Transparency. Supplier relationships. Social responsibility. Privacy.

These terms have all been bouncing about a lot lately whether it be in conjunction with Apple, BP, Google or just general conversation.  And because of that, few people have been surprised that we’ve become more focused on brands as social reformers and been speaking more about brands advocating on behalf of their customers over the past two months.  What has startled several of our clients, however, has been the fact that we didn’t purposefully set out to deliver this message when we fielded our quantitative research in conjunction with CultureQ this past December.  The intent of our study was to get a broad understanding of general sentiment for 2012 – of Baby Boomers’ and Millennials’ aspirations and dreams to see how far apart they were and how similar and different they were between the US and UK.  We had no idea when we began to synthesise the results with our on-going conversations with Millennials that the learning would take us to this exciting, new place.  With faith in government and political leadership low, people are looking for brands to recognise their broadening social significance and with that take on some of the responsibilities for the future of humanity.

So, with this in mind, and in response to several requests, we’d like to share our Brand Citizenship Quotient from  our recently released CultureQ report with you here.

Brand Citizenship Quotient Index
(based on top brands named as leaders)













**Smaller or very small sample sizes
***No mentions for good or bad citizenship

And for a quick explanation of what’s behind the numbers:

  • Apple scored highest in both the US and UK on leadership and corporate citizenship, yet it did not have the highest CitizenshipQ score. This is because while Apple inspires everyday life through shaping society and helping us to understand how interconnected we are, people do not associate them with helping communities, aiding those in need or bettering the environment.
  • Privacy issues aside, Google, on the other hand, is more strongly associated with its green investments and its inclusive corporate culture.
  • Microsoft scores extremely high in the US because of perceptions that the Gates Foundation is related in some way to the corporation.  Accurate or not, the halo effect from the Gates Foundation is clearly real.  In the UK, however, associations with the Gates Foundation are significantly less.
  • Positive associations with Tesco’s environmental efforts and fair value are somewhat offset by negative ones that they “monopolise the sector and give no hope to independent farmers, green grocers, etc.”
  • Not surprisingly, TOMS, whose social purpose is implicit in its business mission, has the highest CitizenshipQ score.  TOMS brand leadership comes from its social heart.
  • The large number of people that see Walmart as socially irresponsible, mostly due to perceptions that ”it puts the little guy out of business” and “treats employees poorly,” off-set those that see the company as responsible to the point of giving it a negative CitizenshipQ score in the US.
  • Facebook has a low score in the US (the lowest amongst the top leadership brands) and a negative one in the UK, not necessarily because it behaves irresponsibly but because “it’s all about money now.”  Given that it’s a relatively young technology company founded by a Harvard student, some people hold it to a higher standard and expect it to contribute more to society than networking.
  • Nike scores negatively in the UK because of lingering perceptions of “child slave labour.”

To learn more and get insight into the five strategies we’ve identified to integrate brand leadership with good citizenship subscribe to the full report, Brands, the new social reformers.