Starbucks and other "experience brands" need to evolve into the age of brand meaning quickly. Why? Because the brands that win today are ones that drive social agendas.
Tag: social agenda
Ford's corporate citizenship effort, The People's Fleet, is returning to Los Angeles this summer. Launched in LA last September, Ford will once again provide non-profit organizations (apply online here, or ping the organizers on Twitter) with their own 2012 Ford Focus for three months.
Well, that didn't last very long. About a month after announcing a major exclusive deal with retailer Target, Lady Gaga has dissolved the partnership citing Target's corporate culture of anti-gay rights political donations.
Design is an inescapable dimension of human activity. To adapt one of my favorite quotes by Reyner Banham, like the weather it is always there, but we speak about it only when it is exceptionally bad or exceptionally good.
The 800-pound gorilla — or, more precisely, $405-billion behemoth — of global retailing is entering the “locally produced” derby. And locally produced food probably never will be the same. Wal-Mart plans to dramatically increase the locally grown produce it purchases from U.S. farmers over the next five years. And in emerging markets including China and India, the ever-expansive chain plans to sell $1 billion worth of food grown by a million small and medium farmers – and, to boot, train them in using water, pesticides and fertilizer more efficiently.
Today, Stonyfield Farm, the organic yogurt company, is unveiling a new packaging solution: A yogurt cup made from corn. It's not the first revolution in yogurt cups, or the first packaging innovation made from corn. But Stonyfield's journey to today is a case study in sustainability, innovation, persistence, and systems thinking that I think is worth sharing.
According to Giving USA Foundation chair Edith H. Falk, “In addition to support from individuals and foundations, some nonprofits received exceptional support from the corporate sector, which included billions of dollars’ worth of in-kind donations, particularly from information technology firms and pharmaceutical manufacturers.” This is great news, of course. But, do you have to be a big corporation to do good? From cause marketing, to grants, to buying tables at fund-raising events, businesses of all types are flying their corporate social responsibility flags by investing in their communities. And why?
It's not exactly about cars, but Ford Motor's latest Sustainability Report might matter to people who are rethinking not just the products they use but the companies that make them, perhaps more so now in light of the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico.
PepsiCo has come up with a novel plan to reduce the water consumption in its factories. It aims to recycle the water extracted from potatoes to run its potato chip plants in the UK. 80% of a potato is water and PepsiCo uses around 350,000 tons of potatoes annually.
BP isn't all bad any more than Petrobras is all good. But, unlike Petrobras (and its informal boss), BP seems to have forgotten the number-one rule in marketing and management: walk the talk. BP is a victim of a disingenuous ad campaign that worked too well, and you have to wonder if its reputation will ever fully recover. Writing in HBR in 2007, reputational risk consultant Robert Eccles and his co-authors presciently noted, "When the reputation of a company is more positive than its underlying reality, this gap poses a substantial risk...BP appears to be learning this the hard way." BP doesn't yet seem to have absorbed the lesson, but other companies can surely learn from its mistake.
Working continually in eleven countries — Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, and India — and providing support to more than forty countries throughout its nearly twenty years in operation, Water for People “helps people in developing countries improve quality of life by supporting the development of locally sustainable drinking water resources, sanitation facilities, and hygiene education programs.” A big part of the Denver-based organization’s focus is not just establishing new facilities or resources, but making sure they keep working and are self-sufficient years later. This past March, Water for People introduced a new logo designed by Duffy & Partners.
So strong was the antibusiness sentiment for the first Earth Day in 1970 that organizers took no money from corporations and held teach-ins “to challenge corporate and government leaders.” Forty years later, the day has turned into a premier marketing platform for selling a variety of goods and services, like office products, Greek yogurt and eco-dentistry.
Richard Saul Wurman is an architect and graphic designer known for sparking debate. In 1984 he founded nonprofit TED and began holding annual events to stir up conversations about technology, entertainment and design. More recently, Wurman is appearing in Web videos to create chatter about a new topic: emissions, cars and the hope for a cleaner environment. Nissan Motor tapped Wurman and other thought leaders in December as part of a year-long marketing effort geared to make more people aware about the impact of emissions on the environment. Wurman and other luminaries, including Swedish designer Marcus Eriksson, appear on in videos a Web site called Journey to Zero that many might miss as being a message from Nissan.
When the Vancouver Olympic Games kick off on Feb. 12, visitors will find café furniture made from pine-beetle-salvaged wood, drink out of bottles made from 30% plant-based materials, and their beverages will be delivered via hybrid vehicles and electric cart. All are elements of Coca-Cola's first zero-waste, carbon-neutral sponsorship. The effort has been years in the making, beginning with a relatively simple recycling effort for the Athens Olympic Games in 2000. Since then the company has layered in additional elements, like environmentally friendly coolers and shirts made out of plastic bottles.
Pepsi is putting its Super Bowl ad dollars to work by helping communities and bypassing TV spots in the game. Coca-Cola is doing the same -- but using its Super Bowl advertising as a hook. During a press event at the Dunlevy Milbank Boys & Girls Club in Harlem, Coca-Cola detailed plans to donate up to $500,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, with half of the money raised through a Facebook program linked to the Super Bowl.
The economy may continue its gradual recovery next year, but advertising is expected to show the influence of the recession through 2010. Don't expect a letup in the rough-and-tumble sales pitches that hit the airwaves, Web and magazines this year, as advertisers like Campbell Soup and Verizon Wireless, owned by Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group, took direct aim at their competitors. Advertising executives expect such barbed comparison ads to continue. Other companies, meanwhile, will be showing their softer sides. In the bleak aftermath of the recession, many marketers think consumers will respond to brands they perceive as giving back to the community.
If Facebook were a country, it would be the 3rd most populous country on earth behind China and India - but now Facebook thinks it can play Switzerland and lead a push for world peace. I'm not so sure that's a good idea. Facebook and the Persuasive (no, not pervasive, persuasive) Technology Lab at Stanford launched what they call the "dot peace" campaign today. There's reason to pause before enthusiastically supporting the effort. There are other ways that Facebook could make the world a better place and there are some reasons why the company deserves caution more than trust when it comes to its political agenda.
Google has launched Project 10^100 (pronounced "Project 10 to the 100th"), a call for ideas that it has hopes for. The Mountain View, Calif. company has compiled a list of "16 big ideas," each inspired by numerous individual submissions from a call for action last fall. Project 10^100 aims to find the best ideas that could change the world most, in hopes of helping as many people as possible. In that call for change, thousands of people from more than 170 countries submitted more than 150,000 ideas, from general investment suggestions to specific implementation proposals. Google will fund up to five ideas, investing a total of $10 million. "Each project won't necessarily get $2 million, as one winning idea might warrant $3 million and another $1 million," according to a Google spokesperson.
As Kermit the frog used to say, " Its hard being green'. This is especially true in tough times, when the temptation is to leave green marketing initiatives on the back burner. Here are a few reason why you shouldn't, as a marketeer, forget about what "brand social responsibility" (BSR) can do for your brand in 09.