Observations on earth

Are brands heading for extinction?

October 2020       By Martin Johnston

Brandanomics throws a lifeline to save the relationship between business and society.

David Attenborough recently shook the world with his terrifying documentary on the devastating effects of climate change.

In just 12 years, if we don’t act fast, humanity and the planet as we know it will cease to exist.

It’s the wake-up call we need to adapt and respond with urgency. Earth is the only home we have and we’re destroying it with our meaningless modern ways, churning out products and services without meaning and serving them to the masses with no real consideration of consequence.

Society doesn’t care about stock value, it cares about societal value.

Plan it earth

To see tangible change, every aspect of modern life has to change and be optimised for more meaningful, sustainable living.

At earth, we realised a decade ago that the difference we want to see in the world needs to happen right here, right now. Not to fall by the wayside on a corporate tick boxing CSR form, but to be present and consistent, influencing social impact for maximum effect.

It’s 2020 and there’s now an app for everything. We’ve got all the tech, data, products and services we could possibly need and our whole lives are geared towards more efficient, enjoyable living.

But where’s the human meaning beyond the swipes and likes? Where’s the connection between something tangible and real, that actually speaks to society, rather than dictates a one-way dialogue?

Society doesn’t care about stock value, it cares about societal value – the social and environmental projects you’re committed to and how you’re making a genuine, tangible change towards people’s livelihoods and futures.

We’re drowning in data and need direction with meaning.

A ‘brand’ new meaning

That’s where Brandanomics comes in. It’s our new lightbulb-moment vision, a trademarked methodology that helps society clearly see a company’s positive commitments and authentic ethos.

It rates, track and boosts social value to the biggest stakeholder of all – humanity. And it takes the guesswork out of whether a company is seen as harmful, mitigating or positively influencing society. Everyone’s on the same page, working to unlock value and realise the power of connecting meaning, value and impact.

Return On Involvement vs Return On Investment

We created Brandanomics to underline how we’ve always been and always will be against CSR tick-boxing. For brands to have true meaning, their social strategy can’t just be another #metoo tag or ‘woke wash’ where customers are fooled into thinking a company is more ethically conscious than they actually are. (Did you know that 53% of customers don’t believe businesses are committed to society as they claim?*)

For genuine value to be demonstrated and more importantly, believed, it has to align with the overall business purpose, while still acting as positive change.

It’s no longer about how much you make, but about how much of a difference you’re making. The more meaningful your brand is, the more value you create, and the more meaning you can exchange with your customers.

Convincing a ‘so what?’ society

In an age of noise and constant disruption, society are constantly bombarded with businesses over-promising and under-delivering. They’re hyper-focused on their own lives and agendas and haven’t time to decipher cryptic corporate jargon. They’re waking up to what’s important in life and need brands to be up-front, straight-talking and get to the point, fast.

The consumer paradigm has shifted from aspiration to identity, from ownership to usership and from buying to being. What’s the point in a brand identity if its lost on the identity of the audience?

Society is now looking to brands to authenticate their own identities and help them express their own meaning through the products and services that they use.

Clarity, transparency, diversity and authenticity aren’t just fads, they’re the new format of meaning – the new state of being, the framework of who we are, how we feel and who we are becoming. And society are picking the brands that can support them on that journey.

Reaching equilibrium

Your brand does not operate in a vacuum. It can’t exist without real-world relevance. The context of external influence will impact everything from consumer behaviour to your reputation. Balancing business and society is the gateway to creating value.

While 81% of consumers said that they consider brand trust in their purchasing decisions, only 34% actually trust the brands they buy from.* That’s why businesses need to align their overall business purpose with their social projects and make sure it’s confident, convincing and credible.

Future-proof value

The more companies start realising their influence beyond the balance sheets, the more businesses will serve real brand meaning, not just the illusion of it. Once businesses start amplifying what they stand for in society and leveraging that to empower people, they’ll reap the rewards today and tomorrow.

Brandanomics brings brands out of hiding, showcasing the good that they do and educating society for real empowerment and evolution. It’s a vision that we’ve believed in for over a decade and we’re ecstastic to get started.

Further reading