Something very cool is emerging in the commercial world. Brands are beginning to lead on some big, juicy issues. Some might say that’s because of the vacuum of leadership that exists at a government level in many key countries around the world. But that is underestimating the power of the people and in particular the new generation of power consumers.
Perhaps it’s also underestimating the commercial smarts within many organisations who are looking at the research. Or it’s simply a confluence of circumstances.
Whatever… the point is, change is happening, and first movers are gaining an advantage.
Consumers, millennials in particular, are beginning to vote with their wallet. For the first time, we are seeing tangible evidence of the connection between brand trust and commercial growth. People are on the journey to find brands that reflect and even inspire their values.
There’s a reason Patagonia is taking such a strong stance on climate change. Yes, they care passionately for the environment. But they know that when they take a stand on an issue their tribe of loyalists grows. It’s simply smart business.
PWC recently joined a group of partners with the goal of solving homelessness in Australia within a generation. Bold move? Incredibly. Achievable? It’s going to take an almighty commitment and network of partnerships across every level of society. I say, ‘hooray for leadership!’. It’s the right thing to do for society, but just as importantly it’s the right thing to do for PWC stakeholders. If done properly it will set them apart in a highly competitive category known to be clinical and calculating. The partnerships they form will bring a halo of care, intimacy and trust over the PWC brand. Did someone say point of difference?
The future belongs to brands who are smart enough to lead.
Harvard Business School tells us high trust companies are 2.5 more likely to succeed than low trust companies. A recent white paper published by Australian media company Which-50, quotes:
So where is the opportunity? Work out what your organisation values, and do something about it, every day. No one brand can change the world alone. But there’s now enough evidence telling us that sitting on our hands and watching others do it is not smart business.
Whatever your brand’s inner sole is – let it out. Allow trust and growth to do good for the world and your bottom line.
Authors: Bruce McKaskill & Tim Wood are founding partners at Fit Brand & Partnerships, Australia's leading independent brand and partnership growth consultancy serving rights holders in the arts, community, associations and Government services sectors.