Social Responsibility: How to Build a Socially Conscious Brand

Corporate social responsibility is dead in the traditional sense. Not because no one cares anymore, but because the field has been transformed into something entirely different now.

 

The TED speaker, Rachel Hutchisson, explains the details of this transformation.

 

 

Turns out the focus on corporate is extremely limiting, and CSR is taking a form of community or human social responsibility. But how did this transformation come about?

 

Well, we no longer rely on organizations to tell us what to do and which standards to follow. We go online, research, read reviews and make informed decisions without getting anyone else involved but our own judgment. Social responsibility turned into a conversation where businesses and customers are equal.

 

As a result, brands are struggling. If you too don’t know where to go from here, have a look at our Brand Audit service, that will provide a thorough examination of brand’s current position in the market and determine opportunities for improvement, including those in the social responsibility field. A Brand Audit will help enrich your brand with purpose so that it can stand out in the turbulent market.

 

 

Related: Purposeful Brands: Why Customers Are Prepared to Pay More

 

How Corporate Social Responsibility Has Changed

The Internet opened up many opportunities for education and connected people on so many levels. We stopped seeing big businesses as the only entities that can affect social issues. In the world of connectivity, everyone has the power to make an impact.

 

The engagement with social issues has gone up, so that’s a huge plus. But, this also means that businesses are subjected to critical scrutiny. Now that the people are deeply involved, they expect every business, large or small, to join the conversation in a responsible and sustainable manner.

 

This rings especially true for the Millennials and Generation Z. Studies show that 80% of millennials [1] expect companies to make a public commitment to good corporate citizenship.

 

Social responsibility

Image via The Chartered Institute of Marketing

 

What does it all mean for businesses? It is increasingly important for brands not only to be socially responsible but also to choose the right social mission and employ the right marketing tactics.

 

But don’t get too worried about implications and expenses. There are a plethora of benefits too.

 

Benefits of Building a Socially Responsible Brand

Of course, every business owner sees social responsibility from a profit-making angle. But watch this video from TED. The speaker, Alex Edmans, claims that businesses can both do good and do well. According to the speaker, social responsibility is not a way to drive profits but a way to do good for society while profits will come naturally.

 

 

Here are some other benefits of having a social purpose brand:

 

  1. Added benefit when seeking investor funding

When seeking investors, you have to tell a larger brand story. Investors favour ideas with an added twist.

 

They also understand that it takes more than a great idea to keep the company together. The ability to retain human capital and form mutually beneficial relationships with society are all taken into account.

 

Related: Brand Stories: 5 Compelling Examples That Sell Themselves

 

  1. Competitive advantage

Consumers are socially conscious and are looking for brands that share the same mindset. The faster you are to adopt this mindset the more chances for your brand to be chosen over other brands.

 

Social responsibility elevates the brand to a new level, leaving all everyone else behind.

 

  1. Premium positioning and pricing

Customers don’t mind paying an increased price because subconsciously everyone understands that social responsibility means expenses.

 

Psychologically it makes people feel good when they contribute to society, so knowing that a brand is socially responsible puts people at ease with a lofty price tag.

 

  1. Increased brand loyalty

Even though customers do jump from one brand to another in search for better products, recent research by Facebook[2] confirms that brand loyalty is alive and well.

 

Related: Brand Loyalty: 5 Key Steps to Building Your Loyal Fan Base

 

Loyalty is built on emotions, and is there a stronger emotion driver than the future of humanity? Brands that manage to establish a deep connection between their social initiatives and their customer base, enjoy unwavering brand loyalty.

 

  1. Stronger corporate culture

To understand a corporate culture in relation to branding check out this video from Sasha Strauss on what brand alignment is and why it’s important for employees to believe in your brand and your company.

 

 

It’s a known fact that people find meaning in jobs that focus on craftsmanship, kinship or service[3].

 

Socially responsible organizations can greatly benefit from this finding, by emphasizing the impact the company makes in their internal communication and thus providing employees with additional, powerful source of inspiration.

Related: The Age Of Internal Branding And Selling It From The Inside Out

Visually all the benefits of social responsibility can be presented by the virtuous circle business model.

 

Social responsibility

Image via Sustainable Brands

 

 

How to Create a Socially Conscious Brand

Before you embark on a mission of building a socially responsible brand, there are certain basics that need to be discussed. In particular, the models of socially responsible brands. These models are fluid concepts rather than strict guidelines.

 

Related: 4 Reasons Why Your Business Profit Starts With Your Brand Mission

 

4 Models of Socially Responsible Brands

 

Model 1. Social purpose as the core of a brand

Patagonia brand always advertised itself as a fair working conditions company with environmentally friendly production processes. Their business model is based on socially conscious practices.

 

If the brand suddenly decides to move their production to cheaper factories in the far-flung corners of China, it would undermine the very essence of a brand.

 

This model can be defined as “social purpose is what we do”.

 

Model 2. Social purpose as legitimacy

Business is an indispensable part of a society. When the business enters the market, it agrees to operate according to social expectations.

 

The expectations for businesses are pretty much the same as for people – do no harm, abide by the laws and contribute to the community.

 

Brands that build skate parks, plant tree line alleys in the city parks, create art installations[4] in the city squares follow their social contract.

 

This model can be defined as “social purpose is how we’re expected to act”.

 

Model 3. Social purpose as a way to reach business goals

Companies worldwide have incorporated social purpose into their brand narrative to boost sales.

Related: Brand Story: The Key Ingredients to What Makes It Compelling

 

This model doesn’t have to have a negative connotation. People buy Macbook because it’s the best computer on the market, not because of the company’s commitment to carbon emission program. But the company’s social mission gives people a peace of mind.

 

This model can be defined as “social purpose is what we do to be successful”.

 

Model 4. Social purpose as a separate brand narrative

Companies operating in medical, social and education fields don’t have to do much to communicate their commitment to society. These brands have social mission infused in who they are.

 

This model can be defined as “social purpose is who we are”.

 

Now, let’s explore the exact process to create a socially responsible brand

 

Socially Responsible Brand Creation Process

 

Step 1. Choose the right social need

For businesses that are just starting their social responsibility quest, it helps to explore different ideas and get a bit creative before they land on one or two social causes to support. Usually, these ideas are restricted by the three realms: brand history, customers, and product[5].

 

To identify your social need first look at all three realms and list every single cause that comes to mind. Then score each cause from the brand, consumer and business perspectives.

 

The social need that emerges based on this analysis, will, ideally, lie on the convergence of all three realms.

 

In the brand audit process, we evaluate where and how to develop your brand’s social responsibility strategy and how to seamlessly incorporate it into your brand narrative.

 

For brands that prefer to do a brand audit internally, our brand audit health check programme, the Auditing Analysis Accelerator™, provides a simple but highly effective framework for identifying brand weaknesses, strength and opportunities so that you can easily create a powerful narrative that attracts the target audience. Find out more here and watch here of how to give your brand a health check yourself.

 

 

Step 2. Incorporate social purpose into the brand narrative

It’s important to tie the social purpose with the brand narrative. Without a clear statement of what your company does and why social purpose doesn’t bring any value.

Related: Brand Stories: Critical to Brand Growth Strategy

 

Here are some ways you can incorporate social purpose into a new or existing brand story:

 

Buy-one-give-one

A great example of a carefully crafted buy-one-give-one narrative is TOMS brand. For every pair of slippers sold the company donates another pair to a person in need.

 

This type of brand narrative employs customer engagement to the fullest. People will always need a new pair of slippers and if they can help someone while they shop, they will.

 

social responsibility

 

This concept works for smaller brands too. It allows for many interpretations. For example, if you have a product that gets manufactured in the local community, people who buy your product, end up supporting the craftsmen who made it. You don’t have to give out part of the profit to apply a buy-one-give-one narrative. If the product creates jobs, it already has a social connotation.

 

This is exactly how Pura Vida owners have built their brand narrative. When you buy a bracelet from Pura Vida, an artisan in Guatemala can buy a dinner for his family.

 

Socially responsible business model

A great example of a small sustainable business is Everlane. The brand initially started as an environmentally friendly brand with transparent manufacturing processes and fair prices.

 

social responsibility

 

Social sustainability is at the heart of their business, this is what the brand has become known for.

 

 

 

Everlane example shows how to take a social issue that the industry has been talking about for ages and create a business that makes a real impact.

 

Even though Everlane is a small business and they don’t own thousands of factories to affect the state of the fashion industry, their initiative has started a conversation. And in the age of a social media, conversations spread like a fire.

 

Changes in the operational model

You might not have a material product that affects the society. But the way you do business impacts others.

 

Sacramento Event Planners is a small event planning agency, that specializes in the so-called greening events. The company promises the best event ever, but the impact of the event on the environment will be minimal.

 

social responsibility

Image via Sacramento Event Planners

 

Analyze your business and the way you conduct operations and see if you can alter some processes to negate the impact. For example, going paperless and saving energy in the office might not be important to your consumers, but when you apply those exact policies in a retail store, the effect is a lot more visible.

 

Employee volunteerism

When a Walmart employee volunteers for at least 25 hours with a non-for-profit Walmart gives such an organization a $250 grant.

 

It’s a carefully crafted multi-dimensional program that provides benefits to everyone involved: employees can explore their passions through volunteerism, nonprofit organizations get a financial boost, and Walmart actively advertises its commitment to the community.

 

social responsibilty

 

On a smaller scale, giving a day off to employees so that they can plant trees in the nearest park works the same way. Your team members will be grateful for a change of scenery, whilst the community with benefit from the beautiful greenery. Have a branded T-shirts ready and take lots of pictures and your brand will get the recognition it deserves.

 

Being a social influencer

Last year the Institute of Code ran a contest on social media that encouraged all women and girls to apply for programming scholarship at the Institute. The company is based in Bali and the campaign generated lots of hype online.

 

The contest immediately associated the brand with a female empowerment movement and proved that even small businesses can use social issues to drive awareness.

Related: Branding for Women: Why Women are Redefining Brands and Branding

 

Educating on old vs new

Even though Tesla brand doesn’t run active social responsibility campaigns, it continuously educates consumers on the environmental benefits of using a clean source of energy. For example, in 2015 the company owner announced that he would open-source Tesla’s intellectual property so that everyone could follow Tesla’s vision of a clean future.

 

 

 

 

Tesla doesn’t have to make much effort in social responsibility. After all, the company produces the cleanest car on the planet. But business owners who are trying to improve on the old, no matter if it’s a slight improvement or a dramatic overturn, can employ similar tactics to inform and educate their consumers.

 

Offset business’s negative impact:

For an airline, carbon emission and fuel efficiency are the main concerns. Virgin Atlantic invests in a modern fleet, educates its captains on ways to improve fuel efficiency and offers customers an option to offset their carbon.

 

social responsibility

Image via Virgin Atlantic

 

Everyone is somehow affecting the world around us, be it the environment or people: we drive cars and transport goods, wash the dishes and produce lots of waste.

 

As a small business owner, you can choose the cause your business affects most and devise a way to make the impact less severe.

 

For example, for delivery businesses, the effect of transportation on the environment can be huge but put a little more thought to route planning and you’ll save the planet a couple of years.

 

Step 3. Show the proof to the audience

There is no use in social purpose if you don’t communicate it. Even communication might not be enough.

 

While the older generation might accept social responsibility message as a stated fact, Millennials and Generation Z expect brands to show the proof and deep knowledge[6] about the issues.

 

People will only reward brands who manage to show full transparency and authenticity.

 

Here are some ways you can show the proof:

  • Online marketing
  • Events around the issue
  • Social Media campaigns
  • Employee advocacy
  • Updating the news section on the website

 

Standing Out In The Crowded Social Space

As we move towards a fully connected world, more companies will be adopting a social mission, making it less of a competitive advantage and more of the must-have element of branding.

 

However, experts agree that social responsibility is here to stay. It might be getting more conversational, we might expect more engagement and actual real impact from brands, but we still view socially responsible brands more favourably. And the first key to building a socially conscious company is a sound and clear brand strategy.

 

If you’d like to make social responsibility an integral part of your brand and how you do business then a brand audit, with that objective in mind, will help you evaluate where and how to develop your brand’s social responsibility strategy from the very start. A professional brand audit helps identify areas of weakness, strength and potential opportunities for innovation.

 

You can give your brand a health check yourself using our brand audit health check programme, the Auditing Analysis Accelerator™. Find out more here and watch here of how to give your brand a health check yourself.

 

Brand Audit Health Check

Audit your brand now so you can identify where and how to make social responsibility part of your brand ethos

 

Want to find out more?

Alternatively, if you’d like professional input and direction for building your brand and would like to leverage our experience and expertise then send us an email to [email protected] or give us a ring T: +353 1 8322724 (GMT hours 9:00 – 17:00). We’d be very happy to speak with you.

 

Questions to consider

  • Would you pay a premium price for a socially conscious brand?
  • What social causes feel natural for your business?
  • Can you tie in your brand purpose with a social mission?
  • What are the ways to incorporate a social purpose in business? Can you see how any one of these applies to you?

 

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/larissafaw/2014/05/22/millennials-expect-more-than-good-products-services-to-win-their-loyalty/

[2] https://www.facebook.com/iq/articles/modern-loyalty-love-in-a-time-of-infinite-choice?ref=wpinsights_rd

[3] http://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/12/job-satisfaction.aspx

[4] https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/03/fearless-girl-wall-street/519393/

[5] https://hbr.org/2017/09/competing-on-social-purpose#comment-section

[6] http://www.millennialmarketing.com/2017/01/show-me-says-gen-z-pivotals-want-proof/

How to Use Brand Activism to Mobilize Your Customers

Dare to care! What is brand activism? It’s a term we’ll all be hearing a lot more about. Historically, people are more familiar with the term consumer activism, which the Financial Times defines as, “The range of activities undertaken by consumers or NGOs to make demands or state their views about certain causes linked directly or indirectly to a company.” In the extreme, such a movement could even lead to a boycott, the FT explains.

If you flip that negativity around, but retain the passion, you get brand activism — a positivity in which a brand’s purpose is seen to bring real value into people’s lives.

Ben And Jerry Sos Climatepage 600px

Image via www.benjerry.com

In 2016, finance professor Alex Edmans, PhD., of the London Business School announced the results of a study into the effect of purpose on profit. “I found that the 100 best companies to work for in America beat their peers by 2-3 percent per year over a 28-year period, from 1984 to 2011.” He added that, “To earn profit a company is forced to care about society. It has to make high quality products, or customers will stop buying. It has to treat its workers well, or they’ll leave. And it can’t pollute the environment, or its brand will be hurt.”[1]

Simon Mainwaring, author of the branding manifesto, “We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Renew Capitalism and Build a Better World,” summarizes in his article, “Why Profit Alone Will Put You Out of Business.” Research from three top global firms: Havas Media[2], Cone Communications[3] and Edelman,[4] indicate that today’s consumers “expect brands to be socially responsible and are willing to pay more for products and services from those that do.”

How to Activate Your Brand

Your brand’s goal is to give a customer the feeling of a personal connection with the brand via the brand’s purpose. We’ll take a look at some brand strategy examples from each of these activism approaches:

  • Experiential events
  • Promotional events
  • In-store retail marketing
  • Content marketing

 

   

Experiential: Donald Trump and Brand Activism

When politicians generously supply people attending a rally with signs, banners, baseball caps and badges, they understand that not all brand activism is measureable in standard ROI terms. Nonetheless, they are certainly aware of the effect such a display makes for the television cameras. Donald Trump calls his staged events “a movement.” For better or worse, that’s brand activism impacting the voting booth.

 

   

Trump Signs Evan Guest 600px  

Image via Evan Guest, flickr

 

 

Promotional: Leonardo DiCaprio and Brand Activism

As we all know, celebrities embody their own personal brands. But there are huge differences among such people as to how they choose to activate the power of their brand.

In 2014, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon designated Leonardo DiCaprio as UN Global Ambassador of Peace saying, “Mr. DiCaprio is a credible voice in the environmental movement, and has a considerable platform to amplify its message. I am pleased he has chosen to add his voice to UN efforts to raise awareness of the urgency and benefits of acting now to combat climate change.”[5]

      Leonardo Di Caprio Against Fossil Fuels 600px

Image via Leonardo DiCaprio fan page www.leonardodicaprio.com

One glance at the actor’s website highlighting the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation[6] indicates where he’s coming from as he invites his fans to follow him to the podium at the Global Citizen Festival, the Paris Climate Summit, the World Economic Forum, and more.

Before a standing ovation by his Hollywood peers at the 88th Academy Awards in 2016, Leo channeled his 60 seconds as king of the world to frame an urgent call. Using his Oscar acceptance speech to reach 34 million people, the actor expressed his passionate views on climate change. Within a week, brand marketers had dubbed this “The Leo Effect.” One glance at the actor’s own website highlighting the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation[7] indicates where he’s coming from. That’s brand activism.

       Leonardo Di Caprio World Economic Forum 600px

Image via Leonardo DiCaprio fan page www.leonardodicaprio.com

In-store: Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and Brand Activism

When it comes to wide flung brand activism, it’s hard to beat the Vermont ice cream maker. “We speak to the aspiring activist inside all of us…everyone gets a happy feeling when they contribute to society,” says Ben & Jerry’s CEO. The prosperity of this brand is about sharing a business model meant to create positive change in the world, right down to the electric car fleet solution.

At the Vermont ice cream company, the director of social mission says, “We work our way from inside the pint out. So we start with the dairy, making sure we support the farmers from which we source our dairy so they can have more sustainable, profitable family farms. Then we work our way through the pint — sugar, cocoa, banana, coffee, vanilla — all fair trade certified. Then we work our way to environmentally sustainable packaging.”

Ben & Jerry’s brand activism goes beyond the store’s freezer. In London in 2012, 18 consumers made the final round of “Join Our Core,” presenting an environmental sustainability pitch before an expert panel of judges.

Benand Jerry Sustainable Business Idea 600px

Image via www.benjerry.com

Five winners each received a £10,000 cash prize, six months of mentoring and a trip to Ben & Jerry’s headquarters in Vermont, as well as a year’s supply of ice cream. The priceless clincher? Having a Ben & Jerry’s flavour named after the winner. This annual initiative has gone global.[8]

The People’s Climate March is a Ben & Jerry’s activation that has seen 700,000 people in cities around the world taking to the streets in peaceful protest, demanding action from corporate and political leaders. The brand is deft at connecting the dots from environmental conservation passion back to the brand, reflected in clever flavour names such as Save Our Swirled, Fossil Fuel, and Baked Alaska (“If It’s Melted, It’s Ruined”). Ben & Jerry’s is a leader in brand activism across three sets of elements: product, economic, and social.

Ben And Jerrys Baked Alaska 600px

Image via http://www.benjerry.com

Content: Dignity Health and Brand Activism

Dignity Health is a California-based not-for-profit public-benefit corporation operating hospitals and ancillary care facilities in 17 states. Via their project, “Hello Humankindness,” Dignity Health shines a spotlight on acts of kindness in their hospitals and throughout the world.

On the dedicated Hello Humankindness website[9], readers learn about a special education teacher who instills self-esteem among his students by praising each one of them at the start of every day. Another story features a former oncology nurse who is hand weaving Disney-themed wigs of soft yarn for young cancer patients who have suffered hair loss due to chemotherapy treatments, shipping them off at no charge to kids in 11 countries so far.

Beginning with small acts like saying good morning and making a new friend in the playground, the Great Kindness Challenge accounted for a record 250 million acts of kindness performed by 5 million primary school students and Dignity Health employees during a five-day period in January 2016.[10] Nothing resonates more than an authentic, selfless act of human kindness; it’s contagious. These very personal stories of kindness reflect favorably on the brand while making the world a better place.

Small Brand Activism: London Estate Agents

Bective Leslie Marsh is a small estate agency with five offices in Prime Central London,  focused on extremely popular residential areas like Chelsea, Kensington and Notting Hill, where standing out from a crowded field isn’t easy.

The emphasis on being “refreshingly different” includes hiring staff who live close to those offices, so they not only know the area, but have deep roots in each community. In addition to local knowledge, Bective Leslie Marsh has run a sponsorship department for two decades.

Bective Lesley Marsh Activism 600px

Image via www.bective.co.uk

Brand activism takes Bective Leslie Marsh way beyond simply making a charitable donation. BLM staff give time, energy and resources to long-standing local charities, such as West London Action for Children, by serving on the planning committee.

BLM staff are deeply embedded in the local communities they serve through brand activism which manifests in activities such as running prize-giving stalls at the local school together with garden fairs, hosting tables at trivia and bridge night fundraisers, providing players, homemade lemonade and branded trophies at tennis tournaments, serving hot cider at holiday events. Being laser-focussed on neighbourhood charities that build lasting relationships creates a far more personal, trustworthy approach to selling and letting clients’ homes — in short another form of brand activism at a meaningful local grass roots level.

Activism must deeply align with brand purpose, the mission, vision, values and causes that are at the brand’s core. Brands that get this right can drive incredible customer loyalty, advocacy and passion, inspiring others to join in.

People don’t buy just a product or service, it’s not just transactional business; they buy into the idea and the actions the brand stands for. Brand loyalty motivates fans, devotees, and advocates to tell others, often via social media,  about their favorite products or servcies. This  invaluable word-of-mouth is what leads to accelerated growth, increased profits and a lasting positive impact in society.

Questions to consider:

• Have you shared your brand purpose with all employees?

 

• Are your team at all levels within your business fully aware of and aligned to your brand’s purpose.

 

• Have you articulated your brand’s purpose through brand profiling using a system like the Personality Profile Performer™ to successfully move it from the meeting room to a living, breathing part of your brand DNA driving everything you do internally, and externally in how you connect with your customers?

 

• Have you performed any brand activations at a local community level?

 

• Has your brand ever sponsored a charity event or a charitable foundation?

 

• Have you ever held a product sample giveaway at your retail location or at an event?

 

• Have you considered giving a small percentage of each sale to a charitable beneficiery closely aligned to your brand’s whole mission, vision and purpose?

 

• Have you communicated your brand purpose, your brand’s ‘big why’, in a blog, advertising, social media, or other content?

You may also like:

 

The Profit Power of Cult Brands, Why and How to Create One

 

Brand Profiling: How Brand Performance and Purpose are Inextricably Linked

 

Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling  

 

Brand Profiling: How to Use Emotion to Make Your Brand More Profitable

 

Brand Audits: 10 Things Successful Brand Owners and Managers Must Know  

 

Brand Revitalisation and Relaunch: The do’s and don’ts of doing it successfully!

 

Brand CSR: The Business Case for Successful Branding and Social Good

 

Co-Branding: 13 Tips for Growing Your Brand Through Strategic Partnerships

 

 

[1] http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/organizational_change/maxine_perella/leo_effect_post-csr_world_can_profit_co-exist_pu

[2] http://www.meaningful-brands.com

[3] http://www.conecomm.com/2015-global-csr-study

[4] http://www.edelman.com/insights/intellectual-property/2015-edelman-trust-barometer

[5] http://www.un.org/climatechange/summit/2014/09/secretary-general-designates-leonardo-di-caprio-un-messenger-peace

[6] http://leonardodicaprio.org

[7] http://leonardodicaprio.org

[8] http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/social_enterprise/ben-jerrys-ashoka-vet-social-entrepreneurs-join-our-core

[9] https://hellohumankindness.org

[10] http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2016/03/02/dignity-health-inspires-5-million-students-to-complete-record-number-acts-of-humankindness

Top 10 Brands for Customer Experience and What You Can Learn From Them

If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” (Jeff Bezos) – CEO Amazon.

 

89 percent of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience in 2016 according to a recent Gartner survey, compared to only 36 percent four years ago. If your customers don’t like the customer experience they have with you, there’s a high probability they won’t buy again and they’re highly likely to share their poor brand experience with everyone they know — online!

 

Steve Jobs Quote Customer Experience 600px

 

 

Here we’ll take a look at who has been delivering a great customer brand experience and how they’re doing it really well, contrasted with others on the opposite end of the scale — with actionable learnings for you to take away from both.

 

The latest reports on customer brand performance are eye-openers and worth reflecting on when you review your own brand or give it a customer performance brand health check.

 

 

Common Brand Experience Traits for Top Brands

One factor that definitely stands out is steadfast perseverance. What has attracted customers before, and will attract them in the future, is perceived value. The brands that have continued to deliver highly regarded perceived brand value, from a customer perspective, and continued to unwaveringly improve upon it, are ruling the day.

 

This perceived brand value has nothing to do with affordability but everything to do with user experience, a unique experience that creates strong brand loyalty and engenders long lasting customer brand champions.

 

Amazon 600px

Image via http://i.huffpost.com

 

  

Who’s Got Exemplary Customer Service Really Covered?

  • 1.         Amazon
  • 2.         Apple
  • 3.         Nordstrom
  • 4.         Lush
  • 5.         First Direct
  • 6.         LL Bean
  • 7.         Air Asia
  • 8.         Uber
  • 9.         Net-A-Porter
  • 10.      Worldwide Stereo

 

Let’s take a closer look to see how these brands have a made real difference to their customers’ lives, and consequently massively grown their profits too.

 

 

Case Study #1 AmazonLet the Customer Rule

How Amazon created a brand around its customers?

When it comes to perceived value and web-based customer service, Amazon wins hands down. It has repeatedly demonstrated to the world that, when done correctly, with meticulous attention to detail and tireless focus, they are the byword for customer service. In reality, despite many detractors and ever-growing competition, the retail, or rather the e-tail giant, has proved that customer service is a fine art. It’s no wonder than many fail, despite best intentions.

  

The core vision

One of the reasons Amazon excels at customer service is because their core vision blends in with their founder’s original mission seamlessly — make customers the primary focus and deliver unflagging perceived value. They’ve built their entire customer service brand strategy, and in extension, their brand around this mission.

 

 

 

 

 

USPs:

What stands out first is their incredible returns policy, which is the first thing to reassure the buyer that they will be taken care of, even if they dislike their purchase. In other words, their money is safe, if in doubt.

 

Another outstanding feature is the Amazon fast response times. Unlike many other instances where a customer might hold for an eternity on their phone, waiting for customer service with other brands, with Amazon you connect swiftly.

 

With the recent additions to their call service centers, thorough follow-ups, and thoughtful tips for buyers, Amazon has consistently continued to prove that it is the guru of customer service. [1]

 

Lesson Learned:

Consistent reliability, every time

 

 

Case Study #2 AppleIs this an iPhone 6s?

How the brand inspires pride and ownership?

Technology companies in general have delivered an overall great customer service experience, which when you think of their reach, is not an easy task.

 

In the collaborative survey conducted by 24/7 Wall St. and research survey group Zogby Analytics, Apple had 40% of its customers vouching for its customer service. [2] For a company that has reinvented the word innovation, this figure is important.

 

How the brand functions?

First comes the customer, followed by the technology. Jobs said, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back towards the technology.”

 

Powerful words that still define the way the company works. It is a brand that stands for exclusivity and innovation. Today it is also a brand that stands for its customers. [3]

 

USPs:

Its customer satisfaction rating has improved by nearly 5 percent from 2014, helping it move its way closer to the top spot in the customer service Hall of Fame. Apple’s increased sales figures, a 30 percent increase in 2015 from the year before, also suggest a satisfied customer base.

 

Apple Store San Francisco

Image via www.msn.com, © AP Photo/Eric Risberg

 

 

What’s more, it has also ranked exceptionally high, a 4 out of 5, for employee satisfaction. Employees not only take pride in working here but they also identify with the brand and are active champions of the brand, a fact that reflects in their customer service and in the way customers identify with the brand.

 

In order to excel you have to innovate. You also have to identify a need and fulfill it and then ensure that the service you provide is truly exemplary. From the product design to the unique Genius bar, Apple has ensured that customer experience is not just good, but unique every time.

 

Lesson Learned:

How Apple does it? They innovate. Every time.

 

 

Hugh Mac Leod Gapingvoid Creativity Is The Fuel

Image via www.gapingvoid.com, © Hugh MacLeod

 

 

Case Study #3 NordstromLuxury is Approachable

How the brand has been reinvented?

The luxury brand has become the absolute role model for customer service with their seamless returns policy. The atmosphere is still that much loved and wonderful blend of convivial warmth together with subdued luxury tones, that makes shopping there a really enjoyable experience.

 

Their customer service agents are helpful, well trained and knowledgeable. While their recent policies have included more frequent promotions, their teams have been simultaneously trained to deal with the increased foot-fall and expanded customer mix.

 

Nordstorm 600px

Image via http://i.cbc.ca

 

 

USPs:

According to experts, what stands out however is their incredible price-matching policy across the country, similar to John Lewis in the UK. If an item has a price-drop anywhere else, no matter which store it is, they’ll match that price right away for their customer. [4]

 

Online shoppers can even get benefits like free shipping on every order and paid return shipping. The brand message has slowly evolved from classic to timeless and secure with customers made to feel important and cared for.

 

Lesson Learned:

Feel good luxury

 

 

Case Study #4 LushBeauty is Naturally Indulgent

What should be the brand focus?

Putting a definite smile on their customer faces is the focus for natural cosmetics firm Lush, with the help of their welcoming and very knowledgeable staff. The ‘happy atmosphere’ of the store enfolds customers like a welcome balm, who typically leave with or without buying, feeling in a better mood and good about themselves.

 

They garnered a whopping 89 percent of the votes and came out as the winner among UK’s top brands. According to the leading industry surveys from KPMG Nunwood and Which?, retail brands like Lush have made significant impact with their customers and consequently increased sales, simply by creating the right environment for their customers consistently. [5]

 

USPs:

Most people would think that a brand like Lush has been built on the premise that they are offering an exemplary range of products. Actually, when you look closely you will see that their entire brand strategy is focused on making their customers feel good and confident through their exemplary natural products, coupled with their proactive CSR strategy and giving back for greater social good. A fine difference but difference nevertheless.

 

Lesson Learned:

Create a brand personality associated with a warm and happy feeling, together with giving back for the greater good. People buy with emotion first and justify with rational afterwards — regardless of gender or cultural background, so you must win the heart first if you want to move the mind.

 

Lush 600px

Image via www.thisismoney.co.uk, ©Alamy

  

  

Case Study #5 First Direct – Your Money is Safe

First Direct was a close second with 86 percent of the votes, no doubt ruing its fall from the winning position that they held the year before. But it has nevertheless carried on its tradition of great customer service, which has been reflected in the surveys.

 

Much praise was heaped on it for its high-profile switching deals, as well as making the change process really easy for customers too.

 

Lesson Learned:

Making money management easy

 

 

Case Study #6 – LL Bean – You are the Heritage

Across the Atlantic it is LL Bean which came out on top. The heritage retailer has received five stars for its outstanding customer service and courtesy that left customers feeling positively happy, a word that is often not often associated with customer service today. Worth noting when you consider that according to another study, nearly one third of all consumers would rather clean a toilet than talk to most companys’ customer service agents! All LL Bean customers are responded to and quickly, one can even speak to an LL Bean representative in close to 30 seconds and get email responses within an hour.

 

Lesson Learned:

So what makes LL Bean so popular? They have made their brand easily identifiable for each and every customer by being so approachable. One just doesn’t take pride in the product but spreads the word for others.

 

Ll Bean Boots 600px

Image via http://www.businessinsider.com, Flickr/jimshooz7

  

  

Case Study #7 AirAsiaConnecting Anywhere, Anytime

How to overcome existing barriers?

We live in the age of constant connection and social media and this list would be incomplete with at least one brand that rules that space. The winner surprisingly is an airline, a category that has been historically notorious about customer service.

 

 

 Air Asia Airline 600px

Image via www.tommyooi.com

 

 

In an age where news, especially bad news, spreads faster than we can blink, keeping up with great customer service is a definite challenge. AirAsia, with JetBlue a close second, has changed our perceptions about customer service and interaction in the airline industry.

 

How have they succeeded?

 

Mastering the emerging technologies

With an outstanding Facebook presence, easy to navigate and helpful web pages, fast customer response time across all social and online platforms, AirAsia is rocking the virtual space.

They have over 3 million likes on their Facebook page which is not just a content sharing space but one where they have actively engaged their customers and readers.

They respond.

 

They make it a point to respond to all queries and comments and fast. Their representatives are always friendly and personable and available 24×7.

Fun promotions like “Free Seats Challenge,” one that offers 12 winning customers a year’s worth of free seats on flights doesn’t hurt either.

 

Lessons Learned:

You can reinvent around perceived barriers.

 

They have reinvented their brand by reinventing the way we look at airlines today. Instead of expecting hassles and hold-ups, one can experience instant connection and responses.

 

It immediately changes brand perceptions as it simultaneously engenders customer confidence and goodwill, before they potentially become irate — which is particularly important in a sector where unscheduled delays or unpredictable problems can make travelling more arduous.

 

 

Case Study #8 Uber – Customer Service Redefined

How a new brand becomes a giant?

Expert reports have revealed one brand that has been touching the thousand to million mark, in terms of customer service, and across the world it’s Uber. [6]

 

What started as simply easing of commute worries has now transformed into a whole new concept of transportation. With its ingenious and virtually seamless innovations it has now integrated itself into our daily lives together with a very robust customer following. Very soon, we will see it as a one-stop travel planner too.

 

Lessons Learned:

Identify a need, even in a crowded marketplace.

Innovate a service by adopting the latest technologies.

 

Uber 600px

Image via www.sfexaminer.com

 

 

Small and New Can Win Too

 

Case Study #9 Net-A-Porter – Be a Relaxed Shopper

The online retailer came next for its best phone-based customer service, an aspect of business very few brands can testify to.

 

Their outstanding one-to-one communication, in this era of mass communiqués have touched hearts and moved minds.

 

It is still a growing brand but it has effortlessly managed to hold its own against the goliaths by virtue of its incredible customer service.

 

Lessons Learned:

This focus on customer has indeed paid off with spreading word-of-mouth referrals.

Word-of-mouth, after all, is still the strongest brand strategy when leveraged for the right reasons.

 

 

Case Study #10 Worldwide Stereo – Customer is King

 

It’s not always the giants that rule either. In the world of behemoths, one small company that has made its mark in sales and customer service is the World Wide Stereo.

 

 

 

 

 

This electronics and audio store not only offers an amazing (and ever-increasing) array of innovative products, but has also garnered a reputation for its stellar customer service.

 

It’s fast becoming the place-to-go when you want an out of the box product that no one else has — and which often has sizable discounts too.

How they do it?

 

They hold their own against the big retail brands with their expedited two day delivery, and even a free next day delivery in some cases.

 

 

 Worldwide Stereo

Image via http://membrane.com

 

 

They stand by their products and are known to quietly upgrade orders and deliver a faster and better service. They even boast a custom home installation team, something many of us have never even heard of in this twenty-first century. [7]

 

Lesson Learned:

They have created a brand that stands for the customer, all the way.

 

 

Building a Brand with Customers at its Heart

According to the StellaService report, the brands that measured well are accessible to their customers via multiple channels: phone, email, online live chats, and have outstanding shipping and return policies too. [8]

 

 

Delivering Value

When we look at all the brands that have made it to the top positions for customer service, we see one thing in common – perceived brand value.

 

When you analyze performance more closely these brands have taken that concept to a completely new level. This is not the value for money concept in terms of the cheapest solution but rather the complete brand experience and the perceived increased brand value that engenders with its customers.

 

A great case in point is a premium brand like Apple with a premium pricing strategy – it is considered a top brand that offers value because of its outstanding product quality and great service. Every customer interaction is focused at making customers feel important while ensuring the product is accessible so it enhances peoples’ lives.

 

Customers need to be able to count on their favoured brands and the brands in turn have to focus on meeting and exceeding their customers’ expectations, and work their deliverables around those expectations.

 

Amazon delivered innovative support through their May Day button on the new kindle, where customers get support at the click of a button from a live person. No calls, no hold times, no chats and no waiting for email responses. This close attention to detail is what creates a sustainable brand. This is the value all brands should strive for.

 

Brands working on reinventing themselves or on their way to create a distinctive brand presence should focus not just on their products and sales, but also on their after sales service because word-of-mouth is still the strongest sales voice in the field.

 

A quick look at preferred customer service attributes:

  • Time Saver
  • Fast Turnaround
  • Price Match
  • Great Positive Emotive Feelings
  • Great service

 

 

Monopoly is so Last Year

There is also much to learn from the brands that did not do so well in the surveys and consequently what not to do! Interestingly, cable, satellite and wireless service providers reportedly fared quite badly on both sides of the Atlantic. Their long-running problems with low customer satisfaction are unfortunately very much a part of negative customer experiences according to the latest industry surveys.

 

 

What not to do

According to customer ranking research and survey results, despite the continued poor performance they still appear to suffer from a lack of urgency to improve the quality of their customer interactions. This could explain the continued customer complaints and dissatisfaction. [9]

 

One reason for this apathy could be the limited competition these companies face which somehow undermines the need for appeasing the customer faster, but hardly anything can explain this sectors indifferent attitudes reportedly experienced a little too frequently. The moment there is a new kid on the block, a challenger, disruptor and innovator, no matter how small, customers will switch.

 

 

Key Learnings to Consider:

•  A brand is built through its service – both sales and customer service

• If customer experience isn’t one of your top priorities long term, you’ll lose

•  Be reachable, always, anytime on multiple platforms

•  Expect what the customer expects, exceed their needs and design your service to meet those demands

• Innovation is the key to keeping customers engaged

•  Never be too complacent for the next big thing is always round the corner

•  Engage the customer on social media

•  Customer service is must and core to your successful brand strategy

•  Value is not low price, it is a great consistent brand experience

•  Offer true value, every time

 

 

Questions to Consider:

• Do you know what your customers really want? When did you last conduct a brand audit health check?

 

• Have you made your customers central to your long-term goals, or is it still revenue? It’s never about just the money.

 

• Do you have a robust team in place to deliver world-class customer service, 24×7? Are they also well-trained and fully inducted brand champions?

 

• Is your brand strategy totally sales based or is it customer service focused as well?

 

• Are you creating a sustainable brand through your customer support network?

 

• Are your customers talking about your brand beyond their brand interactions? Have you integrated a CSR strategy into your brand strategy?

 

• Do you offer true brand value in terms of a complete brand experience?

 

 

You may also like:

 

Brand Profiling: How Brand Performance and Purpose are Inextricably Linked

 

Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling  

 

The Profit Power of Cult Brands, Why and How to Create One

 

Brand Profiling: How to Use Emotion to Make Your Brand More Profitable

 

Brand Audits: 10 Things Successful Brand Owners and Managers Must Know  

 

Brand Revitalisation and Relaunch: The do’s and don’ts of doing it successfully!

 

Brand CSR: The Business Case for Successful Branding and Social Good

 

Co-Branding: 13 Tips for Growing Your Brand Through Strategic Partnerships

  

 

[1] Matt Granite, Money Expert, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20QoVsWsD58 ‘The top 5 companies for customer service’. April 2015

[2] 24/7 Wall Street, http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/generalmoney/the-2015-customer-service-hall-of-shame-and-fame/ar-AAdiO5T, ‘ Companies with the best customer service’, July 2015

[3] Shep Hyken, customer service and experience expert, 24/7 Wall St.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2015/07/24/24-7-wall-st-customer-service-hall-fame/30599943/, August 2015

[4] Matt Granite, Money Expert, http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/04/22/save-of-the-week-best-customer-service/26180985/, ‘The top 5 companies for customer service’. April 2015

[5] Which? Survey, http://www.which.co.uk/home-and-garden/shopping-grooming-and-wellbeing/reviews-ns/best-and-worst-brands-for-customer-service/100-big-brands-rated-for-customer-service/, ‘Best and worst brands for customer service: 100 big brands rated for customer service’, May 2015

[6] Brittney Helmrich, Business News Daily, http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7578-social-media-customer-service.html#sthash.pFzb6Eu5.dpuf, 10 Companies That Totally Rock Customer Service on Social Media’, December 2014

[7] Matt Granite, Money Expert, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20QoVsWsD58 ‘The top 5 companies for customer service’. April 2015

[8] STELLA BENCHMARKS, https://stellaservice.com/benchmarks/, 2015

[9]   24/7 Wall Street, http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/generalmoney/the-2015-customer-service-hall-of-shame-and-fame/ar-AAdiO5T, ‘ Companies with the best customer service’, July 2015 

 

 

The Power of Disruptor Brands and Challenger Brands

These days, it’s all about disruption. In tiny Davos, Switzerland, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” was the central theme of the 2016 World Economic Forum, designed to engage thought leaders to prepare us for the “next big thing.”

The proposition is that we are on the cusp of a new era fundamentally changing the way we work and live. Vast technological changes brought on by digitalization are disrupting conventional business practices and social norms, states the economic forum founder, Professor Klaus Schwab, in his essay published by the Council on Foreign Affairs.[1]

      Quotes From World Economic Forum 2016

Image via www.weforum.org

Enter Innovator Brands

A 2015 survey by Brand Keys on behalf of Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network indicates that household brand names are being replaced by innovative game changers, and they’re gaining respect with mainstream consumers. “Nimble startups compete with legacy enterprises,” say 98 percent of those asked and “the disruption is severe,” indicate 37 percent. Furthermore, there is a “distinct correlation” between perceived innovation and a company’s bottom line results, according to the study.[2]

Start Up Innovation Infographic 600px

Image via www.bpinetwork.org

Challenger Versus Disruptor Brands

The terms challenger brand and disruptor brand are not interchangeable. Challenger brands bring innovation, enhancements, new pricing, or other tweaks (diet soda, dishwasher tablets, boy and girl nappies) to an existing marketplace.

Disruptors enter a marketplace and completely set heads spinning. When eBay appeared, for example, it was difficult for many people to accept paying online in advance for an item from a stranger and simply trusting it would arrive in the post. When email gained traction, traditional mail service was rattled and companies were required to re-define legalities in their terms and conditions. And when Airbnb was introduced, the hotel industry was more than mildly shocked; cities are still attempting to define tax issues.

  Deliveroo Airbnb 600px

Image via www.preweek.com

A Shift to the Customer Interface

The battle for today’s customer is occurring in the digital interface between product and consumer. As Tom Goodwin, senior vice president of strategy and innovation at Havas Media, explains, “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.”[3]

 Tech Company Hierarchy

Image via www.reddit.com

These companies fill a connector space between product and people. These brands are the jam in the sandwich between the customer and the business. Furthermore, Goodwin points out that this new breed of interface companies (Uber, YouTube, Airbnb, Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, Google) are the fastest-growing in history. All of them began as challenger brands.

 

What is a Challenger Brand?

From the original biblical tale, best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell borrows a title, “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants,” reminding us that compelling storytelling has long been at the heart of a challenge. In brand marketing today, some famous challenges fall into the hero/underdog sort (Coke vs. Pepsi, Avis vs. Hertz; McDonalds vs. Burger King); others make into it a three-way contest, or even a Big Four fight (Tesco, ASDA, Sainsbury, Morrison’s).

Still other challenger brands enter a crowded category or endeavour to maintain challenger momentum once it starts to fade. Enter the game changers, disrupting the status quo by creating altogether new categories (Match.com, Uber, Airbnb), thus far a hallmark of 21st century disruptor brands.

In discussing the rise of the challenger brand, CMO of Adobe points out, “Essentially, the heart of a challenger brand is the passion, process, and tools they use to create and magnify customer advocacy.” Reflect on those overnight queues snaking around the Apple Store in anticipation of new product releases. “The heart of challenger brands’ success is their ability to turn emotion and affinity into a customer acquisition machine.”[4]

Purpose = Purchase = Profitability

    Apple Store Lines 600px

Image via Rob DiCaterino, Flickr CC2.0

Challenger brand experts Adam Morgan and Mark Holden wrote a book on the subject, “Overthrow: Ten Ways to Tell a Challenger Story,” (with all profits going to UNICEF). In it, they list 10 types that represent the challenger brand state-of-mind. These brief descriptions may help you evaluate and identify your own brand’s personality, purpose and positioning.

  • The Irreverent Maverick

Shock and awe counts more than playing by the rules. This challenger type is big on attitude and best have a big budget for flashy PR, interactive sales tactics and legal advisors. Think Red Bull.

  • The Missionary

The core message is critical for this brand which identifies a need to do something better. The authors suggest. “Think of Al-Jazeera looking to ‘redress the balance’ in media coverage of the Middle East.

  • The Next Generation

Daring to call out the market leader as being old fashioned, this challenger seeks to position itself as very much here and now, totally relevant to today’s cultural trends. Emirates Airline, Euro Star and GoPro are examples.

  • The Democratiser

Sharing great design, catwalk looks and labels is the function of this challenger brand. Often seen in retailing, the purpose is to challenge elitist brands. The right influencers are often part of the equation to deliver street cred. Think H&M.

  • The Real and Human Challenger

Using people as a company resource, this brand breathes life into a dead category, fires up consumers’ imaginations. In the UK, Innocent (little tasty drinks), are those guys who drive around in those cow camouflage vehicles or Hungry Grassy Vans.

  • The Enlightened Zagger

Less fashionable is fine for brands that swim against the tide and challenge conventional wisdom. A brand challenge from Camper shoes mixed it up by suggesting that we walk, rather than run.

  • The Visionary

Big, bold and beautiful is the vision — but never boring. A visionary challenge brings a higher purpose and an emotional connection to the brand, Lady Gaga comes to mind.

  • The Game Changer

An entry into a category that’s unlike anything consumers have seen before is a game changer. The designers think outside the box. Steve Jobs brought game changers to categories from personal computing to phones, cameras and music.

  • The People’s Champion

This brand’s founder/CEO may act as the people’s champion, suggesting the public suffers an inferior service or product from everyone else in a category. The people’s champion puts a friendly face to the shakeup, using humour like Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson.

  • The Feisty Underdog

Here’s the David versus Goliath story in all its storytelling glory. It’s us versus them in the style of Avis Car Rental which adopted the slogan “We try harder. We’re #2,” a unique tagline that garnered empathy during its 50-year run.

 

  

  

Examples of Successful Challenger Brands

What do eggless mayonnaise, furniture in a box, bagless vacuum cleaners and fashionable spectacles have in common with driverless electric cars and return rockets for colonizing Mars? From aspirational to mainstream and from ideation to manufacture, challenger brands can change the world. Once a brand does achieve commercial success, a new set of opportunities comes into play in order to stay fresh edgy, and relevant, maintaining a challenger brand mentality as a bigger brand player.

1. Hampton Creek

Josh Tetrick, founder of this plant-based food maker, believes that industrialized egg and meat production is unsustainable. Hamptons Creek’s leading product, Just Mayo, is an egg-free spread that’s about making foods with less water, land, and carbon emissions. This is a brand that proves the business case for CSR and social responsibility.

   Hampton Creek Just Mayo 600px

Image via www.hamptoncreek.com

Since 2011, Tetrick has attracted funding from 12 billionaire investors, including Bill Gates, and shot to the top of several lists of innovative companies shaping the future of food.[5] The Guardian reports that Silicon Valley investors are pouring “serious cash into ersatz animal products. Their goal is to transform the food system the same way Apple changed how we use phones, or Google changed the way we find information.”[6]

2. IKEA

With 373 stores in 47 countries, no one would call Ikea a small company. Yet, it was born as a challenger concept in the back woods of Sweden in the 1940s: inexpensive flat-packed furniture for self-assembly, sold via a catalogue and warehouse showroom.[7] By remaining functional, simple, and design-led, Ikea has managed a harmonious marriage built on durable pillars of inexpensive, yet decent quality. Partnering with UNICEF among three dozen other NGOs and IGOs, IKEA Foundation[8] is considered the world’s largest charitable foundation, with an estimated net worth of $36 billion.

 Ikea Unicef Soft Toy Thank You

Image via www.ikeafoundation.org

3. Warby Parker

Four business school grads asked: Why is eyewear so costly? With US $2,500 in seed money from their university, they founded Warby Parker[9] in 2010, shaking up the supply chain dominated by one company. The challenger brand designs and manufactures fashionable spectacles in-house and provides eyewear via its innovative e-commerce site. The Home Try-On program comes with a free no-questions-asked return policy at a fraction of the price. For every pair of eyeglasses that’s sold, Warby Parker donates the funds to donate one pair to charity, currently over one million pairs of glasses.[10] CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility sits at the heart of this very compelling brand. The company is currently valued at US $1.2 billion.

4. Dyson

A few years ago, nobody (except James Dyson) imagined a vacuum cleaner without a vacuum cleaner bag that could operate by centrifugal force. Dyson worked for five years experimenting on 5,179 prototypes before taking a product to the marketplace. With research and design at its core, Dyson machines now include hand dryers, lighting and air treatments that are available in 65 countries. More than 1,000 engineers continually work on inventions.[11] The James Dyson Foundation sponsors design engineering students with scholarships and awards in the UK, USA and Japan.[12]

 James Dyson Dyson School Of Design Engineering

Image via www.jamesdysonfoundation.co.uk

5. Tesla Motors

Inventor, engineer and investor, self-made billionaire Elon Musk has a stable of disruptive products across multiple industries. From artificial intelligence to solar power to reusable rockets for space exploration, Tesla Motors electric cars are Musk’s best-known challenger brand. His entire stable of companies exist to contribute to Musk’s overarching vision: protecting Earth and humankind via sustainable energy sources and reducing the risk of human extinction by becoming a multi-planetary species. “Really pay attention to negative feedback,” is one of this entrepreneur’s top tips. Next up? “I really want to go to Mars,” says Musk, “It’s a fixer-upper of a planet.”[13]

A View from the Challenger Brand Grave

No stranger to failure, Steve Jobs said in his 2005 Stanford University commencement speech, “You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”[14]

And for challenger brands which do reach their goal, they must innovate, innovate, innovate. Success has a great way of dulling the keen edge of ambition; challenger brands can reach a comfort zone of complacency and constant change is the only answer.

Questions to consider

• Are you clear on the differences between a challenger brand and the need for a rebranding?

  

• Is your brand focused on a well-defined purpose?

  

• Have you figured out what you’re challenging and crafted a story that explains why?

  

• Do you have a fresh, imaginative, and stimulating idea, product or service, that you’re now ready to develop using brand profiling which provides your roadmap for bringing it life — making it distinctive, different and memorable so your primary audience can’t resist it?

  

• Do you have the ambitious challenger brand mentality? Are you a risk-taker at heart?

  

• Does your challenger brand represent a positive value for consumers?

  

• Do you have the conviction that your brand is something that will leave the world better off? Are you ready to leave an amazing legacy that changes peoples’ lives, and makes them better forever?

 

 

You may also like:

   

Brand Profiling: How Brand Performance and Purpose are Inextricably Linked

 

Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling  

 

The Profit Power of Cult Brands, Why and How to Create One

 

Brand Profiling: How to Use Emotion to Make Your Brand More Profitable

 

Brand Audits: 10 Things Successful Brand Owners and Managers Must Know  

 

Brand Revitalisation and Relaunch: The do’s and don’ts of doing it successfully!

 

Brand CSR: The Business Case for Successful Branding and Social Good

 

Co-Branding: 13 Tips for Growing Your Brand Through Strategic Partnerships

 

 

[1] https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2015-12-12/fourth-industrial-revolution

[2] http://www.bpinetwork.org/thought-leadership/views-commentary/395/new_digital_disruptors_that_gratify_and_excite_consumers_eclipse_tech_brand_incumbents_in_innovation_rankings

[3] http://techcrunch.com/2015/03/03/in-the-age-of-disintermediation-the-battle-is-all-for-the-customer-interface/#.wp0rsdo:0sCd

[4] http://www.cmo.com/articles/2013/12/3/rise_of_the_challeng.html

[5] https://www.facebook.com/hamptoncreek/info/?tab=page_info

[6] https://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/feb/14/silicon-valley-hack-food-industry

[7] http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_GB/about_ikea/our_business_idea/index.html

[8] http://www.ikeafoundation.org

[9] https://www.warbyparker.com/history

[10] https://www.warbyparker.com/buy-a-pair-give-a-pair

[11] http://www.dyson.com/community/aboutdyson.aspx

[12] http://www.jamesdysonfoundation.com

[13] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV6hP9wpMW8

[14] http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html

   

   

Brand CSR: The Business Case for Successful Branding and Social Good

According to a Nielsen poll of consumers in 60 countries, 55 percent of purchasers are willing to pay more for products and services from companies that do their part to encourage positive social and environmental impacts.[1]

 

Clearly, corporate social responsibility influences buying preferences, but how else is it important? We’ll examine the answer to that question below.

 

  Corporate Social Responsibility 600px

Image via www.huffpost.com

 

 

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

 

Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, occurs when companies take into account the sociological, financial and environmental impacts its actions have in the world and decides to ensure its actions make a positive impact. [2].

  

Some business experts have simplified the definition of CSR even further to suggest it encompasses everything a company actively does to have a positive impact on society.

 

There are numerous types of CSR, such as:

 

  • Philanthropy
  • Production Improvements
  • Better Conditions for Workers
  • Sustainability
  • Community Enrichment
  • Diversity in Hiring Practices
  • Supporting Companies with Similar Values

 

Typically, the manner in which a company engages in CSR is closely aligned with its brand strategy, brand values, positioning, primary audience and industry sector. For example, a clothing manufacturer might iron out a CSR plan that improves working conditions in factories located in developing countries, while an establishment that makes paper products might commit to CSR that ensures the world’s most at-risk forests are protected and regenerated.

 

 

Why is CSR Good for Business?

 

Although many corporate leaders are encouraged by the aforementioned statistic that shows a company’s involvement in CSR may mean a customer is willing to pay more for its services, they usually require stronger beneficial commercial evidence before taking further action.

 

However, they don’t need to look very far before uncovering some of the numerous other benefits linked to CSR, including: [3]

 

 

  • Happier Staff: Employees take pride in working for a company that supports the greater good through worthy actions and happier staff are more productive and better brand ambassadors

 

  • More Informed Customers: If your company announces a CSR strategy, the associated plans could potentially result in a more transparent organization which in turn typically results in more loyal customers.

 

Research shows customers want to know more about the things they buy, product or service, than ever before. For example, a study published by IBM noted 59 percent of American consumers and 57 percent of consumers from the United Kingdom have become more informed about the foods they buy and eat over the two years prior to the study’s publication.[4] 

 

In other words, customers’ predisposition to buy, product or service, is becoming increasingly influenced by an organization’s authenticity, openness and commitment to the greater good.

 

  • Reduced Costs: CSR can cut costs by helping companies become aware of and minimize risks, plus improve the efficiency of their supply chains.

 

  • Improved Competitiveness: In a challenging marketplace, a worthwhile CSR plan could carve out a more solid place with a unique positioning for a company to thrive.

 

  • Better Public Relations and Reputation Management: A CSR plan gives a company a platform through which to promote good things like community involvement, donations to charities and other big-hearted gestures.

 

 

 

Developing an Effective Corporate Responsibility Plan for Your Brand

 

In order to launch a CSR plan that’s good for business and engages genuinely with your stakeholders, it must be carefully crafted. The key is to strike a balance between benefiting society at large, and benefitting the business. [5] Doing that means:

 

  Business Idea Action Plan 600px

 

 

  • Evaluating how and where the business can have the greatest societal impact without taxing the company’s leadership and resources. This frequently involves scrutinizing the company’s existing competencies. Those strengths can provide clues to possible CSR strategies that are revealed after tapping into existing skillsets.

  

  • Cultivating a deep understanding of how certain actions could help the business while simultaneously supporting the chosen causes. This often also necessitates having an open heart and mind while listening to feedback from stakeholders.

  

  • Aligning with partners can propel your desired efforts and help bring goals to fruition. Ideally, adopting a long-term mindset when forming collaborative CSR relationships is best for all concerned.

  

  • Ensure business objectives and CSR goals match up. If there is a disconnect between these two components, your CSR activities risk being time-consuming and lacking the power needed to make lasting changes.

  

  

Examples of Brand CSR Strategies That Have Worked Well, and Why

 

Now you have a deeper understanding of what corporate social responsibility is and how to start formulating your own plan, let’s look at the characteristics of some successful CSR programs with companies that are excelling in their CSR endeavors [6]. You can then use these actionable tips to drive your own brand CSR inspiration.

 

CSR experts agree all successful CSR programmes typically have:

  • clear objectives
  • measurable outcomes
  • well-developed theories for how to achieve the desired goals
  • sufficient information for stakeholders about why causes are worth pursuing
  • dedicated and highly focused efforts from the entire company
  • a willingness to partner with credible experts.

 

 

Let’s look at a few case studies that detail some stellar CSR successes.

 

APS Group

This UK-based SME spent years ironing out its CSR strategy. Lacking the resources to hire a dedicated CSR team, the company found employees who were willing to champion the company’s CSR causes, which include education and supplier sustainability.

 

  

  

  

  

Media clips from the company place a strong emphasis on making things possible for clients that they would not be able to achieve alone, as does the company’s published document about its CSR initiatives. Through CSR efforts, it can also be strongly argued the company is living out its “Make More Possible” slogan by enabling the people and organizations affected by the causes it supports. APS Group is a great example of how even if a company thinks creating a CSR plan is a daunting task, success is still within reach. [8]

 

 

Method

This brand of cleaning products uses natural ingredients such as coconut oil and soy. Furthermore, the products’ packaging is environmentally responsible and biodegradable. Since the company boasts over $100 million in revenue annually, that is proof “green” products can be commercially viable.

  

   Method Cleaning 600px

Image via www.methodhome.com

 

 

Furthermore, Method demonstrates CSR focuses do not have to be separate from the products you make. Some media clips from the company that details its CSR focuses specifically highlight input from industry experts to make a bigger impact.

 

  

 

  

  

LUSH Cosmetics

This company sells bathing and beauty products filled with natural ‘Fair Trade’ ingredients. The brand’s Charity Pot is sold to benefit a rotating assortment of non-profit organizations. All proceeds from the Charity Pot go directly to the chosen groups, resulting in millions of dollars raised. [10]

 

The packaging is just one indicator of how easy it is for people to support good causes by purchasing these black, lotion-filled containers. LUSH uses the labels on the top of pots to inform consumers who the recipients are by clearly stating the designated charity concerned.

  

   Lush Pot Lids 600px

Image via www.lush.co.uk

  

  

The brand also has a fund that supports communities which produce fairly traded goods. It was launched in 2010 and borne from a desire the company had to do something more than just use fair-trade ingredients in their products whenever possible. [11]

   

 

  

   

 

Charting the Results of Your CSR Strategy

 

It can sometimes appear somewhat difficult to determine with certainty whether your CSR strategies have achieved the desired outcomes. One of the more effective ways you can answer that question is by engaging an independent research firm, with specialist expertise, to rank certain aspects of a company’s CSR performance, from human rights to the environment and community. [12]

 

Additionally, you can check effectiveness through various metrics [13] such as:

 

  • Environmental indices for pollution or air/water/soil quality
  • Quality and quantity of mentions in media outlets
  • Measurements for the quality of life within a society, such as literacy rates, life expectancy and incidences of disease, plus mental, physical and emotional heath. The latter could be gauged through feedback surveys given to workers
  • Indicators of the company’s economic health by way of profits, growth, and stability, before and after a CSR campaign launches

 

 

Statistics 600px

 

 

In conclusion, customers are becoming increasingly hyper-conscious of how and where they spend their money. Recent research also indicates this trend is strongest among Millennials, the largest consumer segment in terms of buying power. [14] Specifically, 91 percent of Millennials actively switch to brands that support a worthy cause, and abandon the brands that aren’t perceived to have an authentic contribution policy.

 

In addition to boosting your customer base and potential profits, a well-developed CSR plan could strengthen your relationship with suppliers, increase competitiveness in the marketplace and help you cut costs by becoming more aware of risks. Therefore, many business leaders have come to realize it’s short sighted to not be involved in corporate social responsibility.

    

Key Takeaways

 

  • Customers are typically willing to pay more for products from companies associated with strong CSR brand strategies
  • CSR goals vary depending on a company’s values and the composition of their stakeholders
  • A good CSR plan should both benefit the business and help society
  • The CSR plan must align with a company’s business objectives
  • Expert individuals or notable groups can help improve CSR strategy success
  • Metrics and independent research groups can evaluate whether a CSR plan is working well

 

Have you integrated a CSR strategy into your organization? If not, it might be a good idea to take a look at how CSR could benefit all concerned.

  

Questions to Consider

  

  • Does your company have well-defined core competencies that could translate into areas of CSR focus?

  

  • How motivated are your stakeholders to pursue a CSR plan?

 

  • Are there obstacles that might delay CSR-related brand strategy plans?

  

  • Have you thought about how to tackle negative responses from stakeholders that CSR is not currently worthwhile?

 

  • Which measurement methods will you consider using to verify your CSR brand strategy effectiveness?

 

 

You may also like:

 

• What Customers Want: Top 16 Branding Trends in 2016

  

• Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling

    

• Brand Profiling: Top 6 Components to Creating a Strong Brand Personality

  

• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success  

 

• Brand Personality: Is Your Brand’s Character Big Enough to Compete?

  

• Millennial Branding: 6 Ways Your Brand Can Appeal to Millennial Customers 

 

• Co-Branding: 13 Tips for Growing Your Brand Through Strategic Partnerships 

 

Video Brand Strategy: Top 11 Tips for How and Why You Need to Use Video

     

[1] http://www.nielsen.com, “Global Consumers Are Willing to Put Their Money Where Their Heart Is When it Comes to Goods and Services from Companies Committed to Social Responsibility”, June 2014

[2] http://toolkit.smallbiz.nsw.gov.au, “What is Corporate Social Responsibility?”

[3] http://www.csrinpractice.com, “What is Corporate Social Responsibility?”

[4] George Pohle and Jeff Hittner, https://www-935.ibm.com, “Attaining Sustainable Growth Through Corporate Responsibility.”, 2008

[5] Tracey Keys, Thomas W. Malnight, and Kees van der Graaf, http://www.mckinsey.com, “Making the Most of Corporate Social Responsibility” June 2009

[6] Frederick E. Allen, http://www.forbes.com, “The Five Elements of the Best CSR Programs.” April 2011.

[7] http://www.theapsgroup.com/who-we-are/corporate-social-responsibility/

[8] Lisa Henshaw, http://www.theguardian.com, “How SMEs Can Engage in Social Responsibility Programmes,” December 2011.

[9] http://www.inc.com, “How Two Friends Built a $100 Million Company”

[10] Helaina Hovitz, http://www.forbes.com, “Following the Millions in LUSH’s ‘Charity Pot’. December 2014

[11] https://www.lush.co.uk/.  “Introducing the SLush Fund”

[12] Tima Bansal, Natalie Slawinski, Cara Maurer, Natalie Slawinski, Cara Maurer. http://www.iveybusinessjournal.com, “Beyond Good Intentions: Strategies for Managing Your CSR Performance” January/February 2008.

[13] Katherine N. Lemon, John H. Roberts, Priya Raghubir and Russell S. Winter, http://www.philoma.org. “A Stakeholder-Based Approach: Measuring the Effects of Corporate Social Responsibility”, 2011.

[14] www.conecomm.com, “New Cone Communications Research Confirms Millennials as America’s Most Ardent CSR Supporters,” September 2015.

  

Top 10 Packaging Trends for 2016

According to a 2013 publication by EY, the global consumer packaging market is valued at approximately $400 billion. That figure balloons to $500 billion when industrial end markets are included. [1]

 

Packaging is clearly a big business, but it’s not just about the materials that cover a product or protect it prior to purchase. First and foremost packaging must grab the attention of its primary audience, stand out from the competition and create a compelling reason to buy.

 

Packaging must sell the brand proposition and how it can enhance the purchaser’s life, present the product or contents to best effect, fulfill statutory and mandatory requirements, protect contents, help the purchaser use and store the contents appropriately.[2] People buy with emotion first and justify with rational afterwards, regardless of gender or cultural background, so your packaging must touch the heart if you want to move the mind.

 

Below, we’ll look at combination of 10 emerging and continuing packaging trends for 2016.

 

1. Packaging with Hand-Drawn Labels

 

Last month I wrote about ‘What Customers Want: Top 16 Branding Trends for 2016’ and in that article I touched on key trends in the brand arena for the year ahead; personalized, authentic, humanized, interactive, transparency, engaging, and mobile. Packaging is in effect at the sharp edge of these trends too.

 

Shoppers are gravitating towards brands that convey authenticity and that’s often very effectively conveyed with ‘hand done’ or ‘hand finished’ details. With that in mind, some companies have redesigned their brand packaging to feature carefully hand-drawn labels. The High Weald Brewery is one example. Made in Sussex, England, these artisan brews feature packaging that commands attention [3] and complements the upscale beverages inside, plus conveys warmth that implies the distinctive labels weren’t just hastily made or mass produced as an afterthought.

    

   High Weald Brewery 600px

Image via www.highwealdbrewery.co.uk

  

 

2. Personalized Packaging

 

Although this trend emerged in 2014, it shows no signs of slowing down. Coca-Cola led the way with bottles that read, “Share a Coke with…” and featured a person’s name. As the trend gained popularity, the labels became more generic and featured names such as “Mom” and “a Friend”. Now, Coca-Cola has a designated website where people can buy personalized Coke bottles.

 

Nutella, a brand of popular hazelnut spread, has also followed suit by creating packaging with names.  As of October 2015, customers in the UK can request free personalized labels after purchasing Nutella. 

 

 

3. Metal Packaging You Can Microwave

 

Dutch students helped create premium packaging for Emmi, a Swiss dairy brand. Available as part of a ready-to-use fondue kit, the package consists of a metal bowl that can be microwaved or placed in a traditional oven, thanks to a special food-safe lacquer. [4]

 

 

 Emmi Fondu Tulip Karton 400g Usa 600px

Image via www.packworld.com

 

 

Emmi wanted to keep its brand strong with packaging that encouraged differentiation, and has received critical acclaim for this innovation. It may encourage other companies to develop similarly forward-thinking packages in 2016.

 

 

4. Packaging Gets Increasingly Convenient for Customers and Consuming Food

 

Since consumers increasingly lack free time, many large companies have endeavoured to help them cook dinner as easily as possible. Some smaller establishments are also meeting that growing need.  One such venture is The Black Farmer, also based in the UK.

 

Case Study: The Black Farmer

 

Run by Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, The Black Farmer offers premium meats, including gluten-free options — another growing food trend. It recently announced a pork loin roast that cooks in the package and includes a special blend of spices. [5]

 

 

 The Black Farmer Pork Loin Roast In The Bag 600px

Image via www.theblackfarmer.com

 

 

Jones says research has shown consumers are not confident enough cooking pork at home because they’re not sure how to do it well. The roast-in-the-bag design cooks the pork in less than an hour, and most importantly does not require preparation.

  

 

 

 

This convenience is commonly offered for chicken, but The Black Farmer is the first brand to enter the pork market with such packaging. Translucent material makes it easy to see the contents, while this concept appeals to people who want quick dinners but won’t sacrifice high quality for convenience.

 

 

5. Materials and Structure Are More Than What They Seem

 

Global Closure Systems has engineered a new type of plastic material that mimics the look and feel of glass. These shatterproof containers have two layers and are more efficient to produce than previous kinds of containers made by GCS.[6] Not only is the packaging more pleasing to the eye compared to plastic, but it’s also safer for consumers since it’s less vulnerable to breakage.

  

  

 Global Closure Systems1112

Image via www.packagingeurope.com

 

 

Additionally, Sonoco has developed a package with a metal top and an easy-to-open pull tab, plus clear plastic sides so consumers can see inside.  Called the TrueVue Can, the BPA-free product has a customizable height and wall thickness, so manufacturers can request packaging that shows off their products effectively.

 

 

Tru Vue Plastic Can 600px 

Image via www.sonoco.com

 

  

 

6. Snack Packaging On-The-Go Becomes Handier

 

Last summer, the Hormel Foods Corporation expanded its brand of Skippy peanut butter by offering peanut butter-inspired snacks featuring a crunchy center with a soft peanut butter coating. They’re sold in clear plastic containers that not only make the snacks easy to consumer on the go, but enable customers to view them before purchasing.  However, it’s not the only product appealing to snack lovers who crave convenience.

 

Case Study: Walgreens

 

Walgreens followed Hormel Food Corporation’s lead by upgrading its private-label packages of premium nuts. Specifically, a section of the container is removable to allow consumers to use it as a single-serving bowl. The portability and versatility of the new packaging saw sales grow by 23 percent, and helped it earn a gold medal at the National Association of Container Distributors (NACD) Packaging Awards last year. [7]

  

  

 Walgreensnuts 500px

Image via www.chiefpackagingofficer.com

 

  

7. Increasing Prevalence of Recyclable – Coffee Pods

 

Last spring, Keurig began making recyclable coffee pods, much to the delight of eco-friendly consumers. [8]  In November, news broke that Wolfgang Puck would do the same. [9]  

 

 

  

 

 

These more sustainable forms of packaging follow a growing trend, not only amongst consumer preferences but are also at a statutory and industry level in response to the even more pressing environmental issues associated with excessive packaging, pollution and landfill. By introducing this Earth-conscious functionality, brands are signaling consumers can still enjoy preferred products without being wasteful.

 

 

 Wolfgang Puck 500px

Image via www.packagingdigest.com

 

 

It also potentially becomes a more transparent and honest part of their CSR brand strategy, a factor which has a huge impact on Millennials’ decisions to purchase a brand. In fact it’s worth noting that six out of ten Millennials feel personally responsible for making a difference — all of which impacts their brand choices. 90 percent of Millennials actively purchase brands associated with a cause and half of Millennial consumers will abandon a brand if they disagree with the company’s ethics.

  

 

8. Packaging That Makes It Clear How Consumers Can Give Back – CSR

 

Expect to see a larger amount of packaging that spells out how consumers can make a difference by buying a particular product. Piggy Bank Wines, for example, gives 25 cents from every bottle sold to one of three charities.

  

   Piggy Bank Wines Home Pg 600px

Image via www.piggybankwine.com

 

  

The packaging features a QR code consumers can scan so they can vote for their favorite of the three organizations. Once the charitable fund reaches $5,000, voting ceases and the money is distributed accordingly.

 

 

Case Study: SoapBox

 

In a similar CSR-related vein, the SoapBox company features a “Hope Code” on its packaging that users can use to find out where the profits from that product are going. [10] Every code is unique, meaning people can theoretically support a different charitable cause with each purchase.

 

   Soap Box Soaps 600px

Image via www.soapboxsoaps.com

 

  

Fittingly, all the company’s charitable efforts focus on sanitation needs and clean water. This outreach matches the brand’s focus and is an inherent part of it’s brand values, all of which helps encourage its primary customers to embrace the cause and the brand.

  

  

  

  

  

9. Packaging That Makes Product Dispensing Simpler

 

The makers of Daisy Sour Cream have released a new package for its product that allows consumers to dispense the ingredient without a spoon. Fitted with a flexible valve, the package makes it easy to dispense the right portion size. Also, the foil package fits in a refrigerator door, ensuring it maintains front of sight visibility for consumer and encouraging consumption before the expiration date.  [11]

 

 

 Daisy Sour Cream

Image via www.daisybrand.com

 

 

In 2016, it’s more likely brand owners will increasingly use packaging more imaginatively and in new ways to give them a more competitive edge to ultimately increase profitability.

 

  

10. More Beer Packaging May Include Nutrition Facts

 

In the United States, it’s voluntary for beer manufacturers to include nutrition facts on packaging. As you may expect, nutritional content is most often highlighted on brews touted as low calorie.

 

The concern with calories has also attracted attention in the United Kingdom. [12] The Local Government Association (LGA) is a lobbying group representing more than 350 councils. It argues alcohol is contributing to the obesity crisis, and consumers generally don’t realize how many calories alcohol contains. It remains to be seen what’ll happen with alcohol packaging in the UK.

   

It’s clear from the trends above that packaging does much more than just protect merchandise before it’s sold, or inform people about the products inside. It assists customers in making the right choice, it makes it easier for consumers to use the product, which may inspire greater loyalty, helps buyers do good by giving back and even make us admire how far science has come through new, high-tech packaging solutions.

  

Key Takeaways

 

  • Ideally, successful packaging must be visually pleasing, communicate the brand’s key message effectively and be user friendly — done well, it’s multi-purpose in its design both functionally and aesthetically

 

  • Appealing to consumers’ desire for convenience is a worthwhile strategy, if that packaging intent doesn’t undermine the perceived value of the brand

 

  • Societal trends, such as increased giving with active CSR brand strategies or recycling, will increasingly influence packaging trends

 

  • Simplicity, both in the way a package looks and functions in terms of ease of use, is a growing trend with consumers looking for brands with a sense of the more authentic, transparent and ‘responsible’ commitments to society

 

   

Questions to Consider

 

  • What are the technical and operational needs required for your brand’s future packaging? Have you adequately invested in those areas or conducted a brand audit to evaluate your changing market requirements?

  

  • Have you sought feedback from your primary customer to find out about the kind of improvements they’d like to see in your brand and its packaging, and how they feel about those planned changes if your considering rebranding?

 

  • Recyclable coffee pods are examples of how well-known brands adapted to societal trends. Have you considered how your brand could do the same?

 

  • SoapBox judiciously combines its CSR strategy with innovative packaging design. How might your brand follow suit?

 

  • Personalization is an increasingly important brand trend but for packaging it can be prohibitively expensive. Are there ways you could tap into this growing trend and leverage it in a way that’s more cost effective?

 

 

You may also like:

  

• What Customers Want: Top 16 Branding Trends in 2016

  

• Packaging Design: Top 16 Tips for Great Eye-Catching Packaging Design

    

• Packaging Design: How to Make it into an Irresistible Customer Brand Magnet

  

• Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling

   

• Limited Edition Packaging: How to Use it as Part of Your Brand Strategy

  

• Brand Profiling: Top 6 Components to Creating a Strong Brand Personality

    

• Packaging Design: How It Can Make or Break Your Brand

  

• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success  

  

• Colour Psychology: Cracking the Colour Code for Profitable Branding

  

• Brand Personality: Is Your Brand’s Character Big Enough to Compete?

 

[1] http://www.ey.com, “Unwrapping the Packing Industry: Seven Factors for Success”, 2013.

[2] Simon Preece, http://www.forbes.com, “The Five Things Product Packaging Must Do”, July 2014.

[3] http://www.thedieline.com, “High Weald Brewery”, November 2015.

[4] Anne Marie Mohan, http://www.packworld.com, “Microwavable Metal Bowl Developed for Ready to (H)eat Fondue”, December 2015.

[5]  http://www.foodbev.com, “The Black Farmer Launches Roast-in-the-Bag Pork Loin Joints”, December 2015.

[6] http://www.packagingeurope.com, “Global Closure Systems Provides ‘Glass-Like’ Plastic Jar,” November 2015.

[7] http://www.chiefpackagingofficer.com, “New Nut Container Upgrades Walgreens Private Label Snack Packaging,” December 2015.

[8]  http://www.businesswire.com, Keurig Makes Coffee-To-Go Easier with Launch of K-Mug Pods,” March 2015.

[9] Kate Bertrand Connolly, http://www.packagingdigest.com, Wolfgang Puck Switches to Recyclable Pods,” November 2015.

[10] Kate Bertrand Connolly, http://www.packagingdigest.com “SoapBox’s HopeCode Shows Consumers How Their Purchases Are Helping,” June 2015.

[11] Dave Johnson, http://www.packagingstrategies.com, “Daisy Turns Sour Cream Upside Down with New Flexible Package,” December 2015.

[12] Seb Joseph, http://www.thedrum.com, “Alcohol Packaging Should Sport Calorie Labels, Warn LGA”, January 2016.