A business of any size can practice social good. Yet, “companies have traditionally sought to convince their customers and their employees to defend their brands. Today, the equation has been reversed. Increasingly, customers and employees demand that brands defend their cause, for the things that matter most to them. ”
Anne Bahr Thompson, author of Doing Good: Adopting Brand Citizenship to Fuel Both Purpose and Profit inspired business leaders to use their brands as a driving force for change for many years. With over 25 years of experience as a global brand strategist, she is an accomplished researcher, writer, and speaker, and a pioneer of the Brand Citizenship® strategic framework.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Anne about Brand Citizenship :
Q: What is brand citizenship?
Brand Citizenship ® is a five-step proprietary process that combines purpose and profit to provide solutions to the personal needs of customers and employees with respect to energy saving and energy efficiency. their widespread concerns about the economy, global issues and the planet.
It’s a way of doing business – from the main purpose of a business; delivery of goods and services; its responsibility to its employees, the community, the environment and the world – which creates a sense of partnership and belonging, all with the goal of making profits that can be sustained over the long term.
Q: How do B2C and B2B companies benefit from its adoption?
The 5 steps of Brand Citizenship are just as relevant to a company’s relationship with its employees and suppliers as it is with its customers. The Citizenship brand is a holistic principle that allows companies, whether B2B or B2C, to obtain sustainable credit for sustainable development and corporate social responsibility initiatives. The goal of doing good and becoming a sustainable business is a practical and necessary investment, no matter who your target audience is.
Q: What brand citizenship model do you recommend?
The five stages of Brand Citizenship flow logically from one to the other:
- TRUST : DO WHAT YOU SAY
First and foremost, brands that keep their promises are more trustworthy. Digital communication and information channels have made reciprocity one of the five key requirements for trusted brands.
- ENRICHMENT : IMPROVING DAILY LIFE
People identify more with brands and are less price sensitive, which helps them simplify their routines, make mundane tasks less boring and enrich their daily lives.
- RESPONSIBILITY : BEHAVE FAIRLY
In a post-recession world, flat and transparent, customers expect brands to treat their employees fairly, behave ethically and be proactive in their business practices.
- COMMUNITY: CONNECT ME
Brands that bring communities together, motivate behavioral change, and solve social problems – provided they are not overtly political – attract more loyalists.
- CONTRIBUTION : MAKE ME GREATER THAN I AM
Brands that play an active role in creating a more positive and life-enhancing future enrich the lives of Loyalists by improving life on the planet.
Q: What can employees and managers do to involve their businesses in the brand?
Today, most employers have feedback mechanisms. Some are better than others, but people should use existing internal mechanisms in their businesses to talk about what matters to them. Read your company’s sustainability report, follow your company on social media, participate in volunteer activities, ask questions in town halls, post questions to your CEO on a blog, have an ongoing dialogue with your manager and / or your HR representative.
The Citizenship brand is not a one-time event or a checkbox on a to-do list. Like the process of change itself, the five stages of brand citizenship are not prescriptive. On the contrary, they frame a journey that, of necessity, must adapt to the evolution of the cultural landscape. The Citizenship brand is a continuous journey that requires collaboration, co-creation and constant rethinking of business practices and reconfiguring them.
I’ll add one thing: your business does not have to be great to exercise brand citizenship.
“Whether your business is a sole proprietorship or has employees, it has a lot to gain by engaging in responsible business practices and engaging in its local, regional community. or national.) Not only is it beneficial for the survival and brand of your business, but also for your soul. “(Excerpt from my book, Beyond Your Logo: 7 Ideas which matter most for the success of small businesses )