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Citizen brands: corporate citizenship, trust and branding

As consumerism develops, so the consumer demands on companies grow. In an era when customers expect more and more from companies (and certainly more than just basic product delivery), they are also becoming more cynical about the corporate sector as a whole, and multinationals in particular.

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Companies need to understand this, and understand the apprehensions and concerns of consumers. They need to engage in a much more proactive way with society and its citizens, and they need to do so not just for ethical reasons but because it makes good business sense. They need to become ‘citizen brands’. Post-Enron, this has become even more important.

This paper describes the citizen brand thesis and the evidence supporting it, and considers the implications for branding. It argues that brands are becoming dislocated from consumers, and brand owners need to address this by embracing more social values into their companies and their brands.

In ‘Citizen Brands: Putting Society at the Heart of Your Business’1 it is argued that business needs to take corporate citizenship more seriously, and that it should do so because such activity is becoming of growing

importance to branding. Following the debacles of Enron, Tyco and WorldCom, this has become even more apparent. It is strange, however, given the overwhelming evidence that corporate citizenship is a growing aspect of business success, that business needed such scandals to focus its

executives’ minds. Business fads come and go, and often with little real evidence in support of their efficacy.

Yet study after study has shown that being a good corporate citizen really does translate into longer term business success.

In ‘Citizen Brands: Putting Society at the Heart of Your Business’, many of these studies are considered. Some studies consist of detailed analyses of the impact of

various citizenship initiatives environmental

or community programmes, for example) on commercial indicators such as profits and share price. Others are more general consumer attitude surveys. Interestingly, and importantly, there are very few studies that show the converse — that is, that being a good corporate citizen is bad strategically

and commercially.

contents:

THE PARALLELS BETWEEN MODELS

OF ADVERTISING AND MODELS OF

CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP

CITIZEN BRANDS AND MODELS OF

ADVERTISING

BRANDS IN TROUBLE?

THE CORPORATE CHALLENGE

To read this paper in full, click on the link below.

www.futurefoundation.net

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