churn rate, continually asking herself, “are people sticking around because they love this company and because they feel we’ve got an amazing culture and they feel we’re really building something they care about?”
From supporting her employees to empowering both brands and consumers, Williams says that ultimately, she is “building a brand that makes people think differently about advertising and makes people think differently about the role that advertising plays in the world.”
How brand purpose translates internationally
Good-Loop closed an investment round in January 2019 with a focus on US investors in order to grow understanding of that market. Williams believes that consumer attitudes to brand purpose are different the world over; “it’s definitely maturing at different rates,” she explains.
Williams points to the absence of a welfare state in the US as leading to “more crossover between the private sector and the third sector”. The role of charities in the States is different, she says, and almost seems to be bigger. She explains, “there’s a lot more corporate responsibility and there’s a lot more expectation from consumers for big brands to give back.”
This creates different parameters for a brand to operate in as corporate expectation is heightened. But many brands by which Williams is inspired have grown exponentially in the US, brands like Patagonia and Toms for example. Williams believes that there is perhaps, “a lot more willingness to accept positive business” in the States.
The current COVID-19 crisis has been interesting for international business, she adds, pointing out that before the lockdown, she was visiting the States about once a month. She believes that America has much more of a face-to-face culture, while business in Europe and Asia is more open to business being done remotely.
What she has noticed however, is that “this crisis has really broken down that barrier.” She explains: “we’re actually getting more traction now because everybody in the States is Zooming. It kind of means that you seem less foreign because they’re Zooming their colleague down the road.”
US marketers would’ve never accepted Zoom before, says Williams, acknowledging that, while it’s amazing how quickly behaviour can shift if it’s collectively accepted, she doesn’t think this is a trend that will continue post-lockdown. “I think it is just a real specific cause of the moment,” she adds. Williams says however that she’s having more and more exciting international conversations from her living room, with people seemingly more receptive to having a chat. “It’s quite a wonderful silver lining isn’t it?” she smiles.