Weary of being frustrated consumers want to be involved in creating a more positive future

As we’ve again been reviewing participants’ hopes, dreams and fears for 2013 from our last round of CultureQ quant, we can’t help but be reminded that people are seeking greater signs of unity.  Our respondents in both the US and the UK are tired of the divisiveness that they perceive is preventing politicians from finding solutions to our most pressing economic and societal challenges.  Yearning to become CEOs in control of their own lives they again emphasize that they’re seeking products and services that help and their families them simplify routines and simultaneously inspire day-to-day living, aid the planet and help society at large.  Overall, many of our participants now appear to have accepted that they’re living in a new normal; they’re somewhat weary of being frustrated and want to be involved in shaping the solution – in creating a more positive future.  As one eloquently stated, “I hope to become the change you want to see in the world, make choices that will impact my community for the better.”

Brand Citizenship aligns sustainability and other social responsibility concepts with individual product and service brand propositions

And, here’s where Brand Citizenship fits in so perfectly.  Through laddering initiatives up from meeting an individual consumer’s needs to enriching people’s lives and bettering society, it aligns sustainability and other social responsibility concepts with individual product and service brand propositions, rather than managing them solely at corporate levels.  In doing so, it enables consumers to co-create the future alongside corporations through choosing to purchase products and services that deliver the sustainability and social responsibility initiatives that matter most to them.  In other words, it increases brand equity, loyalty and ROI on CSR and at the same time democratizes CSR in the same way social media has democratized communications.  Ultimately, Brand Citizenship™ creates a shared sense of responsibility – across an organization as well as between the consumer and the corporation.

360-Degree Brand Citizenship

Bold moves are often needed to motivate people to work together, more or less departments across an organization and distinctive agency teams.  For Brand Citizenship to become part of a brand’s purpose and an integral principle for business operations, a 360-degree orientation that includes the organization, the product, the experience and service is needed.

Here are some simple tips on how to incorporate a 360-degree orientation in each area:

Organization:  Create cross-functional teams that include marketing communications, product and CSR teams and develop measurable performance goals that tangibly motivate them to work together to deliver an integrated brand experience.  Promote policies and practices that advocate for employees and suppliers, acknowledge the challenges they face and treat them ethically.

Product: Offer fair-for-quality priced products that simplify people’s daily routines, define new lifestyles that inspire day-to-day living and enable users to feel involved in creating a better future for themselves, society and the planet.  See every delivery channel as a unique opportunity to reinforce the good citizenship element of a product and service proposition.

Experience: Use the brand experience to consistently invite consumers to a personal conversation with your brand, one that makes them feel part of something bigger and encourages them to co-create the future.  Adopt a human tone of voice that sincerely reflects your brand’s personality and encourages involvement in communications and co-creation of programs.

Service: Deliver honest, reliable and easily accessible customer service. Find new ways to integrate your proposition into consumers’ day-to-day routines, acknowledge their value both as a consumer and a producer and communicate the mutual benefit your services deliver to individual users, other stakeholders and the corporation.