Nadine Ridder: Meet the Change-maker Challenging Brands to Walk the Talk

Nadine Ridder is creative strategist, writer, and speaker, and a rising authority on brand activism in The Netherlands. She believes an activism mindset must become mainstream, and uses her voice to challenge brands to step up.

Walking the talk, Nadine is co-founder of Include Now, an industry-wide lobby for an inclusive media and advertising sector, author of the blog We Are All Activists, and a member of Nieuw Amsterdam Raad, advising politicians on how to build a sustainable city for the next generation. She explains that her goal is to challenge brands to become the best version of what they can be.

"If you’re not part of the solution, you’re the one doing the harm. I really believe that.”

Writing for publications in The Netherlands such as Adformatie and OneWorld, Nadine provides critique and commentary on the position of brands. 

One article that captured public attention was directed at progressive Tampon brand Yoni. Nadine argued: "If Yoni really wants to break through entrenched patterns, why not start with using the accurate term ‘vulva' rather than terms such as 'pussy'? 

In another outspoken piece, Nadine challenged IKEA’s love affair with cheap meatballs at a time when the brand is being vocal on its sustainability commitments. She asks:

“How can IKEA present plans to inspire customers to live sustainably, if they continue to feed the same public with the idea that a meatball costs € 0.42?”

Though Ikea’s is now offering vegetarian meatballs, Nadine has since challenged the brand to put its money where its mouth is. “If it really wants to promote change, it can’t ignore the one billion meatballs it sells worldwide every year. She says: "Change takes time yes, but everyone who cares about the environment knows there is no more time." 

"The transformation to a sustainable society requires radical adjustments that must be made today in order to be effective!”

For Nadine, at the core of the growing trend on brand activism is a bigger shift that ' about businesses moving away from an only-for-profit business model. She says: "The most relevant businesses today are those that embrace a positive impact commitment from the get-go."

"Brands can take incremental steps to drive positive change, but the most powerful change is transforming entire business models; having profit fund the mission, rather than the mission exist simply to drive profit.”

The changing landscape has created a unique opening for creative strategists like Nadine to use their profession as a catalyst for change. She concludes:

"I'm not afraid to speak out on important issues and because my voice gets noticed, it’s the most powerful tool I have right now to contribute to change."

Written in collaboration with Joseph D Simpson.

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