I recently came across RESET, an interesting independent media company that aims to address the world’s biggest challenges, driving measurable behavior change and helping to accelerate positive momentum.
I caught up with Founder Dominic Shales to hear more about his journey and the problems he’s trying to tackle.
Afdhel Aziz: Dominic welcome! Please tell us a little about what RESET Media is and who it is for?
Dominic Shales: We aim to appeal to a ‘change-ready’ audience who is receptive to new ways of thinking and behaving that benefits themselves and the world at large. They are typically opinion leaders – whether that’s through a public profile or simply within their friendship groups and families. They are active consumers of ideas, seeking out (and sharing) quality journalism and thinking from a wide variety of sources. We are only producing content in English at the moment, so our audience is currently mostly from the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India, although as English is so widely spoken everywhere, we’re also reaching other countries like Scandinavia and The Netherlands. We hope to introduce other languages over time.
We do this as an original content producer, publishing compelling video and written content on our website, social media and other digital channels. Our own channels act as a content hub, but we are set up to work with other media companies to engage the relevant segments of their audiences as necessary. We’ve already got arrangements in place with a number of major players, which we will announce in due course.
We’ve also been setting up networks of journalists, film-makers and other content creators, as well as insight and strategy partners and technology providers, which we can deploy as necessary.
We only went live about four months ago, but we’re very pleased with how RESET has been received so far!
Aziz: Very cool, thanks for sharing! How did your background lead you to creating it?
Shales: Most of my career has been spent in communications and marketing, mostly agency-side working with global brands and organisations. I’ve had some very enjoyable tours of duty at global agencies as well as setting up (and subsequently selling) my own agency business. I changed direction about four years ago to work at VICE Media Group with a brilliant team that came together to create a platform dedicated to driving positive change. Having done some work I was really proud of, particularly in health and sustainability, I moved on in late 2020 and started working on RESET.
I’m convinced that we have to fundamentally rethink the way we are doing things or we will all be totally screwed. It’s a responsibility shared by individuals, businesses and policy-makers, but the media, in all its forms, also has a huge role to play. As well as accurately reporting the facts – which we know can be difficult in these times of fake news – I feel there is a need for media platforms to step up more overtly to campaign for positive change. That’s what RESET is here to do and I think that differentiates us from most other media.
I loved the challenge of working with brands to sell products and shine their reputation, but ultimately I think we’re at a point where tangible actions have to come first, and this is a way that I can help to make a difference personally.
Aziz: Please tell us about what you plan to cover?
Shales: We cover any and all aspects of positive change in the world, producing content that sits at the intersection of issues affecting individuals, businesses and policy-makers.
The specific topics we are most interested in include: Health; Social Change; Climate & The Environment; Business Purpose & Policy; Infrastructure & Trade; Technology; Consumer Choices and Lifestyle; Food & Agriculture.
But as our name suggests, we’re looking at any areas which are affected by the ‘reset’ we’re experiencing in so many areas.
People desperately want to find ways they can personally create an impact on global issues. To provide engaging, optimistic, solutions-focused editorial content to help people do this is why RESET exists.
We are pro-business and here to support and partner with organisations that drive positive change. Business can and should lead the way. It shouldn’t be left to consumers to ‘do the right thing’.
Governments and regulators clearly have a crucial role to play in shaping a better future, but too often they are too slow, too bureaucratic and too self-interested. We are here to applaud them when they get it right, but to exert pressure on them when it’s needed.
Aziz: And how do you see the role of brands?
Shales: Businesses are absolutely critical in driving change. Think about the number of people who literally touch a product from Unilever, P&G or Coca-Cola every day – it’s nearly half the world’s population and the reach of their communications is even higher. Just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions and if these enormous companies really decide to drive change, they have as much or perhaps even more power than the world’s individual governments.
We are in a post-CSR world, in which brands simply have to refocus entirely on ‘better business’ where they are guided by a meaningful purpose that results in tangible, measurable benefit to all stakeholders, not just shareholders. The ones that do this most authentically and with the greatest impact will be the ones that also see an enormous uplift in the value of their brands and better long-term commercial success. The ones that don’t will die.
Aziz: Finally, what kind of brands would you like to partner with?
Shales: We want to partner with ‘better’ businesses to undertake joint behavior change missions. Typically these would be the global brands and organisations that are leading transformation in their sectors, or high-growth challengers and disruptors.
As we embark on different missions, there is also a great opportunity to create coalitions of partners, who can each bring different things to the table. For example, we are looking at a mission to reduce food waste and we would like to partner with a group including: a supermarket, a food producer brand, an NGO, a consumer group and an academic partner.
We’re busy planning our own content and missions that we’re pitching out to potential funders, but we’re also very keen to hear from brands who may need a media partner for their own missions.
As well as food waste, we’re focused currently on finding partners for missions around: electric mobility; health & wellbeing; the energy transition; social mobility; and conscious fashion.