Marketplace Insights: July 2017 edition

The latest news, research and buzz on purpose-driven brands and customer trust from Business in the Community's Marketplace team.

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Progression of the Sustainable Development Goals

 

Recent research has shown that while progress has been made against a handful of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely Health, Water and Life on Land we are still falling behind in many other areas. With the private and public sector focusing on healthy living, there is a clear gap for business to engage in other issue areas such as clean energy and climate action. To try and combat the sluggish progress, standard and certification body Gold Standard has launched the Gold Standard for the Global Goals, a new standard to quantify, certify and maximize the contributions to the SDGs.

Several reports have outlined innovation as the solution for achieving the SDGs. The United Nations Development Programme expressed how we must invest in public sector innovation to encourage small scale, local solutions, and generate processes enabling quick learning and inclusivity. The report references examples from around the world to show how others are leveraging innovation to do so. There are 5 key themes that feature; eradicate poverty, leave no one behind; protect the planet; build peaceful societies, prevent violent conflict; manage risk, improve disaster response; advance gender equality & women’s empowerment.

Is sustainable innovation the solution?

 

The future belongs to those who believe in and embrace progress according to Trend Watching’s latest report, Truthful Consumerism. Using a host of research and case studies, the report states that innovation should be focused on transparency, aspiration, positive impact, tolerance and empowerment. Sustainability leaders have also stated demonstrating innovation as one of the defining characteristics of leading organizations in the next ten years.

The opportunities for improving society through innovation are ample, with numerous examples in health and through sustainable technology. Innovation is of course heavily sought after, however moving an idea from theory to realisation is not a simple task. It takes take time and effort, which can be stifled by company processes and culture. More businesses are starting to look outside of their own organisations, with 82% of large companies viewing interactions with start-ups essential to the process.

Big business not only need to consider how they are innovating themselves, they also have a duty to influence those they work with. A new report from 3M reveals a disconnect between supply chains and their customers on encouraging sustainable innovation. Although there is supplier buy-in, a lack of support and direction is halting development.

Building the right company culture

 

Creating the right culture is a key part of fostering innovation and purpose-driven values. Driving this from the top down means developing and supporting leaders who live and breathe the vision of the business. Research from CIPD showed that although employees can feel organisational vision is important to them, over communication or constant changes in vision direction can dampen engagement.

Engaging employees in purpose, and embedding into daily business is becoming ever more important, with 97% of companies that deeply integrate purpose into their operations reporting incremental value from doing so, including greater customer loyalty, preserved brand value and reputation, staff retention, and product innovation.

Clear, concise communication is vital when creating a culture driven by values. To get the most out of employees for the benefit of the company, culture needs to be aligned to what the company wants to be known for. Through identifying and articulating brand aspirations, you can identify the values that your organization should embrace and in turn use it to inform culture creation. By empowering staff to live out the values of the company in their own way, the unique processes that make a company thrive are born.

Customer trust and loyalty 

 

Recent research has once again shown that trust in advertising and brands is low among consumers, with 69% people not trusting advertising and 43% expressing distrust of brands. Consumers remain cynical of claims of goodwill, unless it’s supported by real action. 58% of adults surveyed said they do not trust a brand without "real world proof" of promises kept. This distrust will continue, unless brands acknowledge that they must follow through on the promises made.

Brands able to showcase their values through business actions are being noticed, with Dove, Amazon and Google topping enso’s 2017 World Value Index. Sebastian Buck, Co-Founder and Strategic Lead at enso explained how “against a backdrop of low trust in business leaders, we’re seeing forward-looking, purpose-oriented brands rise to the top and some historic brands fall”. This is evident from the amount of non-profits ranking highly in the list.

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