26 February 2014

I was reading Richard Branson’s blog earlier this week and came across an interesting post he’d written about public attitudes to brands. Based on Havas Media’s Meaningful Brands Global Infographic, it highlighted the fact that you can’t just go into business with the sole ambition of making money. You’ve got to have another drive, a greater purpose. Some people might argue that giving back isn’t necessary for a business to be successful, but I’d have to challenge those people on their definition of the word success.

Personally, I think it’s clear to see from the Infographic the weight that the public put on social and ethical responsibility when judging a brand. The fact that only 32% of people surveyed think brands are honest about their commitments and promises is underwhelming to say the least.

Is it any wonder that of the 700 brands included in the survey, the big names at the top of the list are the ones that make a lot of effort to make an impact on other people’s lives? Take Microsoft, who came in at number 3. Not only do they donate software to non-profit organisations, but they also run a programme that sets young people up with educational and employment opportunities.

Ultimately, if you want people to engage with your brand, you have to genuinely care about people, and not just the ones whose faces appear on bank notes! Success shouldn’t be measured on how much your business takes each year, but also on how much it gives back. If people don’t trust your brand or feel like it makes a positive difference, why should they care about its success?

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