at the intersection of brands, media and culture

Brands That Care

In Branding, Brands, communications, marketing, pr, strategy, trends on January 14, 2008 at 10:32 am

In an environment where every other brand claims to care about a social ill, it can be difficult to cut through the clutter. Which brands follow through on their promise? How much of their budget is spent on marketing about the problem vs. actually helping to come up with a solution?

The Medinge Group has come up with a partial list of organizations that contribute to the greater good and offer some good thoughts on the future of humanity-centric brands:“Ian Ryder, a founding member and director of the Medinge Group, commented, “Each year since we began these awards, the whole world has become increasingly concerned about planetary sustainability. World leaders are meeting in Bali as we issue this year’s winners list. Some of our featured brands have been concerned for years about issues like these. They have actually demonstrated their commitment and not just talked about it. The standard just keeps getting better.”

Patrick Harris, a director of the Medinge Group, added, “Medinge’s Brands with a Conscience winners are not peripheral, fad-based organizations. They are thriving, successful, humanity-centric entities. They are market-forming and world-changing. Together, they are a glimpse of the future of brands. Today’s Brands with a Conscience are embracing an era of generational thinking. They perform the ultimate recycling effort, that of discarding the current disposable, short-sighted generation of thought and replacing it with one of longevity and humanity at its core.”

“The continued shift away from ‘branding-as-persuasion-to-buy’ to ‘branding-as-how-we-improve-the-world’ -with authentic, human considerations at the core of the organization-really gathers pace,” observed Tony Quinlan, a Medinge member. “This year’s award winners effectively counter the ridiculousness of the profit-above-all approach which too many organizations take. Congratulations to such a diverse group, working in diverse sectors-all deserving of our praise and gratitude.”‘

For 2008, the group singled out the following organizations:

Hennes & Mauritz
Happy Computers
International Watch Co.
Pret a Manger
Dame Anita Roddick

  1. I like the goals of this group but they seem to be focused more with Social Marketing instead of Societal Marketing where brands-for-profits should be playing. Societal Marketing integrates issues of social responsibility into commercial marketing strategies and Social Marketing uses commercial marketing theories, tools, and techniques to promote social issues.

    A brand that focuses solely on an “exchange relationship” with customers might find that is is not enough to maintain long term success. Rather a “Brand that Cares” like Ben showcases has a marketing strategy that delivers value to the customer in a way that maintains or improves both the consumer’s and the society’s well-being.

    Brands that have good Societal Marketing programs that I’ve seen recently include Waste Management (Green Message), Gibson Guitars Music Rising (Bring music back to New Orleans), Suntrust Bank (Open a checking account and we’ll donate to a cause of your choice), Tide Clean Start (Washing clothes of California Wild Fires) and the Barney’s Christmas Display “Green is the new Black.”

    Brands that have good Social Marketing programs are both from Droga5: NY Tap Project and the NYC Education Million Phone campaign.

    Griffin Farley

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