As Nike seeks to make a Better
World through sport, IBM builds a Smarter Planet, Starbucks
preserves the resources of our Shared Planet, and GE proves that
imagination can change the world–what is the future of the
purpose-driven company? How can companies walk the talk, creating
business benefit and positive impact in the world through social
We put these questions to some of the
world’s leading companies who have integrated brand purpose and are
seeing bottom-line benefits. In Dispatch from a New Business
Horizon we disclose our findings: Social responsibility
is the new way to do business and it’s only growing in importance.
The study was conducted by a team of WPP agencies led by Landor
over a three-month period from March-May 2011 and included lengthy
interviews with 11 top-tier global companies: American Express,
Dell, Ford, General Mills, HP, IBM, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Nike,
The companies we interviewed include
social responsibility as part of their business model. They don’t
treat “doing good” as a separate function-instead, they integrate
brand purpose into every part of their strategy and make all
employees formally responsible for carrying it out. And in the
process, they have learned that doing good can mean doing well.
“Regardless of whether you call it
citizenship branding, social good, or just purpose, the message is
clear–doing good as a corporation can no longer be ignored,” said
Scott Osman, global director of corporate social responsibility for
Landor. “Not only are consumers expecting business good via
programs like fair trade, but it’s an issue that comes up when
people are looking for employment, when other businesses look for
partnerships, and when potential clients are considering who to
work with. If your corporation isn’t paying attention, it may
already be losing.”
Dispatch from a New Business
Horizon shares the stories of 11 companies and what
they’ve learned. The report also identifies seven common principles
that have helped these companies successfully turn brand purpose
into business advantage:
See social responsibility through a business lens
The fundamental shift toward SR concerns, includes among other
things, emerging markets, new opportunities, new ideas, new
products, downstream long-term benefits–and the organization of the
corporate structure. Social responsibility is a habit of mind that
should become reflexive.
Make a difference from your position of strength
Determine what you produce, where you play, and what you do
best–and fashion your SR initiatives in that domain.
Win with “thick value”
Simultaneously creating social good and business good results in
what we call “thick value,” which is beneficial for everyone. New
ideas and opportunities arise from this kind of value creation.
Walk then talk
Design and implement your program first. Get it right. If you want
to blow your own horn afterward, do so carefully. Skepticism about
motives has sharpened in the Internet age.
Engage employees first
Communicate your commitment to making a difference in the world to
your employees and motivate them to set further goals. This not
only enhances your chance of success, it serves as a powerful
recruitment and retention tool for the best talent.
6. Partner for real
Welcome competitors. Your goal is creation of greater social good,
which will in turn open business opportunities. Think big, not
7. Innovate permanently
SR is a journey, not a destination. Businesses need to be
flexible, creative, and tolerant of uncertainty. It may be
unsettling at first, but in the long run it will only be
invigorating. There is a brand new energy at work in the business
world–it’s time to tap into it.
How can we help your company instill brand
purpose in everything you do?
Would you like the full report in hard copy? Email your request
© 2011 Landor Associates. All rights reserved.