Flexible office space provider WeWork recently told its staff that it would no longer serve meat at its event, nor allow employees to expense meals that include red meat, poultry or pork. Its founders say that the move stems from their desire to take action to protect the health of the environment and their staff.
You can read all sorts of reaction to this story – from the thoughtful to the absurd – but from a marketer’s perspective, I am not sure I have good answers. WeWork isn’t saying employees can’t *eat meat*, but rather that they won’t *pay for it*. Those seem like different things to me. I’ll let my HR friends weigh in on the employee side of this.
All I have are questions:
How does a stand on meat consumption help WeWork build its brand as a flexible office space provider?
Is WeWork trying to bite off more than it can chew (pun only intended in retrospect)? In other words, lots of brands struggle with overreach. WeWork is about a new workspace culture. Does that extend to nutrition? To the broader environment?
Employees and customers increasingly expect their employer or supplier to align with their personal values. A strong value proposition isn’t quite enough … especially for Gen Z. Is WeWork crazy like a fox, putting a line in the sand and telling non-vegetarians to find another office provider? And in the process, attracting like-minded adherents?
Does this create opportunities for other office providers to encourage meat consumption?
How well does it match with WeWork’s commitment to diversity and inclusion?
Where does this end? Eventually, will will live in consumption echo chambers, where only like-minded consumers are welcome?