Costa's Sandra Ferreira : How Brands Can Use Influence To Drive Inclusion

18 Mar, 2021

Brands underestimate their power to change attitudes and stereotypes, says Costa's Global Head of Coffee Innovation Sandra Ferreira, the latest guest on MAD//Fest's partner podcast, Shiny New Object. Podcast host and Automated Creative Founder Tom Ollerton shares the conversation.

Sandra Ferreira is the Global Head of Coffee Innovation at Costa Coffee, a title she has earned after coming in from a completely different FMCG background, having worked for Unilever and Mondelez.

Becoming an “expert” in coffee innovation involved her using her best marketing tip: finding ways to problem solve and accepting that no one can know everything. One such problem-solving challenge is her Shiny New Object – the role that marketing plays in driving the inclusion agenda.

Sandra believes that marketers don’t realise how much influence they have on societal assumptions and stereotypes, from the language used on a product, to its packaging and design.

Through the ways in which brands choose to frame their product, they are reinforcing stereotypes or can make them worse. They can also subtly change the way people view them, however.

In Sandra’s view, brands have a responsibility to drive the inclusion agenda specifically because of this strong influence. Whether it involves decision-makers second-guessing branding decisions that are gender specific, or changing the language around race or other stereotypes, marketing as an industry has lots of power.

However, Sandra acknowledges that she herself has never worked in a diverse office – one that embodies inclusivity and therefore allows there to be a safety net to catch stereotyping brand messages before they reach the public.

This is why she is supporting a mentoring programme called Mission Include, for people from diverse backgrounds looking to gain access to mentors from FTSE500 companies. It is through promoting this sort of access that,on the client’s side, ideas will become more inclusive and, with them, the briefs to advertising agencies.

It’s interesting to see that, from a client standpoint, Sandra believes that advertising agencies are at the forefront of driving the inclusion agenda and that brands themselves need to change.

To find out more about Sandra’s views on changing mindsets, her top marketing tips and her best and worst career moves, listen to the podcast here.

Tom Ollerton is the Founder of Automated Creative. Subscribe to the ‘Shiny New Object’ Podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotifyYouTube and Soundcloud.

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