• Posted by: Tom Zara on Thursday, September 18 2014 10:12 AM | Comments (0)
    People's Climate March

    Photo courtesy of peoplesclimate.org

    On Sunday, September 21st, New York City will host the world’s largest human rally in demonstration of Climate Change. This will be a seminal moment when the voices of informed and concerned citizens will gather to influence the community, the nation and the world. They will note that indifference to our environment is an offense to humanity. Words are insufficient in addressing the future plight of the blue planet. PWC, the multinational professional services firm, recently published its annual “Low Carbon Economy Index” and the data is startling. Pledges made by the industrial nations to reduce CO2 pollution have proven to be hollow. The gap between the goal and the reality is widening each day and the pending catastrophe of climate change is fast approaching. We can no longer look in the reflection of our actions and expect a different outcome. Now is the time to take a closer look at our values, our priorities and our behavior when we consider the consequences of man-made climate change.

    Einstein quote

    As an eternal optimist, I know that we have the will and the capacity to be intentional about the choices we make. We, as individuals, are the forces that create, sustain and flourish the levers of change—and how we consume the brands we love is a powerful way to accelerate change. Consider how Wikipedia changed the concept of knowledge, how Nike changed the definition of wellness, how Facebook changed the definition of community. Brands have the power to change the world and those that understand their role in stemming and reversing Climate Change are the new heroes of social responsibility. The solutions for Climate Change are inexorably linked to how we behave. Brands that will thrive will be those that address their impact on the planet before they measure their impact on the bottom line. Such brands will motivate and reward their millions of customers to join the challenge and serve as willing agents of positive change.

    As we participate in Sunday’s march for Climate Change, consider the brands you love. Do you consider the impact on the environment when you consume brands? Are your brand choices contributing to CO2 reduction or are they perpetuating the problem of Climate Change? Are there brands that you admire for their leadership in CSR and sustainability? If so, now is the time to salute them and encourage others to join the movement.

    Tom Zara is the Global Practice Leader of Corporate Citizenship at Interbrand. He can be followed on Twitter at ‪@zaracsr4change‪. ‬‬

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  • Posted by: Rachel Kessman on Tuesday, September 16 2014 03:52 PM | Comments (0)
    SF BGGB event

    With the launch of Interbrand's 2014 Best Global Green Brands report, Interbrand San Francisco, in partnership with Deloitte, hosted a panel discussion focusing on the advantages and challenges sustainability disruptors face.

    Simon Sproule, Vice President of Communications at Tesla Motors, and Chris Librie, Global Sustainability Manager at HP, discussed their companies' efforts and the multitude of automotive and technology brands found on this year's Best Global Green Brands ranking. (There were 10 automotive brands and 12 brands from the electronics and tech sectors.)

    HP tweets

    The panel discussion revealed that the demand for electric vehicles is growing and forcing automakers to enter into this market and expand their product lines. More than 36 new hybrid and electric vehicles were launched in 2013, giving consumers more fuel-efficient options than ever before.

    Interestingly enough, brands from within the electronics and technology sector did carry some of the largest gap scores in this year's Best Global Green Brands ranking. (Interbrand lists the gap between a brand’s overall performance score and its overall perception score. A positive score indicates a brand is doing more than it is given credit for, while a negative score indicates that a brand is being given more credit than its sustainability actions merit.) The significant gap scores in the electronics and technology sector indicate that such brands either need to do more around sustainability or work harder to improve consumer awareness and understanding of such initiatives.

    Lisa Newman-Wise Tweets

    Rachel Kessman, Marketing Associate for Interbrand North America, chatted with Jonathan Redman, Senior Director of Client Services for Interbrand San Francisco, about how brands are innovating when it comes to sustainability.

    Q: What takeaways from the Best Global Green Brands report apply to the West Coast marketplace?

    A: As with most of the rest of the world, a commitment to sustainability and Corporate Citizenship is becoming increasingly important to West Coast-based businesses. Whether operating at scale with direct influence on an ecosystem of commerce and partnership or being a startup or more of a category disruptor, the types of organizations that are setting the agenda in this region are all leading in terms of innovation—and they are all addressing complex environmental and social issues by creating companies, products and experiences that people love, with increasingly new business models. Such companies are well-positioned to tackle complex problems such as climate change, energy and social issues.

    Q: How can Interbrand help innovative technology companies create successful partnerships with other businesses, the public sector and NGOs?

    A: When it comes to sustainability, the definition of partnership, or collective action, is broad. Successful collaboration can occur when companies create successful partnerships with logical and adjacent businesses, the public sector and NGOs. They can also occur with 'frenemies'–or when supposedly competitive brands are aligning for a greater purpose. It is Interbrand's job to examine the set up of partnership, monitor effectiveness and work with our clients to create valuable and lasting impact.

    Kurt Munger Tweets

    Q: How do you connect Corporate Citizenship to brand value?

    A: We know from our own Interbrand studies, as well as from keeping pace with wider analysis, that Corporate Citizenship is a definite driver of preference, endorsement and choice across categories. It also drives purchase. In these ways, brand value and commercial advantage is being created through a commitment to Corporate Citizenship that is real, business-based and ongoing. It is not enough to publish an annual report and hope that your brand makes the grade. It needs to be a living business asset that connects across stakeholders and is, itself, sustainable.

    Q: Where do you see collective action programs going in the next several years? What emerging trends are you seeing?

    A: There is no set formula to successful and active collective action programs—and that is important to recognize. How you might construct a partnership now may very well differ to what is suitable in five years. Collective action partnerships now have become essential to both companies and NGOs as they tackle some of the most pressing environmental and social issues. The changing needs of organizations, communities, countries and the planet means that partnership needs to actively flex and improve. Your closest competitor could be your greatest ally. It is all a question of looking beyond your own agenda and looking beyond the short-term to see where the value creation is for all concerned.

    For more information about Corporate Citizenship in the technology and automotive sectors, please contact Jonathan Redman.

    Rachel Kessman is the Marketing Associate for North America. You can follow her on twitter at @RKesss.

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  • Posted by: Fred Burt on Wednesday, September 10 2014 11:15 AM | Comments (0)
    Superstition

    I'm at the airport, taking a short haul flight from London to mainland Europe. But my mind is somewhere else. I've just been taken on a journey of imagination, courtesy of a brand and the story it has told me.

    No single term in the world of brands seems to have caught fire quite as much as “storytelling.” The most recent example that caught my eye was Levi's Global CMO, Jennifer Sey, describing her role as storyteller-in-chief.

    A good story, well told, can draw in an audience like nothing else. The premium whiskey brands, in particular, love to tell tales. I pass through airports almost every week and there's nothing I like more than browsing through the duty free limited edition single malts, looking for a good read.

    Scotland is a fantastic backdrop, of course, with a rich, complex...wait, this is beginning to sound like a single malt! At any rate, it has ancestry, landscape, wildlife, ruggedness, aristocracy, mystery, and more. And it has made the most of these assets through its whiskey brands.

    Take Jura, for example, which I'm looking at right now. Jura is a small island with one pub, 200 people and a climate to put off all but the hardiest of tourists. But, as a whiskey brand, this translates into individual, intriguing, masculine, uncompromising, and primal. I have no idea what Jura Superstition whiskey tastes like, but, as I read its box, I was transported to a fireside on a dark and stormy night—with the whispers of the ancients swirling around me as I held the bottle and toasted good fortune.

    Sentimental and romantic? Maybe. And perhaps the fact that I am reading a story at the airport just as I'm about to go to a foreign place is making me more receptive to stories filled with a sense of place and people. But we're all creatures of imagination and, once in a while, we like to be transported to somewhere different, somewhere special.

    Fred Burt is Interbrand’s Managing Director of Global Accounts. You can follow him on Twitter @fredburt.

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  • Posted by: Liesje Hodgson and Forest Young on Tuesday, September 9 2014 10:15 AM | Comments (0)

    As the media and behavior landscape evolves to include connected physical, digital, and social experiences, brands and businesses must understand how to meaningfully adapt to create value. This means a willingness to get out of the way when the brand isn't relevant, and a readiness to take center stage in moments that matter.

    To consistently exceed expectations, an organization must understand when and how to best support the customer in key interactions, regardless of industry or instance.

    This requires more than a shared language of how the brand looks, feels, and behaves. It requires tools, methods, operations and frameworks for making technology, partnership, and product decisions that places customers, and their needs, at the center. We work with teams to ensure that the products and services which customers touch are meaningful components of a broader brand experience. Watch the videos below for a sense of how we view the role of brand in delivering customer experiences.

    We partner with our clients to drive a unified vision for customer experience across teams and business units—and help them prioritize the interactions that can impact their relationship with customers and broader stakeholders. By defining what a relevant brand experience design is, we help organizations to make technology, partnership, and product decisions with an understanding of how they will shape the customer's relationship with the brand over time.

    Liesje Hodgson is a Senior Consultant of Innovation at Interbrand’s New York office. You can follow her on Twitter at @liesjeh.

    Forest Young is a Creative Director in Interbrand’s New York office. You can follow him on Twitter @ten_ten.

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  • Posted by: Christine Sech on Monday, September 8 2014 11:07 AM | Comments (0)

    Package Sustainability

    “From packaging to store concepts, there is a clear shift in all consumer mindsets towards a common standard of less processing or wastefulness. Brands that don’t adhere will be left behind," noted Fleur Gadd, Senior Research Executive at The Big Picture. (Stylus: Eco-Ethical-Sustainable, 8 Nov 2013)

    For eco-conscious consumers, environmental altruism has been the key motivator driving their behaviors. While leaving the world in a better place remains the core desire, consumers recognize that less wastefulness also yields financial savings. This dual advantage has helped accelerate and broaden interest in sustainability among new consumer groups.

    Couple this insight with the efforts of municipal governments and green bloggers encouraging people to think twice about their waste footprint and this has resulted in a stronger foundation for Precycling. 

    Making up thirty percent of the US's solid waste stream, packaging is the most visible environmental offender. Sustainability trailblazers are rethinking, and even eliminating, traditional package formats to tackle the triple bottom line head on.

    A World Without Packaging?

    The idea of eliminating packaging from the customer journey is pretty scary, but, oftentimes, change can create opportunity. An obvious question arises: “If products are sold outside of a primary packaging, how can brands make up for the loss of a touchpoint that for many is the primary driver of brand awareness and brand loyalty?”

    Rethinking a brand’s business model is one answer. Can the brand switch to a durable, refillable model to reduce waste? Can its primary packaging be utilized as a reusable container for bulk and quantity control formats? And if so, how can this durable container become an even better vehicle for branding than the one that’s discarded?

    Another strategy is ensuring that key visual brand assets live on in the usage experience. If primary packaging disappears, how can ownable elements like the logo, colors and shapes, be applied to the product itself to reinforce brand association? Additionally, can aspects of the usage experience itself become more proprietary to create a link back to brand?

    Heightening the role of point-of-sale is an additional consideration. Is there a sponsorship opportunity for the bulk food area to pursue in order to maintain a presence? Can the labeling of products in this area be more emotive and branded?

    Mixed Recycling

    Governments unpacking the Zero Waste Challenge

    While recycling has been effective to a certain degree, it requires time, energy, resources, and commitment. Thus, from Scotland to New Zealand, governments are instituting Zero Waste concepts and partnering with environmental organizations to influence communities and businesses. Read more on SF Environment and Upstream.

    On the Leading Edge

    Retailers, Brands, and Innovations – check out how these precycling trailblazers are rethinking retail environments and packaging in the context of Zero Waste.

    In.gredients grocery store in Austin, TX aims to reduce waste through reusable and compostable containers. Most items are sold in a bulk format so consumers just pay for the weight of the product.

    LunchSkins strives to reduce the lunch footprint through environmentally friendly reusable food storage bags. 

    Martek Food System has leveraged learning from bulk food and launched self-serve dispensing systems for pet food retailers.

    Monosol creates water soluble films, compounds, and solutions for a variety of products from coffee to personal care. 

    There’s much to consider and more to learn on this trend. We’ll definitely be monitoring its impact on consumer behavior and triple bottom lines.

    Interested in talking about the next generation for your packaging? Connect with Interbrand Cincinnati here and follow them on Twitter at @InterbrandCinci.

    Christine Sech is the Director of Strategy and Research at Interbrand Cincinnati. 

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