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Gillian Christie: Marketing With a Purpose

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Be forewarned: you may not like what Gillian Christie has to say. As she stated at the beginning of the interview, ''I'm not always going to give you the right answer; I'm not really a politically correct person.''

Ever since the very young age of five, Christie has had very distinct goals. "When I was five years old, I knew I wanted to do three things. I wanted to make the world better; I wanted to be in talk radio; and I wanted to write tag lines."

With the hope of changing the world, Christie went to the University of Colorado to study philosophy because she believed that this major would be the conduit through which she could realize her objectives. After graduating, she traveled to gain some "life experience" and subsequently became involved with various social-betterment activities in the United States and Europe. Upon returning to California in the early '80s, she started her own talk radio show, which allowed her to discuss the issues that were important to her, including several that were related to the environment.

Having worked in the broadcasting industry for several years, Christie decided to start a consulting business, eventually evolving into a full-service marketing company, because she discovered that that was the best way to enact change in the world. "We realized that where philosophy is developed today, meaning using thought to change the world, is in public relations, marketing, and advertising."

However, from the get-go she made a very important choice: she would only help those companies which she believed were ethical. "I built the business in marketing basically to help ethical people accomplish their dreams. Our tagline is 'From Dreams to Mainstream,' knowing that if we were helping them in different sectors in society, each of those sectors would improve." Ultimately, this means helping the companies that will positively contribute to the world around them.

When choosing what companies to work with, Christie explains on her website, "I look at the quality of the team that is presenting the idea and at that team's purposes for doing what it's doing. I assess whether the product is honest, whether it will create a positive effect on society, and that the company team understands what that effect will be." Although there are certain criteria which Christie takes into consideration when determining if a company is ethical and therefore whether she is willing to work with them, ultimately, whether or not a company is deemed "ethical" is based on her opinion.

Q: What was the last thing you ate?

A: I just finished a 14-day fast. So the last thing that I ate last night was a Ryvita cracker.

Q: Throughout your lifetime, what movie have you watched the most?

A: The Princess Bride. I used the line out of the marriage when I got remarried. We had our minister say, "Marriage, marriage is what brings us together today," right out of The Princess Bride.

Q: What was the last book you read?

A: I just finished reading Rule by Secrecy by Jim Marrs. It's a really good book about the power brokers who are behind the power brokers.

Q: What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

A: I'm not really an ice cream person; um, chocolate mint.

Q: If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you spend it doing?

A: Helping other people.

In a world where ethics are often ignored or forgotten when companies walk the path to ever-increasing profits, Christie took the road less traveled. For Christie, creating an ethical company was not merely choice, but compulsion. "I couldn't do anything else. I couldn't go out and sell a drug, or a gun, or alcohol; I just couldn't do it. It offended me."

Yet, marketing products that are bad for the individuals who were supposed to purchase them is a disturbing trend that Christie finds increasingly prevalent. "I have a whole issue with where some of our marketing philosophers go. You know, 'we love to see you smile' and you're selling them chemical hamburgers that are destroying the rainforest in South America. That's not the good side of what we do," Christie said.

The reason Christie finds this development so unnerving is because she knows what can be accomplished if the field is used to enact constructive change instead of harm. "The power of what you could do in this business is phenomenal," Christie stated. This is why the company's business model is to "make peace profitable": to show that you don't have to promote "bad products" in order to be successful.

While some may believe that changing the field, and the world, is an impossible task, Christie vocally and whole-heartedly takes on this responsibility. So in the end, if being someone who isn't politically correct means trying to make the world a better place, then that is a title Christie would happily accept. "We know that if you don't stop the source of the problem that you're forever in mop-up mode, and we don't want to do that. Ultimately, my dream is to bring society out of this barbarism," Christie explained. And she's realizing this dream, marketing one product at a time.
On the net:Christie Communications

The Princess Bride

Rule by Secrecy: The Hidden History That Connects the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons, and the Great Pyramids
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 South America  environments  broadcasts  gains  objectives  University of Colorado  consulting  The Princess Bride  United States  choices

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