Monday, 6 February 2012

In this age of transparency...

A new wave of 21st century companies is emerging. These 'vanguard companies', a term coined by Rosabeth M. Kanter in 2008 at the Harvard Business School,  'are market leaders that are able to change themselves and the world because they put values at the center of their enterprise.'

The importance of values driven philosophies can never be underestimated. Our recent work with companies on engaging their (brand) customers with their 'corporate story', the obligations they have to deliver reports on CSR and sustainability, developed unexpected outcomes - rather than sustainability being purely a duty, a dragging anchor, it can become THE catalyst for innovation. So brands from companies committed to a wider view of their place in the world, a real commitment to genuinely making the world a better place, can also be those brands that are at the bleeding edge of inventing the future.

At the core of every successful, engaging brand narrative are a few empirical requirements: purpose, transparency, innovation, authenticity and provenance. The work of innovating around sustainability objectives can deliver solutions that both deliver tangible improvements in working practices and supply chain as well as customer benefits in branded products. For example, it is easy to see how goals of lighter, faster, cleaner can be both brand and sustainability benefits.

In this era of transparency every brand, every organisation, must constantly seek permission to exist from their customers. The concept of sustainability needs to shift from the green agenda to the agenda of good business. Where every other conversation includes 'responsible capitalism' how can we not be looking more holistically at our brand strategy and creating the responsible brand?