New Survey: Only 10% of Americans trust business to behave ethically.

17 09 2015

96 percent of Americans believe it is important for companies to ensure their employees behave ethically but only 10 percent have trust and confidence in major companies to do what is right.

2015_1

Pharmaceuticals and health insurance were viewed to be the least trustworthy industries. The most trustworthy were thought to be manufacturing, technology and large retailing.

Princeton Survey Research Associates International’s 2015 Public Affairs Pulse survey polled 1,600 Americans on their attitudes about corporate behavior, big business and small business, the trustworthiness of companies and industries, levels of regulation, and lobbying and politics. The study found the vast majority of the public expects the business sector to think beyond profits and be valuable components of society.

Other interesting findings include:

  • More than nine in 10 Americans say businesses need to protect the environment, including 76 percent who feel it is very important that businesses limit their environmental damage.
  • 88 percent believe companies should contribute to charities
  • 85 percent believe they should take a leadership role in helping society in ways that go beyond their business operations
  • 39 percent believe it is very important that businesses take more responsibility in helping the government solve problems.

How can companies communicate what they’re doing for these causes? Social media is reportedly the best way that companies can communicate what they are doing for social causes, with 45 percent calling it very effective and 38 percent calling it somewhat effective. Not surprisingly, those under 50 years old were more strongly in favor of social media communication than those over 50.

Only 15 percent say social media has a significant influence on their opinions, while almost 40 percent say it does not influence their opinion at all. Personal experiences as a customer or employee of a major company were the top factors influencing people’s opinions of a business.

Access more of the Princeton Survey here.  http://pac.org/pulse/

 





SOGB: Business Sustainability Progress Has Stalled

27 01 2014
According to the 2014 State of Green Business report published by GreenBiz Group in partnership with Trucost plc., companies around the world are struggling to make progress on climate change, resource efficiency and natural capital dependency.
Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 12.57.56 PM
“While more and more companies are undertaking a growing number of initiatives to reduce their environmental impacts, there’s very little progress to show for it. Company initiatives are not having an impact at the scale needed to address such challenges as climate change and the availability of water and natural resources,” said Joel Makower, GreenBiz Group executive editor and the report’s principal author.
The seventh annual edition of the report, which measures the global progress of large, publicly traded companies in addressing a myriad of environmental challenges, reveals little meaningful progress across most metrics, including greenhouse gas emissions, water use, waste disposal and other pollutant impacts.
“The environmental impacts of business – air pollution, biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation and water scarcity – are threatening the ability of our finite stock of natural capital to deliver sustainable growth,” said Richard Mattison, CEO of Trucost. “The challenge for business is to identify growth models that result in reduced environmental impact.
”The report also names the 10 sustainable business trends for 2014. Among them are the growth of collaboration among big corporations to solve mutual sustainability challenges, the growth of chemical transparency for consumer products, the emergence of “shadow pricing” as a means for companies to assess their environmental risks and net-positive buildings.
The 2014 report includes the launch of the Natural Capital Leaders Index, a new methodology for identifying companies that are growing their revenue while reducing their environmental impacts. The 2014 Index found 34 companies from 10 countries that met Trucost’s criteria, which include increasing revenue between 2008 and 2012, disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions and a decrease in environmental impacts during that same period.Among the 34 “decoupling leaders” are Carnival Corp., CSX, Intel, Kimberly-Clark, National Australia Bank, Pearson, Tata Power and Verizon.The Index further identifies US and Global “efficiency leaders” that use the least natural capital to generate revenue compared to sector peers – the more traditional sustainability leaders – which include Adobe Systems, AMEC, BMW, Ford, Manpower, McGraw Hill Financial, Pepco Holdings and Sprint Corp.The metrics from the report were drawn from Trucost’s assessment of 4,600 of the world’s largest companies representing 93% of global markets by market capitalization.The State of Green Business report will be the centrepiece of the upcoming GreenBiz Forum (Feb 18-20), taking place in Phoenix, AZ, where speakers will address many of these trends and metrics.The free report can be downloaded from GreenBiz.com.





Re-Thinking Consumption: 66% of consumers agree we need to consume less to improve the environment.

29 11 2012

 

According to the newly released The Regeneration Consumer Study, two-thirds of consumers in six countries say that “as a society, we need to consume a lot less to improve the environment for future generations” and that they feel “a sense of responsibility to purchase products that are good for the environment and society”.

In a statement, Mark Lee, Executive Director at SustainAbility said, “Our economy and natural environment are facing unprecedented stresses as scarce resources are stretched to meet growing needs.  Through the Regeneration Consumer Study, we are revealing how consumer attitudes, behaviors and collaboration can help enterprising brands as they work to innovate smarter, safer, cleaner and greener solutions.”

The findings are based on an online survey of 6,224 consumers across Brazil, China, India, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States conducted in September and October 2012.

Among other key insights in the global consumer research:

  • Nine in ten consumers believe it is extremely or very important for companies to address safe drinking water.
  • 67% are interested in sharing their ideas with companies to help them develop better products or create new solutions.
  • 75% of consumers globally agree they would purchase products that are environmentally or socially responsible if they didn’t cost more.

The study also draws five key implications for marketers to connect with these consumers who are demonstrating strong desire for responsible brands.  In summary, they are:

1.  Deliver total value.

2. Connect back story to brand story

3. Embrace sustainable brand innovation.

4. Harness consumer collaboration.

5. Unleash the power of tribes.

 

Read a copy of the research report here.

 

Congratulations to the drivers behind the research and their sponsors.  Learn about the developers and their sponsors below:

Developed by BBMGGlobeScan and SustainAbilityThe Regeneration Consumer Study is an in-depth online survey of consumer attitudes, motivations and behaviors relating to sustainable consumption among 6,224 respondents across six major international markets (Brazil, China, Germany, India, the United Kingdom and the United States) conducted in September and October 2012. Drawn from consumer research panels, global data are comparable to having a margin of error of +/- 1.3 percent. Analysis of country-level data reflects a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.

The study is part of the The Regeneration Roadmap, a collaborative and multi-faceted thought leadership initiative designed to engage the private sector in advancing sustainable development by improving sustainability strategy, increasing credibility and delivering results at greater speed and scale.

Presenting Sponsors of The Regeneration Roadmap are BMW Group and SC Johnson. Sponsors include Cisco, DuPont, Interface and Pfizer. The Regeneration Consumer Study is sponsored by Brown-FormanCampbell Soup CompanyItauL’OréalShell and Starbucks.

 

 

 





Gibbs & Soell: Only 21% of Americans Believe Business Is Committed To Going Green.

2 05 2012

In their 2012 Gibbs & Soell Sense & Sustainability study, the research demonstrates that public doubt that corporations are making a sincere commitment to going green continues to run high.

Despite their skepticism, the majority (71 percent) of consumers wants to know more about what companies are doing to become sustainable and green, and 75% feel the media are more likely to report on green business when the news is bad rather than good.

Read the summary report and news release announcing the results of 2012 Gibbs & Soell Sense & Sustainability Study at these links.

Key Findings:

  •  The general public and business leaders remain skeptical of corporate America’s commitment to sustainability. Only 21 percent of U.S. adults and 25 percent of executives believe that a majority of businesses (“most,” “almost all,” or “all”) are committed to “going green” – defined as “improving the health of the environment by implementing more sustainable business practices and/or offering environmentally-friendly products or services.”
  • While one-third of executives report having no green steward, up from years past, there is a trend toward dedicated teams for those who do. This year’s results show that 34 percent of executives indicate there is no one at their company who is responsible for sustainability or “going green” initiatives, up from 25 percent in 2011. More than one out of five (21 percent) corporate leaders report there is a team of individuals whose jobs are specifically and solely dedicated to sustainability, up from 17 percent in 2011 and 13 percent in 2010.
  • Most consumers and business executives also believe corporate sustainability activities are more likely to be covered by the media when the news is bad than good. The number is comparatively higher among consumers who are confident in corporate America’s commitment to “going green.” Three-quarters (75 percent) of U.S. adults and 69 percent of executives feel the media are more likely to report on “bad news” than “good news” when covering how companies are addressing efforts to “go green.” Specifically among the 21 percent of consumers who believe “most,” “almost all,” or “all” companies are committed to “going green,” 83 percent feel there is a bias for bad news in the media.

 Said Ron Loch, senior vice president and managing director, sustainability consulting, Gibbs & Soell. “The results reveal growing efforts by business communicators in relating their corporate responsibility stories, but also underscore a deficit in general understanding and trust.  It’s clear much more needs to be achieved in terms of relevant engagement with consumers and the media around corporate sustainability.”





24/7 Wall St.: The Ten Most Hated Companies In America.

18 01 2012

Are you surprised?

24/7 Wall Street’s analysis was based on a rigorous study of two dimensions.  One is public research about consumer satisfaction, customer care, pricing of products and services, and brand impressions. Wall St. research takes into account another set of factors, which include present earnings, profit forecasts, product development and quality, and brand valuations.

Here is how they did their research.

“We examined each company based on several criteria. We considered total return to shareholders in comparison to the broader market and other companies in the same sector during the last year. We reviewed financial analyst opinions on those companies that are public. We analyzed data from a broad array of sources, including Consumer Reports, JD Power, the MSN/Zogby Poll, ForeSee and the University of Michigan American Customer Satisfaction Index. We also considered negative press based on 24/7 Wall St.’s analysis of media coverage and the Flame Index, which uses a proprietary algorithm to review more than 12,000 websites and ranks companies based on the frequency of negative words. Finally, we considered the views of taxpayers, Congress and the White House — where applicable.”

Read the article here.





BrandAsset® Valuator: Fewer trust brands but trust is key to building brand equity.

16 01 2012

Kudos once again to our friend John Gerzema and his team at BrandAsset® Valuator for another compelling report on the key trends related to trust, brands, and the rise of the what they deem “The Citizen Marketplace”.

The headlines from their analysis and research demonstrate two inter-related factors as it relates to trust and brands:

That trust is the true, new brand differentiator.

  • 25% of people surveyed trusted brands in 2009, down from 49% at the beginning of the decade.
  • 45% cite trust as key to future potential or brand strength, up from 29% in 2001.

Other key findings in the research is the rise in social media as social contract with trust of social media outlets outpacing that of traditional media (and Twitter leading the trust game among social media outlets).

John and his BAV team conclude the following branding imperatives in the era of the Citizen Marketplace.

  • Trust is the new differentiator
  • There are numerous pathways to trust for companies and brands to pursue based on category requirements and their purpose and values
  • As communications evolve into conversations, social media is moving past social currency to social contract
  • Companies must not think social media, but ‘social as business model’.

Download a BAV presentation on the research here.

Thanks again BAV team for sharing this insightful work.





Edelman Trust Barometer: Only 46% of Americans trust business to do the right thing.

12 01 2012

In their 11th annual global survey on trust, Edelman research reports that people’s trust of institutions and returned to levels comparable to the height of the worldwide financial crises in 2009.

When asked how much they trust various institutions, only NGO’s were trusted by the majority of U.S. respondents.  Business, government and the media are not trusted by the majority of people and media’s trustworthiness as reached record lows.

  • 55% trust non-government organizations
  • 46% trust business.
  • 40% trust government.
  • 27% trust the media.

The drivers to corporate reputations are quality, transparency, trustworthiness and employee well-being.

The study concludes that businesses must align profit and purpose for social benefit.  It reports that people’s demands for authority and accountability are setting new expectations for corporate leadership and that trust is the essential component to both protect reputations and gain tangible benefits.  Lack of trust is a barrier to change.





Global Opportunity: Tell It How It Is – according to Cone Echo Research

18 10 2011

In its newly released global research report, Cone Echo Research highlight the opportunity for business to build a stronger relationship with consumers by meeting their expectations that business will address social and environmental issues through their operations, their products and services and their unique expertise.  

The trend is global as evidenced by the results in ten countries and the 10,000 people who were surveyed.  And not surprisingly, communication is critical in bridging the gap between perception and reality.

  • 93% of consumers say they want to know what companies are doing.
  • 91% of people say they want to be heard as well.

This means that reciprocal communication is more than an expectation, its essential in building a strong connection with consumers.  And critical to overcoming the confusion, skepticism and even cynicism among consumers.  

  • 89% of consumers globally believe companies share only the positive information about their efforts, while withholding the negative.
  • 71% are confused by the messages companies use to talk about their efforts and impacts.
  • 61% of consumers believe a company is telling the truth about its social and environmental efforts and impacts, but this varies widely by nationality.

Trust is more complex.

The more trusting a country’s consumers are in business, the more confused they are by a company’s messages. These consumers are putting great faith in the words of business, even though they don’t necessarily understand the messages themselves. In return, they don’t ask for perfection, simply the truth. Nearly nine-in-10 (88%) say it’s ok if a company is not perfect, as long as it is honest about its efforts. This permission presents an opportunity for companies to speak candidly about tough CR issues to build trust.

Follow this link to access the Global CR Study





LA TIMES: Skepticism grows over products touted as eco-friendly.

27 05 2011
Great article below by Tiffany Hsu from the Los Angeles Times highlight consumer’s confusion over eco-branded products. According to a recent survey, 65% of consumers want a single seal identifying a green product, similar to the way beef is labeled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
But for now, there’s a swarm of companies that issue green certification, endorsements and labels for a fee.
A word of warning for all marketers that sustainable branding is not about false marketing claims and green gimmicks.  It is about an authentic commitment to providing responsible and sustainable brands for the future of the planet and the protection of mankind.
By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times

May 21, 2011

To Marina Meadows, green may be the new white.When she goes shopping these days, Meadows is often overwhelmed by a bevy of products touted as green, from Earth-friendly dish soaps and bamboo-derived towels to eco-detergents and plant-based soda bottles.But the Santa Monica resident, 26, said that while she is willing to pay extra to help the environment, she’s often not sure how much of the labeling she should believe.”Sometimes, I wonder if any of it’s really green or if it’s all a marketing scheme,” Meadows said.With booming interest in the environment, more companies are trying to cash in by promoting themselves and their products as green.

But environmentalists and some consumers are crying foul, saying that many companies are making the products out to be greener than they really are, a practice they call greenwashing.

The term caught on when hotels began asking guests to reuse towels, saying they were trying to conserve water, though skeptics said it was really to skimp on laundry costs.

These days, greenwashing is reaching “epidemic proportions,” according to advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather, which has been pushing for accurate environmental marketing.

“If we allow companies to get away with exaggeration, consumer skepticism will become cynicism and they’ll stop choosing green products at all,” said Scott McDougall, chief executive of eco-marketing company TerraChoice.

Last year, TerraChoice counted 5,000 items in retail stores that claimed to be green, a 73% increase from the year before. But on every toy and 95% of home and family products, at least one eco-friendly claim turned out to be misleading or false, the company found.

Some efforts just seem a bit odd: Plastic Barbie dolls can now sport handbags and accessories made from recycled materials.

“Most companies are engaged in incremental tinkering — symbolic actions without any real substance,” said Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International.

But no one can agree on what exactly makes a product green and therefore what exactly constitutes greenwashing.

As a result, federal regulators have had difficulty setting standards to regulate green labeling. The Federal Trade Commission has a voluntary guideline for eco-advertising, but it is 20 years old. It is being updated.

According to a recent survey, 65% of consumers want a single seal identifying a green product, similar to the way beef is labeled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But for now, there’s a swarm of companies that issue green certification, endorsements and labels for a fee.

One such program, the EcoAd from EcoMedia, a division of CBS Corp., has earned the ire of some environmental groups. They complained to the FTC that CBS was being potentially deceptive when it sells green leaf badges for advertisers to use in commercials.

“An Eco-label that promises advertisers a green image while telling them they don’t need to do anything to earn that image is the very definition of greenwashing,” said Michael Green, executive director of the Center for Environmental Health, in a statement.

A portion of all EcoAd proceeds go to environmental projects, said EcoMedia President Paul Polizzotto. And although there aren’t disclaimers on the ads themselves, viewers are directed to a website noting that the leaf symbol is not meant as an endorsement of the companies that use it.

“If an advertiser wants 30 seconds of your time, they might as well improve the quality of your life, and that’s the furthest thing from greenwashing,” Polizzotto said. “What I usually see in media is a lot of talk about greening and not a lot of action.”

Labels play a major role in helping consumers decide between products claiming to be green. Nearly 40% said they rely on labels, according to a report from the eco-marketing company Shelton Group.

“Many don’t trust manufacturer motives, but they end up making a decision at the shelf based on the packaging, usually just buying the brands they’ve always bought,” said Suzanne Shelton, chief executive of the group.

It can be a tricky call for consumers, who are regularly met by a vast array of vaguely defined green catchphrases such as “natural,” “clean” and “organic.”

Even manufacturers often don’t know the difference between designations such as “compostable” and “biodegradable,” researchers said. Biodegradable goods break down into carbon dioxide, water and biomass over time, while compostable items do the same while also releasing nutrients into the soil, which can be good for growing plants.

“Companies don’t really understand the science behind it and they don’t question it,” said Steven Mojo, executive director of Biodegradable Products Institute, a testing group. “They think that their packaging or product is somehow going to magically disappear in a landfill.”

Claire Scarisbrick, 26, recently spent half an hour sifting through eco-friendly body wash options atWhole Foods. The dental hygienist and chef, who lives near West Pico Boulevard and South La Brea Avenue, said she researches unfamiliar brands on her iPhone and avoids green products from large companies out of fear of being “duped.”

She likes locally produced products that aren’t heavily processed. She didn’t buy a cosmetic company’s “natural” line of face washes after she compared it to the company’s standard product and found little difference in the ingredients.

“I don’t want to be putting something with 30 chemicals in it onto my skin,” she said. “If I’ve got the money, I’d much rather spend more of it on something that I believe in, not something that’s just easily accessible.”

tiffany.hsu@latimes.com





Cone Research: The Green Gap Persists.

25 03 2011

In its third Green Gap Study, Cone research continues to document the confusion that reigns over environmental messages in the marketplace.

Consumers Seeking Clarity

A majority of consumers are distrustful of companies’ environmental claims (57%) and are overwhelmed by the amount of environmental messages in the marketplace (51%). Given this confusion, it’s understandable that consumers are somewhat wary of general claims alone:

  • 59% say it is only acceptable for marketers to use general environmental claims when they are backed up with additional detail and explanation.
  • 23% say vague environmental claims should never be used.
  • 79% want detailed information readily accessible on product packaging.
  • 75% wish companies would do a better job helping them understand the environmental terms they use.

Consumers are clearly seeking information, but fortunately, they do not expect companies to be saints. A full three-quarters (75%) say it is okay if a company is not environmentally perfect – as long as it is honest and transparent about its efforts.

At the same time, most Americans are willing to punish a company for using misleading claims. Of the 71 percent who will stop buying the product if they feel misled by an environmental claim, more than a third (37%) will go so far as to boycott the company’s products entirely, according to the 2011 Cone Green Gap Trend Tracker.

“It’s telling that three years after Cone first conducted the Green Gap survey, not much has changed,” saysJonathan YohannanCone’s senior vice president of corporate responsibility. “Consumers continue to be confused about environmental claims, often without realizing it. This creates a huge risk for consumer backlash. To overcome this gap between environmental messaging and consumer perception, companies need to provide detailed information in-line with the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines in a place where consumers are making purchase decisions.”

Consumer Perception and Environmental Reality Not Always Aligned
As corporate marketers and regulators alike evaluate how to communicate environmental commitments and avoid greenwashing, the 2011 Cone Green Gap Trend Tracker tested which of three common marketing approaches was most influential in consumer purchase decisions. Consumers were asked to “purchase” the most environmentally responsible of three generic cleaning products based on an isolated marketing approach – a certification, a vague environmental claim or an environmental image.

  • Certification: By far the most influential purchase driver – 51 percent selected the product bearing a mock certification. What’s more telling is that more than half of respondents (51%) believed the certification meant this product was reviewed and verified by a credible third party.
  • Claim: Thirty percent of respondents chose the product with a vague “made with natural ingredients” claim.
  • Imagery: Environmental imagery was the least influential purchase driver, yet one-in-five (19%) still chose this product without any other indication it was better for the environment. Some even believed the environmental imagery indicated this product is safe for the environment (14%).

Deception Breeds Consumer Backlash
Testing the certification, claim or image on-pack indicated each drove consumer perceptions that the products themselves did not necessarily live up to. This disconnect is a significant threat for companies because consumers who feel misled by an environmental claim may punish the brand. They will:

  • Stop Buying: 71 percent will stop buying the product; 37 of these will boycott the company’s products altogether.
  • Do Nothing: Only 11 percent will continue buying the product.

“As Americans continue to consider environmental claims when shopping, companies must be transparent to build trust – or face the consequences,” says Yohannan. “Puffery and generic claims alone aren’t going to cut it. Companies will be held accountable to ensure the claims are not only accurate, but also aligned with consumer perceptions.”





American People to Corporate America: We’d Vote You Out.

30 12 2010

In a new survey issued by StrategyOne, 82% of American’s gave a “C grade or lower” on how corporate America did in 2010, with 40% of Americans assigning Corporate America a “D” or an “F”.

The wake up call is that Americans are extremely frustrated and dissatisfied with the behavior of companies in America.  Quite literally, if the leadership of American companies were politicians, there would be a landslide election of the American people voting them out of their corner offices.

“Let’s be clear, Americans are not dreaming up some far out vision of utopia,” said said Bradley Honan, senior vice president of StrategyOne. “Instead they are being realistic that Corporate America should – and indeed must – engage in important issues of the day where they can make a demonstrably positive difference.  That means the economy and jobs for starters, but also ensuring their products are safe and not harmful to use, and that they simply conduct their day to day business activities in an honest, ethical, and transparent manner.”

Other interesting facts undercovered in the StrategyOne survey included:

  • 88% of consumers said it was extremely or very important that companies help get the economy back on track in 2011.
  • 88% said it was extremely or very important to conduct business in an ethical manner in 2011, and 87% said it was a top priority to do business in an honest and moral way.
  • 85% of consumers thought it was extremely or very important for companies in 2011 to deliver high quality products and services;
  • 84% of Americans thought companies needed to demonstrate good governance in 2011.
  • 82% said it was a top priority for companies to make fewer mistakes and errors in 2011.

Let’s hope company leaders make some serious New Year’s resolutions to improve their performance and more effectively communicate with the public to show how they are being more responsbile, sustainable and ethical.  That is the only way to reduce the “trust gap”.  And it is important for corporate leaders to recognize—once and for all—that their futures are dependent on their customers….who happen to be the American people, at the end of the day.

StrategyOne Survey Methodology:

StrategyOne conducted 1,081 online interviews among a representative sampling of Americans between December 6 and 8, 2010.





Cone Study: 75% of consumers grade companies as C, D, or F on engagement around sustainability.

25 05 2010

May 21, 2010 – A recent study conducted by Cone LLC finds that while the overwhelming majority of American consumers believe that their ideas can help business build more sustainable products, a much smaller number believe companies are doing enough to encourage communication about corporate sustainability.

The report, entitled 2010 Cone Shared Responsibility Study, finds that 84% of the 1,045 American consumers polled believed that their ideas could benefit businesses sustainability offerings, while only 53% felt encouraged to engage at any level. The four key areas consumers wanted more engagement in are: including how a company conducts its business (85%), its products and packaging (83%), its support of social and environmental issues (81%) and its marketing and advertising (74%).

In grading companies on their engagement levels, over 75% of those surveyed gave companies either a “C”, “D”, or “F” on customer engagement. Cone calls this a lost opportunity for most companies, as many more consumers would be more likely buy products and services and recommend companies with better engagement policies.

Consumers are also prepared to listen to companies willing to engage them, with a full 92% of respondents wanting more communication from brands. While this number sounds like an overwhelming endorsement for more brand communication, some other statistics bring to light the dichotomy of the situation:

  • Skepticism – 87 percent of consumers believe the communication is one-sided — companies share the positive information about their efforts, but withhold the negative.
  • Confusion – 67 percent of consumers are confused by the messages companies use to talk about their social and environmental commitments.

For a copy of the complete 2010 Cone Shared Responsibility Study fact sheet, please visit http://www.coneinc.com/research/.





Seeking an audience for The Age of Stupid

7 10 2009

“The first successful dramatisation of climate change to hit the big screen.”

– The Guardian

Last month saw the world premiere of The Age of Stupid on the eve of the United Nations conference on climate change.  The Age of Stupid’ is the new cinema documentary from the Director of ‘McLibel’ and the Producer of the Oscar-winning ‘One Day in September’. Filmed in seven countries over four years, this enormously ambitious drama-documentary-animation hybrid stars Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite as an old man living in the devastated world of 2055, watching ‘archive’ footage from 2008 and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change while we had the chance?

Visit the world of The Age of Stupid

Watch a United Kingdom televised report on The Age of Stupid and other eco-documentaries soon to be released.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan at the world premiere event in New York on the eve of the United Nationals General Session on Climate Change.

Picture 2

The exterior of The Archive in which Pete Postlethwaite’s character, the archivist, lives.   This animation was produced by animator Greg McKnealley.

Picture 1





Study underscores “socially responsible credit gap”.

17 08 2009

DSC_0588“People are willing to pay more for products from socially responsible companies, but almost no companies have any profile as socially responsible.”

PSBA Research

In a study conducted this March, Penn Schoen Berland Associates found that despite significant investments by many major corporations in corporate social responsibility initiatives, Americans have virtually no awareness of who does what, and who does things well.

Some interesting insights from the study first point to the facts that the majority of Americans (despite the recession) want to be associated with socially responsible companies.

  • 75% will pay more for a product from a socially responsible company.
  • 56% say working for a socially responsible company makes a difference.
  • 40% will take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company.

The study also found that being “honest and trustworthy” was the most important company attribute—ranking higher than “quality” and “value”—regarding who Americans will do business with.

But the most unfortunate (and least surprising) set of findings in this research is how ill equipped Americans are to say what companies are socially responsible.  

  • 70% of those surveyed were unaware of any socially responsible activities of their own employers.
  • There was no correlation between those companies that Americans ranked as being leaders in social responsibility and the actual performance of those companies based on evaluations in the CRO 100. (conducted annually by the Corporate Responsibility Officer Association)

Clearly, this should be a wake up call to the leadership of all companies and those responsible for managing their reputation and brands.  In sum, it suggests there is a huge opportunity to use CSR efforts as a differentiator with an American audience that cares about those issues more than ever before and is placing trust at greater currency than quality and value.  

The call to action is to convert socially responsible practices into branded assets.  But this will require internal corporate silos to be broken down so people responsible for operations, HR and internal communication, PR, marketing branding, advertising, and all other forms of communication are working together around a focused and integrated CSR message.

Read the Corporate Citizenship Study





Trust Gap: A New Landmark Study

25 06 2009

“Actions speak louder than words.  If the public believes that an organization’s first priority is profit maximization, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to build public trust.” – Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics, Arthur Page Society

A landmark special report was issued today that underscores the deep loss of trust between the public and business.

Read the report 

The topline strategic recommendations provide guidelines to business leaders on the requirements to gain renewed trust with the public.  At is essence, we believe all of these strategies can be summed up as “the golden rule:  treat others as you would like to be treated”.  A timeless axiom that seems to have been forgotten by the leadership of many companies recently.  Hopefully this report will help companies get back to the fundamentals of having a trusting relationship with the public.





Trust Matters – The Edelman Trust Barometer’s Scary 2009 Report

23 06 2009

 

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you”
 Friedrich Nietzsche quotes

1443_2

I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you”  – Friedrich Nietzsche

Kudos to the Edelman Trust Barometer and their 2009 report citing the state of trust worldwide.  It dramatically underscores there is nothing short of a pandemic of lack of trust between people and companies, the media, CEOs, and experts.

Building sustainable brands will require regaining public trust and Edelman’s study reported only 38% of people 35-54 years old in the United States trusted U.S. businesses.  The report also showed that in the past year 77% of 25-to-64 year olds around the world refused to buy a product or service from a distrusted company.  

There is now a huge trust gap to overcome but those companies who aggressively recognize and embrace this new reality will be the ones that emerge from the recession with momentum and a long term competitive advantage.  

But now is the critical time to create and align sustainable and socially responsbile business practices with branding and communication programs to help your company stand apart and be among the winners in this new world where actions resonate and words alone will be ignored.