Are you a civic brand?

Source: The Future Laboratory

From the political to the personal, the old world order has broken down. But beyond the evident dislocation, fragmentation and division, new systems are evolving.

 

Civic Brands

Businesses are increasingly stepping in where governments are failing. Brands are shifting from employers to educators, profit-driven to community-driven, hierarchical to decentralised, product-led to service-led, tenants to place-makers, and closed to collaborative. While trust in banks, government and media is at an all-time low, business is thriving. ‘Business is the last retaining wall for trust,’ says Kathryn Beiser, global chair of corporate practice at Edelman. ‘Its leaders must step up on the issues that matter for society.’ 

In Nike's latests campaign, -- which comes during Black History Month --  the brand encourages people to take the fairness and respect they see in sport and translate them off the field.

Nike US, Equality Campaign

Citizen Altruism

Young Millennials and members of generation D are altruistic, eco-conscious and tuned in
to peer-to-peer networks. Research by Nesta shows that 22% of UK adults are interested in the idea of using the collaborative economy for social good, while one-third of 16–34-year-olds used a sharing economy platform to help a good cause in 2016.

‘America won’t be fixed by the people in Washington. It will be fixed by everyday people doing extraordinary things for their neighbours,’ says Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks.

In its rolling exhibition Mini Vision Next 100 the company considers how car-makers can create personal connections between owners and their vehicles in the sharing economy.

Mini kicked off celebrations to mark owner BMW’s centenary year by unveiling its Vision Vehicle, the Mini of the future designed to feel unique to each driver.

Post-ownership brands: MINI VISION NEXT 100 | The Shape of Things to Come

Veritas Media

With the rise of fake news, post- truth politics and alternative facts, consumers are hungry for media content they can trust to give an accurate analysis of current affairs. Subscription growth to the New York Times rose tenfold in November 2016 after President Trump’s win, adding 132,000 paid subscriptions to its news products. Facebook partners with fact- checking companies such as Snopes, PolitiFact and Associated Press to ag fake news stories. ‘This could be just what brands needed. Fake news enables premium publishers to rise above the noise,’ says Mark Howard, chief revenue officer at Forbes Media.

Political Cartoon of Theresa May planning Brexit.

Political Cartoon of Theresa May planning Brexit.

Collaborative Brands

The private and public sectors are increasingly working together, and harnessing the power of peer-to-peer platforms to create social good.

Uber’s Movement website gives urban planners access to driving data to enable them to optimise local transportation systems, which it hopes will make cities safer, more efficient and less crowded.

Target funds a prescription programme that helps give low-income children access to fresh fruit and vegetables. ‘Customers think ‘I don’t really believe that the Department of Motor Vehicles will help my car issues, but I think Tesla would’,’ says Tim Maleeny, chief strategy officer at Heat.


What DOES this means for your brand?

1. Be civically minded. With the decline of the public sector, businesses increasingly need to communicate a real sense of purpose and create actual social change.

2. Re-assess your relationship with The Just Nots. These consumers feel forgotten and are fuelling the belief that the system is ‘no longer working for me’.

3. Millennials and members of Generation D will happily drop profit-driven ventures for those that take a community-driven approach.

4. Consumer distrust is widespread. Re-establish your position as a trustworthy brand that people look up to for guidance and leadership.

5. Develop transparency tools and software that accurately analyse, represent and inform consumers about trends and their behaviour.

6. Shift to a post-ownership strategy. Businesses will need to become part of the peer-to-peer economy to remain relevant.

7. Be seen as an educator rather than an employer. A highly skilled workforce is crucial for brands that want to ensure long-term growth and retain talent.

8. Practice positive discrimination. Amid rising inequality, there are grounds for redressing the balance, be it through price segmentation or faction marketing.

9. Collaborate with like-minded individuals and brands. Networking, sharing research and cross-promoting development are key to innovation.

10. Build safe spaces that protect the political, environmental and cultural interests of your consumers, and provide physical and digital forums for debate.