Welcome to Brandology's blog. Brandology is a strategic consulting firm and this blog is all about tracking the hottest consumer trends: sustainability, health & wellness, and social networks & communities.
The Best Global Green Brands report from Interbrand came out last week. It ranks the top 100 brands worldwide, based on two sustainability measurements. First, each company’s sourcing, production, and distribution is assessed for environmental impact. Second, the brand’s success at clearly communicating their green actions to their target market is analyzed. These two scores are added together to create a total for ranking.
The top 3 green brands this year are car companies: Toyota, Ford, and Honda. The highest ranked CPG companies are Johnson & Johnson (#6), Danone (#8), and Nestle (#14). None of Clorox’s key homecare competitors made the top 50.
Interbrand highlights the key characteristics shared by companies at the top of the green rankings. First, all focus intently on innovation---both to be green and to achieve other objectives. Second, they are aggressively addressing the greenness of their supply chain. They understand that everything from factory conditions to waste is critical to both actual and perceived sustainability.
Finally, the brands that scored highest are ones that Americans admire for their authentic commitment to sustainability. Consumers view these companies’ green efforts as “part of their DNA,” not bolt-on activities done for marketing purposes or to increase shareholder value.
Cone Communications just released a global CSR consumer segmentation based on how shoppers think about buying socially responsible products. That, of course, has huge implications for whom marketers should target.
The research highlights four groups: Happy-Go-Luckys (41% of the population), Bleeding Hearts (26%), Ring Leaders (21%), and The Old Guard (13%.)
Happy-Go-Luckys shop with a laser focus on convenience. Once they have identified the most convenient product, they next consider social responsibility. They primarily buy products with CSR credentials because it makes them feel good. Happy-Go-Luckys are evenly split between men and women, and many are 18-34 years old.
Bleeding Hearts are the second most prevalent group. Their goal is for every single purchase to have a positive impact on society. They are heavy buyers of products that support causes and frequently boycott companies that don’t meet their standards. This group is characterized by highly educated women between 18 and 34 years old.
Ring Leaders want to positively influence the world in all possible ways. They rally others to their cause because they believe that people acting together can have a huge impact. This segment is generally men and women over 35.
Finally, The Old Guard are the CSR laggards. They say they only make CSR purchases “by accident.” The typical Old Guard is a 55 year old male.
The good news is that consumers trust companies more now than they did in 2011. The bad news is that they still don’t trust them very much.
But before you despair, Americans do have very clear advice for how brands can rebuild this relationship.
According to Edelman’s Annual Trust Barometer, 58% of consumers believe that firms are trustworthy, up from 53% in 2011. However, there is a huge gulf between ratings for small and large organizations. 86% of Americans trust small companies, while only 55% trust big ones.
Consumers’ distrust of business shows up in how they respond to advertising and PR. The majority needs to hear a fact about a company 3 to 5 times before they believe it. And, they are much more likely to believe brand information that comes from an academic, a “person like them,” or an average company employee, rather than from the CEO.
What will it take for businesses to regain consumers’ trust? Americans' top five suggestions are:
We’ll check next year’s Trust Barometer to see if brands follow consumers’ advice and consumers respond positively.