SLMBR PRTY Partner and Founder Sarah Donnenberg on the Cost of Principles

April 30, 2024

“As DDB co-founder Bill Bernbach famously said, ‘A principle is not a principle until it costs you money’.

There’s a lot of validity to these words. Everyone loves to talk a big game, tossing around phrases like DE&I and employee-first culture, and making bold claims that they won’t work associate with groups who put these ideals in jeopardy… but then the numbers on the cheque start to look really appealing, and bottom lines once again finish the race in first place. Or, at least, this happens more often than perhaps the industry would care to admit.

So, to actually stand by one’s values, especially in the face of possible dollars or public perception - it says a lot. It takes a lot of heart, and reflects well upon the leaders laying down the law. Because for them, there’s nothing more priceless than standing up for morals, ensuring the company culture is upheld, or taking care of the people actually working in the business. Whether that’s through rejecting work opportunities or cutting off bad clients, adjusting policy to fit the times and truly live up to self-imposed standards of inclusivity, or simply just avoiding being financially driven in its entirety, there’s a lot of ways to truly prove a principle is real, even if, on paper, it doesn’t always sound the easiest.

With that in mind, to discuss what makes a principle and what it truly means to stand up for one’s values, LBB’s Josh Won Neufeldt sat down with some of the industry’s most resolute leaders.”

Head to Little Black Book to read the full feature.