可持续品牌助推公司增长
作者:Ang WU, Jinxin WANG, Yi YANG
2021-06-18
摘要:可持续品牌是指将环境、社会、企业治理、经济等关键性议题纳入品牌商业运作的品牌。随着ESG议题在全球范围内被不断讨论,可持续概念也最终在消费和生产领域被不断…

可持续品牌是指将环境、社会、企业治理、经济等关键性议题纳入品牌商业运作的品牌。随着ESG议题在全球范围内被不断讨论,可持续概念也最终在消费和生产领域被不断接受和执行,消费者需求、品牌行为等也都在不断发生变化,为可持续品牌提供了更多的驱动力。2021年世界品牌大会主题是“可持续品牌助推公司增长”,我们将讨论品牌如何通过影响的时刻实现增长和发展。

 

和曾经流行的“绿色品牌”相比,可持续品牌除了关注环境绩效外,还对品牌的产品或服务带来的社会福祉、经济影响等有更高的要求。可持续品牌也不仅仅是对品牌自身行为的约束,同时还反映了品牌所在的供应链、生态圈、消费群等外部环境的可持续。譬如, 可持续品牌关注使用产品阶层(消费层面)、生产产品的条件(生产层面)、工作中的人(供应链中的工人)。可以说,可持续品牌概念是品牌在可持续发展方面的综合反映,是品牌与内外部环境不断碰撞、交流,最终达到和谐统一的积极形态。一般来说,可持续品牌坚持生态(环境)、社会(公平)和金融(经济)可持续性的三重底线。

 

我们特别同意《哈佛商业评论》总编辑阿迪·伊格内修斯(Adi Ignatius)的观点,即今天的首席执行官不仅需要考虑到他们的股东,还需要考虑到所有利益相关者。这是一个更复杂,但也更有价值的过程。耶鲁大学管理学教授莱维·多尔(Ravi Dhar)从学术角度进一步解释了利益相关者营销的利与弊。随后,牛津大学商业和公共政策教授卡蒂克·拉曼纳(Karthik Ramanna)谈到了在ESG中避免洗绿的问题,为企业和投资者提供了一个可持续发展的解决方案。最后,哈佛大学管理学教授约翰·戴腾(John Deighton)以“少些营销,多些造市”为战略,讨论了建立可持续品牌的方法和工具。

 

为什么可持续品牌能为企业带来增长?

 

可持续品牌受欢迎,主要是因为该战略能够为企业带来可持续的增长。可持续品牌可以为企业带来更加积极的社会认可。从品牌角度,社会认可对企业在消费市场的竞争优势,以及企业与消费者之间纽带的形成有重要影响。因此,可持续品牌将可以为企业带来稳定健康的财务表现、与消费者之间更加丰富的情感连结以及更加显著的品牌个性。

 

从企业管理角度来看,可持续一方面能够帮助企业提升运营效率,从而降低运营成本、提升资本转化率。生产物料使用效率的提升、产品的绿色追踪等也可以帮助企业改善业务流程,更快地采纳新技术,从而为企业的上下游企业创造更好的合作和发展环境,制造更多新的发展机会。另一方面,可持续还能够帮助企业通过更加人性化的管理措施吸引人才。作为全球化时代最重要的资产之一,人力资本是企业宝贵的无形资产。可持续品牌能够帮助企业以良性的方式和人才之间达成更多默契,以企业价值为基础和员工共同进步。

 

根据SSIR的数据,有90%的CEO认为可持续性是企业成功的重要因素。企业管理者们如此统一的认知是基于他们对消费市场变化的准确观察。根据IBM在2020年发布的研究报告显示(见图1),全球81%的受访者/消费者可以被划分在两个类别中:价值驱动型以及目的驱动型。其中,价值驱动型消费者(占比41%)关注便利性以及品牌可信任度和可持续性,目的驱动型(占比40%)则追求符合他们生活方式和健康价值观念的品牌。另外还有品牌驱动型消费者(占比13%)更是对品牌的可持续性有极致要求。由此来看,品牌的可持续能力已经不仅仅是企业自身做出的选择,而是消费者对品牌提出的重要要求。从整体消费者群体来看,超过七成的消费者认为品牌在多个可持续性议题方面的表现至关重要。

 

根据IBM对各个世代消费群体的调研也可以发现,可持续观念已经成为了公共认知,是不同消费群体的共同需求。关注品牌产品或服务可持续性的90后/00后群体的比例超过了70%。尤其是随着年轻消费者消费能力的提升,同时这一群体也有着更加强烈的表达欲望和分享欲望,品牌迎合这一发展趋势也就成了必然的选择。消费者对可持续的追求是近年来消费观念最主要的变化之一。而只有可持续品牌才能凭借品牌在这一领域的积累和优势把握住这样的变化以及机遇,为企业带来先发优势,为占据更多市场空间创造机会。

 

如何实现可持续品牌? 8C原则

 

可持续品牌定位,是品牌识别和价值主张的一部分,要积极地传达给目标受众。许多第一代可持续品牌在市场上失败了,因为公司过分强调产品的积极社会生态属性,而忽略了对其他产品属性的关注,如性能、功能或设计。结果,许多产品无法与传统产品竞争。为了建立和定位强大的可持续品牌,有一些准则需要遵循。Marc Stoiber、Perrine Bouhana、Martin Belz等学者和专家在这方面做了前期探索,并总结出可持续性品牌建设的“8C原则”:

 

核心(Core),可持续性应该与关键问题和核心业务联系在一起,通过评估产品在整个生命周期中对社会生态的影响,并找出产品生命周期中的社会生态“热点”。

 

合作性(Co-operative),要解决与产品整个生命周期相关的主要社会生态问题,需要在创新和营销可持续产品和服务的过程中,与供应商、零售商、消费者、科学家和其他非市场主体(如非政府组织)进行合作。

 

可信的(Credible),公信力的基本要素首先是解决与公司产品相关的关键社会生态问题,其次是将可持续性与核心业务联系起来。与值得信赖的伙伴合作,使用独立的第三方标签,如高水平的透明度(如通过在线跟踪系统,使消费者能够看到产品背后的世界),可以额外增加可持续性品牌的可信度。

 

消费者利益(Consumer Benefits),产品的社会生态特征或属性通常只是起到一个辅助作用(没有核心利益)。为了扩大可持续性品牌的吸引力,企业应该强调社会生态属性的内在消费者利益,包括效率和成本效益、健康和安全、象征意义和地位。此外,他们应该将社会生态属性与功能、设计和耐用性等利益结合起来,创造“动机联盟”。

 

对话性(Conversational),可持续发展的品牌建设是更有效的双向对话,而不是单向的公告。邀请消费者进入关于可持续发展过程的对话,可以加强品牌与消费者的关系。

 

连贯性(Consistency),如果可持续发展是品牌定位的关键,这就需要一种综合的可持续发展沟通方式:重要的是以一致的方式进行沟通,包括例如广告、个人销售或在线沟通。除此之外,可持续性产品品牌必须与公司的整体环境和社会表现保持一致。

 

承诺(Commitment),可持续发展品牌不仅需要公关部门和可持续发展官员的承诺,而且还需要高层管理人员和营销决策者的承诺。

 

连续性(Continuity),可持续发展必须反映品牌的核心价值,并有助于长期实现品牌承诺。这意味着一个品牌不能过于频繁地改变其可持续发展的重点,或参与太多无关的领域。

 

对于如何实现可持续品牌,全球各大品牌以及咨询机构在近些年中均在不停的探索,以获得最好的结果。其中,BBGM提出了The Pull Factor Project模型(见图2)。该模型提出了将消费者需求、可持续行为以及品牌资产三者相结合,从而构建可持续品牌。

 

从具体举措来看,建立一个可持续品牌与一个普通品牌有截然不同的策略。制定有效的措施并提前规划能确保公司在建立可持续品牌中平稳过渡。结合The Pull Factor Project模型,我们为企业实现可持续品牌构建提出了以下建议:

 

1.了解品牌的消费者

 

首先,企业需要进行一定的市场调查,对品牌目标消费者进行适当的研究和分析。不仅需要明白消费者的需求,更要深入挖掘,了解消费者对于企业品牌的感观以及认知。对于品牌感知中不符合可持续发展的角度,着重进行改善。

 

了解品牌消费者或是受众的需求,以及对于品牌的印象,并解决消费者关心的问题,是提升品牌忠诚度和参与度,并最终建立可持续品牌的重要途径。

 

2.了解全球社会、环境热点趋势

 

尽管所有企业对于可持续品牌构建的最终目的都是一致的,但是消费者最关心的社会和环境问题每年都在发生改变。

 

例如,自2019年起,碳足迹、碳中和的概念在各个国家以及企业中较为热门。欧盟在2019年12月,承诺2030年排放减半,2050年实现碳中和;2020年9月,中国提出二氧化碳排放在2030年前达到峰值,争取在2060年前实现碳中和。全球各大品牌也纷纷效仿,积极投身碳中和事业:Amazon在2019年9月宣布,预备在2040年前达成企业的碳中和目标;Apple则在2020年7月承诺,到2030年实现供应链和产品100%碳中和。

 

对于企业来说,及时了解全球的社会、环境趋势,并根据不同的热点问题,进行相关的品牌可持续构建以及营销,能帮助品牌更快的获得消费者的认可。

 

3.评估企业现有可持续行为

 

最后,企业需要评估其现有的可持续相关行为。例如企业的供应链或是生产排放活动:企业从哪里采购产品,以及它们是如何运输?一切过程是否符合可持续的标准?企业的排放过程中是否符合可持续标准?

 

在所有这些领域中,找出对于企业最为关键的领域,并不断改善,使其逐渐可持续化。例如,食品饮料行业可以将原材料作为重要领域;在纺织等劳动力密集型行业中,则将社区以及员工关爱等作为重点领域。之后,通过这些可持续行为,构建全新的品牌相关元素,例如:品牌名称、标语、品牌承诺/本质、品牌属性、品牌价值/行为,并考虑到每个受众最容易接受你的信息的最佳渠道和环境,让消费者能够了解你的品牌的可持续行为,在消费者的品牌认知中,逐步构建可持续品牌的形象。

 

参加世界品牌大会的专家们,如何看待可持续品牌?

 

《哈佛商业评论》总编辑阿迪·伊格内修斯(Mr.Adi Ignatius)指出,首席执行官的角色正在发生变化。公司高管现在需要广泛地考虑他们的所有利益相关者,而不仅仅是他们的股东。这项工作的回报更高,但也更复杂。然而,即使角色在不断变化,伟大的领导力仍有一些基本属性是不会改变的。伊格内修斯先生认为,在如何创造持久的品牌价值方面,以下四位伟大的CEO是杰出的典范:皮克斯的艾德·卡姆尔(Ed Catmull)、苹果的史蒂夫·乔布斯(Steve Jobs)、百事的英德拉·努伊(Indra Nooyi)和海尔的张瑞敏。

 

哈佛大学管理学教授约翰·戴腾(Dr.John Deighton)在关于如何实施一个可持续的品牌战略时给出了他的建议。教授提出“少些营销,多些造市”。通过研究了两个行业(纺织品和食品),他发现在这两个行业中,我们浪费的东西比我们消费的东西多。营销人员说制造它,我们就会卖掉它,所以供应链说好,并大量制造“它”,从而推动成本下降。因此,当营销失败时,浪费的供应成本对品牌来说不是什么问题。但对地球来说,这是一个巨大的问题。处理生产过程中的过剩产品是一个可怕的负担,但它是经济学家传统上所说的外在因素,一种不反映在价格中的成本。越来越多的活动家将这些社会成本公之于众,对那些忽视这些成本的品牌的声誉也造成了很大冲击。教授提供的解决方案是制造新的市场,使人们对回收的衣服、拼凑的布料、不那么完美的水果等产生兴趣。

 

牛津大学商业与公共政策教授卡蒂克·拉曼纳(Dr.Karthik Ramanna)指出,今天在许多公司,ESG仍然被视为一种报告或合规工作,而不是一种战略活动。他为那些希望与客户建立真实信任的品牌和公司概述了五个步骤。具体如下:第一,不要忽视利益相关者的问题,他们需要被倾听。第二,尽量避免政治性的东西。第三,尝试开始对能力不对称采取行动。第四,要保持领先,你的利益相关者的期望在不断变化。最后但并非最不重要的是,企业应尽量不要对ESG有太大的野心,并尝试一步一步地实现目标,即企业的ESG活动应当是真实的。

 

耶鲁大学管理学教授莱维·多尔(Dr.Ravi Dhar)在其演讲中表示,当今世界,利益关系营销策略正在悄然发生改变。他同时进一步提出了企业为自身创造战略价值的四个步骤。首先,多尔教授表示,企业应该仔细区分不同类型利益相关群体的不同诉求。其次,企业决策者应该能够有效分辨出,哪些看似“战略”的行为,实际上只是企业受制于法律和行业规定而“不得不做”的。又有哪些行为是企业通过“自身驱动”主动选择进行的,能为其在市场中带来切实长久竞争优势的战略。第三步是企业在解决问题时,应该尽量选择一种可以同时满足多类利益相关群体价值诉求的行为,而不仅仅是解决单一利益相关方的问题。最后,企业内部应该形成一套新的系统和监测指标,从而可以更加有效率的对自身营销战略为其品牌价值所产生的影响进行评判。

 

世界品牌实验室主席、牛津大学营销学荣誉教授斯蒂芬·沃格(Dr.Steve Woolgar)表示:“品牌是一个国家的形象,我希望世界上更多的人能够通过中国品牌了解中国的故事。在过去的15年中,我目睹了中国品牌的快速成长,有的已经具有强大的世界影响力,譬如这些品牌包括国家电网、中国人寿、海尔、北大荒、五粮液、青岛啤酒、双星集团、竹叶青、河钢集团、恒力、中国南方电网、徐工、雪花啤酒、九牧厨卫、中国国航、中国一汽、华润等。中国经济的可持续增长与中国品牌价值的增长密切相关,品牌影响生产和消费,并最终促进经济增长。”

 

世界品牌实验室副主席威廉·蒙代尔(Mr.William Mundell)同时也是一位电影制片人,他认为品牌意识在一定程度上反映了民族性格和民族精神。如今将可持续发展原则纳入品牌战略对组织的生存和发展至关重要。品牌的可持续发展应该是所有商业层面的双赢。通过实施可持续发展措施以获得长期回报,企业可以保持领先优势,并产生更好的品牌知名度。  

 

Sustainable brands are those that incorporate key environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) and economic issues into their business operations. As ESG continues to be discussed globally, the concept of sustainability is being accepted by and implemented in the consumer and manufacturing sectors. The demands and behaviors of consumers are also changing, providing additional drivers for sustainable brands. The theme of today’s World Brand Summit is Sustainable Brands Drive Corporate Growth, and we will be discussing ways for brands to enable growth and development through moments of impact.

 

Compared with the once-popular “green brands,” sustainable brands not only focus more on environmental performance but also have stricter requirements regarding the social well-being and economic impact of the brand’s products or services. Sustainable branding concerns the sustainability behavior not only of a single brand, but also of the company as a whole. For example, sustainable brands focus on the demographics who use the product (the consumer level), the conditions under which the product is manufactured (the manufacturing level), and the people who manufacture the product (the workers in the supply chain). Generally speaking, sustainable brands adhere to the triple bottom line of ecological (environmental), social (equity), and financial (economic) sustainability.

 

We particularly agree with Mr. Adi Ignatius, Editor-in-Chief of Harvard Business Review, about how CEOs today need to take into consideration not only their shareholders but also all stakeholders. This is a more complex, but also more rewarding process. Professor Ravi Dhar at Yale further explained the pros and cons of Stakeholder Marketing from an academic perspective. Professor Karthik Ramanna at Oxford then talked about avoiding greenwashing in ESG, providing a solution for firms and investors in sustainable growth. Finally, Professor John Deighton at Harvard focused on the strategy of “Less marketing, More market-making” to discuss methods and tools for building a sustainable brand.

 

How sustainable brands can improve company performance

 

Sustainable branding is popular primarily because the strategy can generate company growth that can be maintained. Moreover, sustainable branding can lead to more positive social recognition for a company. From a branding perspective, social recognition has a significant impact on a company’s competitive advantage in the consumer market, and is crucial to creating a bond between the company and its consumers. As a result, sustainable brands can provide companies with a strong, stable financial performance; a deeper emotional connection with consumers; and a more distinctive brand personality.

 

From the perspective of business management, sustainability can help companies improve their operational efficiency, thus reducing operating costs and increasing the capital conversion rate. Improving the efficiency of production material usage and the green tracking of products can also help companies enhance their business processes and more quickly adopt new technologies. This results an environment that better facilitates the cooperation and development between upstream and downstream companies, and creates more development opportunities. Sustainability can also help companies attract talent through more humane management practices. In the era of globalization, human capital is a one of the most valuable intangible assets a company can have. Sustainable branding can positively and more effectively cooperate with their potential hires, and, together with their employees, make progress based on corporate values.

 

According to SSIR, 90% of CEOs, based on their observations of the consumer market, believe that sustainability is an important factor of business success. According to an IBM research report published in 2020, 81% of global respondents/consumers can be primarily be classified into two categories: value-driven and purpose-driven. Value-driven consumers (41%) focus on convenience, brand trustworthiness, and sustainability, while purpose-driven consumers (40%) seek brands that reflect their lifestyle and values. Another category of consumers called brand-driven consumers (13%) explicitly demand brand sustainability. Based on this third category of consumers, brand sustainability is no longer merely a company choice but an important consumer demand. In terms of the overall consumer base, the same report stated that more than 70% of all consumers believe that it is important for brands to perform well on multiple sustainability issues.

 

According to IBM’s research on various generations of consumers, the concept of sustainability has become an important part of a company’s public perception and is a common demand among different consumer groups. The proportion of Gen Z consumers who are concerned about the sustainability of brand products or services exceeds 70%. Since young consumers’ consumption ability is increasing rapidly, and because this consumer group also has a stronger desire than other consumer groups to express and share their opinions, brand sustainability has become inevitable. Consumers’ pursuit of sustainability is one of the most important changes in consumer attitudes in recent years. Due to their resources and unique strengths in this area, only sustainable brands can adapt to these changes and opportunities, and they are thus able to capitalize on first-mover advantages and create opportunities increase their market share.

How to achieve sustainable brands:The 8C principles

 

Sustainable brand positioning is part of brand identity and brand value, both of which must be actively communicated to the target audience. Many first-generation sustainable brands have failed in the market because the companies prioritized the positive socio-ecological attributes of the product but neglected attributes such as performance, function, and design. As a result, many of these products have been unable to compete with products manufactured by companies with more traditional branding. To build and position a strong sustainable brand, certain guidelines must be followed. Scholars and experts such as Marc Stoiber, Perrine Bouhana, and Martin Belz have made preliminary explorations in this regard, and summed up the "8C principles" for sustainable brand building:

 

Core: Sustainability should be linked with key issues and core business. By evaluating the entire life cycle of aproduct, brands can identify the product’s socio-ecological trends and thus its socio-ecological impact.

 

Co-operative: To solve the main socio-ecological problems related to a product’s entire life cycle, it is necessary to cooperate with suppliers, retailers, consumers, scientists, and other non-market entities (such as non-governmental organizations) to create and market sustainable products and services.

 

Credible: The basic element of credibility is to first solve the key social and ecological issues related to the company’s products, and then link sustainability with core business. Working with trusted partners and using third-party labels to achieve a high level of transparency (e.g., through an online tracking system that allows consumers to see how a product is designed, manufactured, and distributed), can further increase the credibility of a sustainable brand.

 

Consumer Benefits: The social and ecological attributes of the product usually only play an auxiliary role in consumers’ decision-making processes. To increase the attractiveness of sustainable brands, companies should emphasize the inherent consumer benefits of the socio-ecological attributes, including efficiency and cost-effectiveness, health and safety, symbolic meaning, and social status. In addition, they should combine socio-ecological attributes with benefits such as function, design, and durability to create a “motivation alliance.”

 

Conversational: Sustainable branding, as it creates a two-way dialogue, is more effective than one-way marketing. Inviting consumers into a dialogue about the sustainable development process can strengthen the relationship between a brand and its consumers.

 

Consistency: If sustainability is the key to brand positioning, it is necessary to have a comprehensive communication method to address sustainable development.It is important to communicate consistently through, for example, advertising, personal sales, and online channels. In addition, the sustainable product brand must be consistent with the company's overall environmental and social performance.

 

Commitment: A sustainable brand requires the commitment of not only public relations departments and sustainability officials but also senior management and marketing decision makers.

 

Continuity: Sustainability must reflect the core value of the brand and contribute to the long-term realization of the brand promise. This means that a brand should not change its sustainability focus too frequently or participate in an excess of unrelated areas. 

 

In recent years, major brands and consulting organizations around the world have been exploring how to build successful sustainable brands. Among them is BBGM, who has proposed the Pull Factor Project model. This model proposes combining consumer needs, sustainable behaviors, and brand equity to build sustainable brands.

 

In terms of specific initiatives, the strategy for building a sustainable brand is considerably different than that for building a generic brand. Effective measures and a concrete plan can ensure a smooth transition towards building a sustainable brand for one’s company. The Pull Factor Project model offers the following recommendations for companies that are aiming to build a successful sustainable brand.

 

1. Know your consumers

First, companies must conduct market research to analyze their target consumers. They need to understand not only their consumers’ needs but also their consumers’ perceptions and brand recognition. Companies must focus on improving brand perceptions that are not in line with their sustainable development goals.

 

Understanding the needs and perceptions of brand consumers and addressing consumer concerns are important ways to increase brand loyalty and engagement and ultimately build sustainable brands.

 

2. Understand global social and environmental trends

 

Although the ultimate goal of sustainable branding is the same for all companies, the social and environmental issues that matter most to consumers change each year.

 

For example, since 2019, the concepts “carbon footprint” and “carbon neutral” have been gaining popularity among consumers and companies in various countries. In December 2019, the European Union pledged to halve emissions by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2050; in September 2020, China proposed to reach peak CO2 emissions by 2030 and aims to become carbon neutral by 2060. Major brands around the world are also actively committing to carbon neutrality: Amazon announced in September 2019 that it intends to reach its corporate carbon neutrality goal by 2040, and Apple pledged in July 2020 to achieve 100% carbon neutrality in its supply chain and products by 2030.

It is important for companies to stay informed on global social and environmental trends and, based on said trends, to conduct relevant brand sustainability building and marketing, which will improve the rate at which brands gain consumer recognition.

 

3. Assess existing sustainability behaviors

 

Finally, companies musts assess their existing sustainability behaviors. For example, regarding a company’s supply chain, manufacturing,and emissions activities, the following questions must be considered: Where do the company’s products come from, and how are they transported? Do all processes meet sustainability standards? Does the company’s emission targets meet sustainability criteria?

 

Companies must identify the areas that are most critical to their business and continuously work to make them more sustainable. For example, in the food-and-beverage industry, raw materials can be identified as an important area. In labor-intensive industries such as textiles, community and employee well-being are some key areas. Through sustainable behaviors, companies must build new brand-related elements, such as the name, tagline, promise/essence, attributes, and values/behaviors. Companies must also consider the best means to communicate their message to ensure that customers are aware of the company’s sustainable behaviors. This will enable the company to gradually build a positive sustainable brand image.

 

What do the experts attending the World Brand Summit think about sustainable branding?

 

 Mr. Adi Ignatius, editor-in-chief of Harvard Business Review, noted that the role of the CEO is changing. Executive leaders now feel the need to think broadly about all of their stakeholders, not just their shareholders. As such, the position is becoming more rewarding but also more complex. Even as the role evolves, however, there are fundamental attributes of great leadership that remain the same. Mr. Ignatius also pointed out that the following four CEOs are outstanding examples in terms of how to create lasting brand value: Ed Catmull of Pixar, Steve Jobs of Apple, Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo, and Zhang Ruimin of Haier.

 

John Deighton, a professor of management at Harvard University, offered advice on how to implement a sustainable branding strategy: less marketing, more market-making. After examining two industries, textiles and food, he realized that we are wasting more than we consume. When marketers initiate the production of a product, the supply chain manufactures the product in such large quantities that the cost is driven down. If marketers fail to sell the product, the cost of the wasted supply is not a significant problem for the brand, but it is an enormous problem for the planet. Disposing of excesses of the manufacturing process is a substantial environmental burden, but it is what economists have traditionally called an externality, a cost that is not reflected in prices. Increasingly, activists are making these social costs public, and when brands ignore these costs, their reputation suffers. The solution Professor Deighton offered is to open new markets that create an appetite for recycled clothing, patchwork fabrics, less-than-perfect fruit, etc.

 

Dr. Karthik Ramanna, a professor of business and public policy at the University of Oxford, pointed out that in many companies today, ESG is still seen as a reporting or compliance exercise rather than a strategic activity. He outlined five steps that enable brands to build authentic trust with customers and ensure realistic corporate ESG activities. First, companies should not ignore stakeholder issues; Second, companies should try to avoid political issues. Third, they should try to start acting on capacity asymmetries. Fourth, they should stay ahead of the curve because the stakeholders’ expectations are constantly changing. Last but not least, companies should not to be too ambitious about ESG and should attempt to achieve their goals one step at a time.

 

Ravi Dhar, a professor at the Yale School of Management, stated that marketing strategy is changing the stakeholder capitalism of today’s world. He put forward a strategic value creation process consisting of four major steps. First is to identify the value drivers for different stakeholder categories. Second, corporations need to distinguish the “must do” tasks that are required for compliance with laws or industry norms from the “choose to do” opportunities that create lasting competitive differentiation. Third, companies must try to jointly solve problems that concern not only one stakeholder category but stakeholders at all business levels. Finally, companies should enable new systems and metrics so that they can successfully measure the impacts and outcomes of their strategies.

 

Steve Woolgar, a professor at the University of Oxford and the chairman of the World Brand Lab, said, “Brands are the image of a nation and I hope that more people around the world can learn about the story of China through Chinese brands. In the past 15 years, I have witnessed the rapid growth of Chinese brands, some of which already have a strong global influence, for example, these brands include State Grid, China Life, Haier, Beidahuang, Wuliangye, Tsingtao Beer, Double Star, Zhuyeqing Tea, HBIS Group, Hengli, China Southern Power Grid, XuZhou Construction Machinery, Snow Beer, Jomoo, Air China, China FAW, China Resources, etc.Sustainable economic growth in China is closely linked to the growth in the value of China's brands, which influence production and consumption, and ultimately contribute to economic growth.”

 

William Mundell, the vice chairman of the World Brand Lab and a film producer, believes that brand awareness reflects, to a certain extent, national character and national spirit. Incorporating sustainable principles into brand strategy is essential for organizations to survive and thrive. Brand sustainability should benefit everyone involved at all business levels. By implementing sustainability measures for long-term returns, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and improve their brand visibility.

 

 

 


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