Brands & Sustainability – Saying / Doing Both Matter to Stakeholders

Posted on July 22, 2015 by Hank Boerner – Chair & Chief Strategist

#Corporate Responsibility #Corporate Sustainability #SRI #Sustainability Reporting #Sustainable Investing 

We think the Sustainable Brands annual conference is one of the “must attend” gatherings of sustainability managers and service providers.  This year’s theme was “How Now,” with focus on “how” companies can support, strengthen and innovate their brands [for sustainability] – “now!” (This was the organizations’ 15th annual conference.)
Outstanding experts in branding and related fields share their wisdom and experience.  This week we are focused on the story: Sustainability is Not What Your Brand Says/It Is What It Doesas originally published on the Huff Post platform.  Author Karen Monson, Senior Director of Global Citizenship and Sustainability at pharma company Janssen, shares her perspectives on the conference.  She focuses on a graphic used by author Denise Hohn – “A Brand is What You Do and How You Do It” and expands on the theme.
Janssen, she explains, explores new ways to address sustainability for people, planet and its business.  Partnering as a “big company” with smaller, emerging healthcare companies, Janssen encourages these incubating entities to innovate. Janssen also invests in the local communities. Conferences like those staged by Sustainable Brands, she writes, helps her to learn about best practices, trends, and provide inspiration.  But returning to the home office, she observes, you have to take action on purpose-driven issues…a brand is about what you do / not what you say.  And she asks, what does your brand do?
This is an insightful article worth reading.  Our view:  The brand is the logo, in ancient Greek language, meaning the “sign,”, the “word,” what goes before us to market and represent the values of our enterprise, to remind prospects and customers of the trust in our product or service, and the brand is an important part of motivating people (to follow, to buy, to be loyal to the brand).
More and more, as we see in our extensive monitoring and analysis of volumes of corporate sustainability reports each month, the sustainability journey [of the business enterprise] is an important foundation for strengthening, protecting and projecting brand trust and brand value.  It is the sustainability “doing” as well as the “saying” (disclosure and reporting) that matters to stakeholders. The doing and saying go hand-in-hand, in our opinion.  If the doing does not match the saying, serious dissonance occurs – undermining brand value.
What say you? Read the whole story:
Sustainability Isn’t What Your Brand Says; It’s What It Does
(Monday – July 13, 2015)
Source: Huff Post – Recently, at the 2015 Sustainable Brands Conference, I was struck by something Harvard Business Review contributor and the author of “What Great Brands Do,” Denise Yohn, showcased on the main stage. Her visual read: “A BRAND IS…