Brand Councils and Corporate Social Responsibility - Study Highlights
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Highlights of research I conducted for the Institute for Brand Leadership on brand councils and corporate social responsibility. Sponsored by The Brand Consultancy. See related article coauthored with ...

Highlights of research I conducted for the Institute for Brand Leadership on brand councils and corporate social responsibility. Sponsored by The Brand Consultancy. See related article coauthored with A. Bergstrom, "Brand councils that care: Towards the convergence of branding and corporate social responsibility." Journal of Brand Management, 10(4/5), 327-341 (2003).

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Brand Councils and Corporate Social Responsibility - Study Highlights Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Institute for Brand Leadership Brand Councils That Care: Toward The Convergence of Branding And CSR —S tudy Highlights — 2002 Contact: Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. Director, Institute for Brand Leadership [email_address] April 2002
  • 2. “ A company's trustworthiness, embodied in brand and reputation , is increasingly all that customers, employees, and investors have to rely on. That’s why Alan Greenspan said recently that a company's value today may amount to its ‘capitalized reputation’ . …All around us we hear the question, Who can you trust? The more important question is, Who trusts you? ” —Geoffrey Colvin,“Tapping The Trust Fund” Fortune , April 29 2002
  • 3. “Why Integrate CSR With The Brand Council?”
  • 4. The Basic Reasoning
    • Brand happens—whether we like it or not!
    • All activities undertaken by the organization affect perceptions of its brand.
    • Conversely, desired perceptions affect what activities the organization decides to invest in.
    • “Desired perceptions” are not always understood as “desired brand perceptions”—but why not?
    • If perception = brand, and activity creates perception, then it makes sense to proactively manage all organizational activities to create desired brand perceptions.
  • 5. Synergy! CSR activities contribute to overall perceptions of the brand Desired perception affects investment in CSR activities The Brand Council can ensure that all CSR investments are on-brand.
  • 6. Contents
    • Overview of the study
    • The brand council in depth
    • Why integrate with CSR?
    • Concluding recommendations
  • 7. I. Overview of the Study
  • 8. Purpose and Rationale
    • The year 2002 witnesses the junction of two long-term trends, as both “branding” and “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) move from the organizational periphery to its front and center. This shift is occurring as institutions of all kinds come to grips with the reality that intangibles—-brand and reputation among them—can tangibly add to or detract from their value.
    • This paper offers an integrated view of both trends, suggesting that organizations integrate CSR initiatives with strategic brand management, gaining greater leverage from both through the use of a brand council .
    • Although such councils are in some use today, their function tends to be limited in scope , particularly focusing on guidelines for usage of visual brand communication materials. However, viewed more broadly, such councils have the potential to integrate all organizational activities under the umbrella of the brand, in effect operationalizing its essential qualities and values.
    • In addition, though CSR has in the past been limited to “gestures of goodwill” on the part of corporate entities, it can in fact extend to a branded ethic that applies equally to external and internal communities (especially employees).
    • This study provides a cutting-edge approach to the relationship between social responsibility, corporate citizenship, corporate reputation, and brand.
    •  
  • 9. Credits
    • This study was conducted by Dannielle Blumenthal, Director, Institute for Brand Leadership.
    • The Institute would like to thank all of those individuals who took the time to share their thoughts on this topic. These include:
      • Jacques Chevron, Partner, JRC&A Consulting
      • Mats Georgson, Brand Manager, Sony Ericsson
      • Tim Kitchin, Group Strategy Director, IC2 Group
      • Chris Macrae, Chief Brand Officer Association and Intangibles Crisis Union
      • Deann Paschke, Director of Advertising/Brand Marketing Services, Radisson
      • David Shore, Associate Dean, Harvard School of Public Health
      • Katherine Skinner, KO 10X (Coca Cola internal think tank)
      • Brian Stage, EVP Sales & Marketing, Radisson
      • Alex Suhenko, General Director, BNB Consulting, Russia
      • Rick Wirth, Manager, Marketing & External Communications, Equiva Services (for Shell)
      • Steve Yastrow, Yastrow Marketing
      • Anonymous informant
    • The Institute would also like to thank Alan Bergstrom, Mark Morris, Diane Beecher, and Jack Shoptaw, Partners at The Brand Consultancy, for their continuing sponsorship of our work.
    • Also, our thanks to Mark for volunteering to present the results of this study at the Reputation Institute’s 6 th Annual Conference, May 2002.
  • 10. II. The Brand Council In Depth
  • 11. What Is A “Brand Council”?
  • 12. Definition
    • A brand council is “a centralized organization designed to protect and cultivate the brand . It is usually cross-functional and brings in varying skill sets and levels of management.”
    • The goal is to “create an understanding, evaluate proper strategies, promote communication, define accountabilities, allow a forum of discussion and identify needs.”
    Source: Public Affairs Group, Inc.
  • 13. Key Functions
    • The brand council is typically charged with facilitating and maintaining support for the brand across all functions of the company . According to the Public Affairs Group, this includes:
      • Generating internal support for the brand
      • Filtering communications so that they support “a single brand voice”
      • Instituting a network of accepted brand communications vendors
      • Conducting regular assessments of the brand’s position in the marketplace
      • Devising appropriate metrics for measuring the brand’s performance
  • 14. Composition
    • The brand council, according to the Public Affairs Group, is typically composed of:
      • Senior management : CEO, CFO and COO
      • Business leadership : business unit leaders, strategic planning, marketing, sales
      • Corporate communications executives: advertising, PR, investor relations
      • Executives from other relevant areas : research, HR, operations
    • As an alternative, the council can consist of brand representatives from individual lines of business , who then report directly to a senior management committee.
  • 15. Purpose & Potential
    • How the brand council is implemented depends on the individual organization and its priorities.
    • Initially, the council may be formed to ensure consistency in all corporate communications.
    • However, its greater potential lies in building consensus among the employees , as well as operational alignment, in support of the brand promise.
    • Even greater potential lies in aligning CSR initiatives with the brand —helping one to reinforce and enhance the other.
  • 16. Issues Raised By The Experts
  • 17. Issue #1. “How Do You Get The Brand Council To Function As A Change Agent?”
  • 18. Chris Macrae Chief Brand Officer Association
    • Purpose
      • “ To facilitate…organisation-wide…participation in knowledge of and actioning of the brand.”
      • “ There for openly championing alignment …not there to committee over specific execution decisions that  individuals or teams would be more experienced or more able to make in a timely way.”
    • Qualifications
      • “ Many brand councils have been set up as the trendy thing to do…but agencies seldom have the know how nor the will to help empower councils to facilitate real change .”
    • CSR
      • “ I would doubt that there are many positive existing cases. Potentially, we intentionally include society's value demands in our value exchange audit because 1) global companies have become relatively blind to social responsibilities 2) the biggest risks to a brand's reputation are often most clearly related to judgements society will make of a company. ”
    • Perspective
      • “ ‘ Sits’ on a brand council isn’t actually what a council should do. It should be more like a project team involved with breathing brand spaces and knowhow-to-action circulation —everywhere the people of the council (exert) influence in their other responsibilities.”
    Source: Email, February 6 2002
  • 19. Issue #2. “What Is The Ideal Composition Of The Council?”
  • 20. Tim Kitchin Group Strategy Director, IC2Group
    • “ I’d start by visualising and capturing all the ways in which ‘your’ brand drives productivity….Think of this as your entire intangible value system and try and have a stab at capturing the model dynamically.
    • “ Then you want to put on your brand council someone who is best-placed to inspire and guide (but probably not manage) each (of) these value-creating processes.
      • “ Discovery 1. Some of these people are outside the organisation
      • “ Discovery 2: Many of these people sit at a stakeholder interface not at the top of the organisation
      • “ Discovery 3. Many of these people are unidentifiable because you never previously conceptualised your brand’s productivity in this way
      • “ Discovery 4: Your leadership is just another stakeholder; so they also need conversing with
      • “ Discovery 5: You can’t manag e your brand because you don’t own your brand; your stakeholders do.”
    Source: Email, February 7 2002
  • 21. Issue #3. “What Is The Ideal Relationship Between The Brand Council & Senior Business Management?”
  • 22. Mats Georgson Brand Manager, Sony Ericsson
    • “ If brand management is concerned with all activities that can differentiate/add/create value within a company, and therefore a brand team/council/board should consist of inspired people from key disciplines within the firm - what is then the difference between the brand group and the top management group (board) in the company ? Is it not just some kind of rebel group running a more reckless agenda, or some kind of political youth organization, or like Nordström and Ridderstråle puts it, revolutionary cell?”
    • “ What troubles me is the apparent anarchy that resides in organizing after them, vis-a-vis the top of the organization - and therefore the inherent gap between the enthusiasm and creativity in the brand group and the (probably more conservative) business strategy of the top management group.  Many branding ideas require full commitment, and not half-baked implementations, and often going half way is worse than simply rejecting the idea.  And there is the core of the dilemma.  If there is not total agreement on the role of the brand group in an organization, the risk is that the branding work becomes counterproductive. ”
    Source: Email, February 7 200 2
  • 23. Jacques Chevron Partner, JRC&A Consulting
    • “The general objective is to achieve consistency in the values that the brand projects in its actions and communication.
    • “This can only be done if
      • a) there is agreement by top management to what those values are
      • b) support from top management for the process of enforcing adherence to the document that outlines those values
      • c) systematic proselytism of the brand values throughout the entire organization.
    • “ It is important IMHO that a Brand Council not involves itself in the tactics of running the business but limits its role to explaining the brand and enforcing the strategy.
    • “Problem is that, too often, the Marketing folks run the council and let tactical considerations dictate brand behavior. The two functions, Branding and Marketing, should be kept separate.”
    Source: Email, February 9 2002
  • 24. Issue #4. Strategic or Tactical?
  • 25. Steve Yastrow Yastrow Marketing/ Tom Peters Cafe
    • “The most valuable role of a brand council would not be in creating or evaluating a potential brand strategy, but in championing and monitoring the ongoing implementation of that strategy . My experience over the last few years suggests that many organizations are capable of understanding the value of a fully integrated brand strategy, but that very few of them are capable of staying focused as the strategy gets implemented.”
    Source: Email, February 10 2002
  • 26. Why Are Brand Councils Going Mainstream?
  • 27. 4 Special Applications
    • To lessen the risk of concentrating power in a single individual
    • To pave the way for global branding
    • To enhance cultural integration post M&A
    • To create a more integrated strategic focus
  • 28. Special Application #1: Diffusing Power
  • 29. When Brand Council Power Is Concentrated In An Individual
    • At Ralph Lauren, “ brand czar ” “ oversees all details of the brand from the center and stipulates what business units can and cannot do”
    • Also known as “ brand champion ”, this individual is “ a senior executive, possibly the CEO, who serves as the brand's primary advocate and nurturer.”
        • Well suited to companies where top executive has passion/talent for brand strategy
        • Examples: Sony, Gap, Beiersdorf (Nivea), Nestle
        • Charge: “Approves all brand-stretching decisions…and monitors the presentation of the brand worldwide”
        • Credibility comes from organizational power, as well as knowledge, experience, insight
    • A.K.A. “ brand steward ”
    • A.K.A. “ brand ambassador ” (although this term tends to be used as a generic referent to people who are so enthusiastic about the brand that they recruit others to it)
    Sources: Banking Strategies , November/December 1998; Harvard Business Review , November/December 1999
  • 30. The Body Shop: One Person Is Not Enough
    • In the mid-1990s, The Body Shop recruited Sandra Pickering, a senior marketing executive at Mars, “to bring brand marketing skills to a company which had looked to PR to raise the brand’s profile.
    • When Pickering quit a relatively short time later, the company decided to eliminate her position.
    • A brand council took over the responsibility of developing the brand strategically.
    • The council was set up to include representatives from different operational areas within The Body Shop:
      • Anita Roddick (and Gordon Roddick)
      • Product development
      • Retail
      • Communications
      • Body Shop Direct
      • Strategic development
    • In addition, the entire marketing department was absorbed by other departments within the organization.
    Source: Marketing, July 31 1997
  • 31. Special Application #2: Global Branding
  • 32. The Attraction of Global Branding
    • Aaker and Joachimsthaler argue that global branding is enticing on many levels
      • Creates opportunities for expansion
      • Is an efficient way to get a single message out to many markets
      • Creates clout for the marketer with the firm they use for advertising and messaging
    • Companies look at successful examples of global brands—whose “positioning, advertising strategy, personality, look and feel are in most respects the same from one country to another—and wish to replicate that success .
    Harvard Business Review , “The Lure of Global Branding,” November/December 1999
  • 33. 3 Challenges
    • “ Economies of scale may prove elusive. It is sometimes cheaper and more effective for companies to create ads locally than to import ads and then adapt them for each market.”
    • “ Forming a successful global brand team can prove difficult …they need to gather and understand a great deal of information; they must be extremely creative; and they need to anticipate a host of challenges in execution.”
    • “ Global brands can't just be imposed on all markets …a brand's image may not be the same throughout the world.”
    Harvard Business Review , “The Lure of Global Branding,” November/December 1999
  • 34. Remedy: Think In Terms of Leadership
    • To address the difficulties of global branding Aaker and Joachimsthaler recommend a focus on global brand leadership rather than global branding itself .
    • By leadership they mean “using organizational structures, processes, and cultures to allocate brand-building resources globally, to create global synergies , and to develop a global brand strategy that coordinates and leverages country brand strategies.”
    Harvard Business Review , “The Lure of Global Branding,” November/December 1999
  • 35. How A Brand Council* Can Facilitate Global Brand Leadership
    • Create synergy between different segments
      • Mobil has separate global brand teams for 3 different lines of business (consumer vs. commercial lubricants and fuel). The brand council coordinates and integrates their activities, always seeking to create brand synergy.
    • Remove organizational barriers to decision-making
      • P&G has 11 product categories, each run by global category team
      • Each team consists of topline R&D, manufacturing, marketing managers and chaired by EVP
      • Decisions can be made and executed by the team, with strategy implemented at the country level
    • Team rather than individual facilitates greater organizational acceptance
      • Individual risks been seen as “just another corporate staff person contributing to overhead, creating forms, and calling meetings”
      • Easier for country brand managers to accept the value provided when it’s a group effort
    • * A&J make a distinction between the term “brand team” and “brand council”. However we use these terms interchangeably to focus on the benefits of an overarching organizational function, staffed by a group, dedicated to managing the brand.
    Harvard Business Review , “The Lure of Global Branding,” November/December 1999
  • 36. Radisson: The Brand Council Evolves
    • Brian Stage , hotel industry veteran, appointed president and chief operating officer of Radisson Hotels Worldwide in July 1997
    • Charged with “overall strategies and operations,” overseeing “management systems and operations,” “marketing and strategic partnerships around the world.”
    • Growth into global markets motivated Stage to initiate a “worldwide effort to guide strategic and tactical marketing issues.“
    • The vehicle for this effort was a Global Brand Council , including “marketing leaders from Radisson Hotels and partnership companies in each theater of the world.”
    • Global Brand Council was engaged in an 18 month process to create a new brand identity/logo , unveiled in 2000.
    • Logo signified more than just a changed look but a changed organization .
    • New logo was accompanied by name change , from “Radisson Hotels Worldwide” to “Radisson Hotels & Resorts Worldwide”
    • An interview with Brian Stage appears later on in this presentation.
    Source: PR Newswire, July 14 1997; Business Line , January 20 2000
  • 37. Kodak P&PI: Global, Internal & External Alignment
    • In 1996 Kodak announced that it was initiating a “global initiative to reinvent the business of professional imaging” via its Professional and Printing Imaging division (PPI).
    • Brand was to be singular and global , including “all professional products, services, and systems for still imaging.”
    • Company traced initiative back to “the spirit of George Eastman,” inventor of modern photography.
    • Out of a desire to “ensure global brand continuity” the company created both an Office of Brand Management and a Global Brand Council .
      • “ Without a strong global communications focus, the power of a global brand is not reinforced , and customers across the world will not have a clear vision of the company or its products. This is why P&PI is moving to centralized, worldwide marketing communications and brand identity.”— Eastman Kodak VP/P&PI President Richard G. Pignataro, Chief Executive, June 1996
    • “ Our mandate is to lead the leaders ,” said PPI global brand manager Kathleen Moran.
    • The company also intended to use the initiative internally —to establish “a unified, nimble and customer-focused business.”
    Source: Business Wire, March 6 1996
  • 38. Special Application #3: Post-M&A Integration
  • 39. A Prudent Investment
    • Corporate Branding founder & CEO James R. Gregory recommends that merged organizations strongly consider implementing a brand council. He writes:
      • “ The branding opportunities—and challenges—offered by a merger or acquisition are tremendous …
      • “ People are paying attention. Employees are anxious about their futures. The financial community wants to know how the business will grow. Customers are watching, and so are competitors .
      • "The cost to brand a merger the right way is not much more than a decimal point on the deal . The potential returns are enormous. Take full advantage….Your bottom line will thank you for it.”
    Source: “Branding the Merger, Merging the Brands,” BusinessWeek , 1999
  • 40. Chase: Going “By The Book”
  • 41. Background
    • After Chase-Chemical merger in 1996, Chase instituted brand council
    • Purpose was to turn “ promised experience into reality ”
    • Composed of brand advocates from each line of business —each charged with assuring alignment between brand promise and their products
    • Reports to senior management committee
    Source: Boston Consulting Group; Bank Marketing International , April 1999; Banking Strategies , November 1998
  • 42. Process
    • Customer research was undertaken to better understand wants, needs.
    • Resulting attributes summarized in the language of attributes or “pledges,” with the acronym PIFER :
      • Personalized
      • Informative
      • Flexible
      • Expert
      • Responsible
    • Detailed description was created of what the brand experience should be like.
    Source: Boston Consulting Group; Bank Marketing International , April 1999; Banking Strategies , November 1998
  • 43. 3 Years
    • Brand experience was then operationalized
    • Plan included a “three-year overhaul of…information systems, business processes, product mix and approach to sales and service.”
    • Phase 1: Customer information system institutionalized
    • Phase 2: Products and processes redesigned
      • PC banking system replaced (too complex)
      • Call centers (too slow)
    • Phase 3: Employee training
    Source: Boston Consulting Group; Bank Marketing International , April 1999; Banking Strategies , November 1998
  • 44. Special Application #4: Need To Change Or Gain Focus
  • 45. TXU: Brand Council Repositions Identity
    • 120 year-old company based in North Texas embraced deregulation and the global marketplace.
    • No longer calls itself an electric utility but an “ energy services company ”…no longer “stodgy, conservative, and geographically limited”
    • Susan Atteridge—previously with AT&T for 14 years—hired as global communications EVP in 1998. With CEO backing + a 54 person team , Atteridge charged with international corporate communications, branding, advertising, and marketing communications.
    • Atteridge created a global brand council to lead the makeover. Council wrote strategy providing framework for acquisitions, business development .
    • Integral part of process was changing name from Texas Utilities to TXU —still Texan in Texas, but no local connotations elsewhere in the world.
    • Atteridge’s team also led internal change efforts —employees needed to transition “from the quasi-bureaucratic management of a regulated monopoly to the scrappy aggressiveness of a free-market company.”
    Source: PR Week , March 4 2002
  • 46. Pitney Bowes: Narrowing On Capabilities
    • Pitney Bowes implemented a brand council to help build a strong corporate brand and overcome a lack of strategic and communications focus .
    • There, the council was “a cross-divisional team of senior managers…to guide Pitney Bowes' corporate brand strategy and implementation.”
    • One of its top priorities was “ establishing design standards to provide a foundation for the development and implementation of a new, worldwide product and service collateral system.”
    • “The system incorporated the consistent use of a capabilities listing , informing customers at a glance of the full range of Pitney Bowes' offerings.”
    Source: Corporate Branding
  • 47. Why C-Level Support Is Critical
  • 48. AT&T: Lack of Leadership Hampers The Brand Council
    • Two years ago, the Yankee Group called AT&T’s brand “ increasingly irrelevant ,” with its COO slamming AT&T for failing to “have a unifying message in the marketplace”; for attracting “lower-spending, less technologically sophisticated mass-market customers”; for failing to show how brand fits in with “cutting-edge digital offerings such as broadband, video and high-speed Internet access services.” (Symbolic: “1-800-Call ATT” and the TV commercials featuring Paul Reiser.)
    • Meanwhile, competitors WorldCom, Bell Atlantic Corp., and Cincinnati Bell were busily rebranding /renaming themselves…
    • Yankee suggested one of three paths for AT&T: revamp the corporate brand, keep the corporate brand but create new niche subbrands for specific targets, or change the corporate brand name altogether.
    • Sara Lipson (AT&T VP-brand management and customer intelligence) cited efforts of brand council—but as Ad Age reported, council was hampered by CMO Eugene Lockhart's “abrupt departure” in February 2000 and a delay in finding a successor.
    Source: Advertising Age , May 15 2000
  • 49. Bank of America: Leadership Gone Too Far?
    • Fall 1999: Bank of America becomes a focus of media jokes for its Brand Council-issued memo: “ The logo cannot be eaten , so please refrain from putting it on cakes and other edible items.”
    • Intent was to successfully merge two cultures after a 1998 merger between BoA and NationsBank—belief was that “ reverence for the new logo” would have a unifying effect on the company's 170,975 employees.
    • Employees were told that Chairman Hugh L. McColl Jr. personally disliked use of terms that referred to previous companies— “legacy BankAmerica,” “legacy NationsBank.”
    • BofA brand and communication director Helen Eggers reportedly “chuckled mildly over the memo,” but pointed out the importance of employees being on the same page : “We're really forming a new company with a unique vision.”
    • Around that time, the bank also issued a policy prohibiting Christmas trees in bank lobbies. The rationale: “To be sensitive to the diversity of customers and co-workers across the nation, as well as create a consistent look, tone and fee l across the franchise.”
    • Protests from employees later prompted the bank to rescind the policy , allowing each branch to decide on its own holiday decorations.
    Sources: St. Petersburg Times , December 20 1999; The American Banker , October 7 1999
  • 50. The Opposite Effect: Defiance
    • “ I've worked in corporate environments for more than 20 years and experienced many ridiculous rules, but this tops all…. I would think that the people on the ‘brand council’ ( what is that all about? ) would be glad after downsizing, company buyouts, changes that employees have no control over but that affect them and their futures, and less and less security for employees each day that employers would be happy that some employees still want to show a little company loyalty in such a small way. I would think that they have much more important, executive-type duties to perform than punishing a few loyal employees . Think of it - I can see the brand council members as some type of Men in Black who stand around with cell phones conveying messages to each other like: ‘'Logo cookies, 3rd floor, lunchroom.’ I’m willing to bet that if they received a cake from one of their rich clients with their logo on it, they'd be willing to look the other way, smile, thank the client and indulge in a piece of that cake.
    • “ By the way . . . guess what type of cake I'm going to bake today? Come and get me !”
    • — Donna Holt, Virginia Beach
    Source: The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA) October 7 1999
  • 51. In-Depth Interviews: Highlights
  • 52. Brian Stage EVP, Sales & Marketing Radisson Source: Telephone Interview, March 12 2002. Note that interview has been edited for clarity. Source: Telephone Interview, March 12 2002
  • 53. Q. “Why are brand councils such a secret?” A. “People must think it's (brand councils are) a value—if someone else does it, it will make them more competitive .”
  • 54. Background
    • “ We formed it (the brand council) primarily because we had all these partner organizations operating under our name around the world, with whom we are tied by virtue of various contracts. But obviously there are limits to the degree we can control how the brand is executed and marketed in every market Radisson operates in. So we formed a council with the heads of the marketing entities from the various groups around the world and committed to meeting, usually twice a year, to discuss what the brand stands for, and how it can be executed, in various markets around the world .”
    • “ The process has evolved a lot. We're now reinventing it a little bit to focus it on new issues that have developed over the years: direct sales issues, distribution, even product standards and other kinds of operating issues that I think can be categorized as part of the branding process.”
  • 55. On The Brand Council & CSR
    • “ Yes, that's another issue that we want to undertake. Our partners in Europe have fairly well developed policy and have put some initiatives and goals behind the issues of environmental sensitivity and social responsibility. It is a very interesting area. One of the things that we struggle with as part of our reality here in the US is that the Radisson enterprise is today, largely a franchised organization. About 75% of the hotels worldwide are not owned or operated by Radisson itself but by independent owner-operators. So in that situation we are in a position to influence, but we don't control .”
    • “ (The companies I most admire in this respect are) Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic—companies that make oodles of money, whose valuation has grown over the years. Think of what J&J did in the Tylenol scare. They showed that their first and foremost business purpose was to provide health products. Anything that took away from that, that harmed the public, they would stand behind it and do the right thing. They not only saved the J&J brand but also Tylenol. They spent a lot of money doing it, and over time it will come back to them many times over. So my way of thinking, is that there is a corporate character that goes all the way through. My sense is that what they do is real, it goes all the way through the company, not just as a way to build a brand. To my way of thinking that's a good example of how they (brand councils integrated with CSR) can work.”
  • 56. Advice To Those Forming Brand Councils
    • “ You must be clear about what the objectives of the exercise are. You must define what you mean by the brand. We actually brought in some professional expertise—a university expert in marketing—who facilitated the first couple of sessions of the council, basically to give academic context for what it is that we’re talking about. The notion is that you bring in somebody who really knows brands, what they stand for, and can share best practices.”
  • 57. Anonymous Informant Source: Telephone Interview, March 7 2002 Source: Telephone Interview, March 7 2002
  • 58. Background
    • “The whole endeavor was part of an effort to enhance visibility of the good work that the organization did. It was a result of focusing the organization in order to create a brand.
    • “ When I came, if you asked people what does this organization do, they just looked at you . ”
    Note: Interview has been edited for clarity. In addition, some details have been eliminated to protect the confidentiality of this informant .
  • 59. Focus
    • “When I first got there they had many areas of focus. And they changed (the areas of focus) every two years ! ”
    • The first thing I did what develop a marketing committee. This was in effect a brand council. It involved representatives from all the major departments. In order to get a handle on what was going on, much less how to bring it together, we needed to share information .”
  • 60. Resistance
    • “There was resistance to that from some, and it was hugely welcomed by others. The people who understood marketing welcomed it, and people who didn’t and wanted their own turf, didn’t. Happily, I had the support of the CEO.”
    • “We began to meet monthly, and began to share information….There was no visual identity, there was no tagline, nothing…. I had a brand new marketing department that nobody understood .”
    • “By the time we were through with strategic planning…we had one area of focus. This one focus got them to what their mission was about, right from the beginning. Once you do that it almost becomes easy , because then when people want to get you off course, you can say that’s a worthy thing but we can’t devote our resources to help you with it.”
  • 61. Success Breeds Support
    • “ More and more people got on board as this began to come into fruition. People began to bring things to the committee to talk it through in terms of the brand.
    • “ And as usual, and it’s not surprising to anybody who has been part of this, is that you get a whole lot more bang for your buck when your activities are coordinated.”
    • “ We talked about the themes of how does this relate to our brand and how do we capitalize on one from the other. This began to happen in the council.”
    • “ The brand council was integral in achieving these things – if that did not exist, we could not have succeeded. But it was not just that – the leadership had to be behind it too. It was perfect branding, it resonated at every level. At every single step, we were coordinated in both theme and schedule. It was all very strategic.”
  • 62. The End Of Leadership: Where It All Went Wrong
    • “What went wrong was pretty typical. The leader who had backed the brand council left, and the new one made some horrible decisions ….here’s a perfect example of bringing together all of the people whom you’ve empowered to grow the organization, and then don’t listen to them. It’s so textbook. This leader began to not listen about pretty well everything.
    • “ Today the organization is back where it started (has reversed the gains made during this informant’s tenure). Not focusing on brand. And it was the brand that got them power, that turned them into players .”
  • 63. III. Why Integrate Brand Council With CSR?
  • 64. Reason 1: Your brand makes a promise… perhaps more of a promise than you realized. People are listening. Rich or poor, powerful or not, they demand access to the promise.
  • 65. No Logo Author Naomi Klein
    • “Why, only six months on, does the campaign for a new and improved Brand USA seem in disarray?” ….
    • “Beers views America's tattered international image as little more than a communications problem. Somehow America still hasn't managed, in Beers’ words, to ‘get out there and tell our story.’”
    • “ In fact, the problem is just the opposite: America's marketing of itself has been too effective. Schoolchildren can recite its claims to democracy, liberty and equal opportunity as readily as they can associate McDonald's with family fun and Nike with athletic prowess . And they expect the US to live up to its claims.”
    • “If they are angry, as millions clearly are, it's because they have seen those promises betrayed by US policy.”
    Source: Manchester Guardian Weekly , March 27 2002
  • 66. Reason 2: Corporate Irresponsibility Leads To Brand Disloyalty …Meaning Loss of $$$
  • 67. Immorality Is A Brand Turnoff
    • “ The ethical working practices of businesses are having a significant effect on purchasing decisions around the world.”
    • “ Majorities of consumers in Australia (71%), the US (67%), Germany (62%), Singapore (56%), and the UK (55%) say that they have considered buying a different brand of product because the company that made the one they normally used had done something they didn’t like such as treat its employees poorly, harm the environment, or use child labor .
    • “ Half of Spanish (50%) and French (49%) consumers, and three in ten of Italian (29%) and Belgian (29%) consumers say they have considered changing brands because of “bad corporate behavior. ”
    Source: “ Understanding the Consumer Mindset in Brand Selection: A Global Review,” commissioned by Weber Shandwick Worldwide with research undertaken by SWR Worldwide Conducted in October 2000
  • 68. Reason 3: You Are Investing In CSR Anyway… Why Shouldn’t It Enhance Your Brand????
  • 69. Christian Science Monitor April 22, 2002
    • “ More large companies, from auto giants to airlines, are producing ‘sustainability reports’ in addition to—or as part of—their traditional annual reports. In them, they provide a detailed accounting of the firm's environmental and social performance. McDonald's released its first such report last week, and Shell came out with its fifth report a week earlier.”
  • 70. Financial Times February 4, 2002
    • “ Leaders of 36 international companies will today issue a ‘corporate citizenship’ statement, committing them to making responsible behaviour a core part of their business and to forging close links with all their stakeholders.”
    • “ Against the background of the Enron scandal and continuing waves of corporate lay-offs, the chief executives of companies, including Anglo American, Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Siemens, will say that ‘ultimate responsibility (for corporate citizenship) rests with us as chief executives, chairmen and board directors’”...
    • “ Other signatories include ABB, India's Infosys Technologies, Deutsche Bank, ING of the Netherlands, Rio Tinto and Phillips-Van Heusen.”
  • 71. Reason 4: Integrating CSR and brand may help explain your activities to shareholders.
  • 72. Battle In The Boardroom
    • “ Shareholder resolutions have helped activists challenge everything from genetically modified food to apartheid. They've successfully persuaded companies such as Home Depot, DuPont and Walt Disney to change their policies.”
    Source: USA Today , April 8 2002
  • 73. IV. Conclusion
  • 74. Review of Findings: The Brand Council
    • Brand councils are a recognized best practice.
    • They depend on C-level support to succeed.
    • Councils are especially applicable to brands that:
      • Have lost or cannot depend on a single brand steward
      • Are or want to be global
      • Have just undergone a merger
      • Have lost focus or need to change focus
    • Brand councils require the authority to enforce brand alignment.
    • Brand councils tend to broaden in scope once the organization “gets it”.
    • Brand councils tend to grow stronger with success.
  • 75. 4 Council-Specific Questions Warranting Further Study
    • How do you get the council to function as a change agent?
    • What is the ideal composition of the council?
    • What is the ideal relationship between the brand council and senior business management?
    • To what extent should the brand council focus on broad strategic issues, and to what extent should they be charged with implementation?
  • 76. 4 Reasons To Integrate Brand Council With CSR
    • Strong brands keep their promises—and diverse audiences (some of them rich and powerful, some not) are demanding access to those promises.
    • Corporate irresponsibility leads to brand disloyalty and loss of money.
    • You are investing in CSR anyway…why shouldn’t it enhance your brand?
    • Integrating brand and CSR may help explain your activities to shareholders and fend off hostile resolutions.
  • 77. Key Recommendations
    • Understand that your brand is a reality—the sum total of perceptions that exist whether you choose to manage them or not.
    • Based on that understanding, establish a cross-functional council with the authority to get the brand where it needs to go.
    • Ensure that CSR and HR representatives are on the council (because CSR applies to employees too).
    • Create a charter for the council: goals, responsibilities, support mechanisms, metrics.
    • Build in a process for registering feedback and the need for change.
  • 78. Sponsored by The Brand Consultancy www.thebrandconsultancy.com [email_address]