Malcolm Gooderham, managing director of strategic communications consultancy TLG, says that, as with other attitudinal and behavioural change programmes, the key is sustaining a company’s licence to operate whilst at the same time enhancing its ability to grow.
He has worked with Diageo on responsible drinking and believes the difference between traditional corporate social responsibility campaigns and the way the drinks giant is tackling this issue is the level of investment and commitment involved.
‘Diageo has really grasped this and is investing a lot of resources in genuinely trying to understand what it can do to help people drink more responsibly,’ he says.
‘It will invest as much money in a behaviour change programme as it might spend on a product launch and that is rare.’
The question is whether such campaigns can overcome increasing consumer cynicism and perceptions that they simply amount to the self-interest of a multi-billion pound industry.
Retail giant John Lewis has surged into a ranking of Britain’s most influential brands, as the group’s partnership approach to doing business and a record year for till receipts propelled it into the top three.
TLG’s annual index of UK Business Thought Leaders ranks John Lewis below Apple and Google but above other respected names including Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft. It is eight places above nearest retail rival Marks & Spencer, while Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic leaves the top 10 for the first time in 12th place. Another newcomer is smoothie-maker Innocent, set up by three Cambridge graduates 12 years ago.
Sun and surf, California has plenty of. A laid-back attitude, definitely yes. Influential companies? Just look at Silicon Valley.
Apparently, California is home to almost half of the nation’s most “powerful” brands, according to an index compiled by TLG Communications of London that surveyed “key opinion leaders.”
The names are unsurprising — occupying three of the top five brands are Apple in the top slot, Google as No. 2 and Facebook in fifth. Of the top 20 positions, California-based companies snagged nine spots. Other Golden State powerhouses include Intel (7), Virgin America/Atlantic (11), Skype (14), Twitter (15), Ebay (16) and Hewlett Packard (18).
Texas follows with three top-20 brands. Washington, New York and Minnesota clock in third with two companies each.
Apple, Google and John Lewis are Britain’s most influential brands, the TLG annual index reports.
The web giants joined the traditional retailer to top the list, which monitors brand leaders in Britain and the US by asking key opinion formers to rank leading companies according to their “Thought Leadership” power.
“I’m delighted that the John Lewis Partnership is recognised as progressive a business today as it was when our founder took the radical move to hand ownership to the employees 80 years ago,’ said company chairman Charlie Mayfield.
Amazon came in at number four, with Facebook and Microsoft the fifth and sixth most influential brands.
Marks & Spencer and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin have dropped out of the top ten of Britain’s most influential companies, according to an annual poll of opinion leaders.
Apple shrugged off concerns over its iPhone 4 to extend its lead at the top of the survey over Google as tech-savvy consumers welcomes the arrival of its revolutionary iPad.
Innocent, the maker of fruit smoothies founded 12 years ago by three Cambridge graduates, entered the top ten for the first time, and the John Lewis Partnership jumped to third place. John Lewis leapfrogged Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft in a year in which its 80-year-old partnership structure was cited by David Cameron as a template for the radical reform of public services.
The survey, carried out by Populus and YouGov for TLG Communications, also put Apple and Google at the top of the rankings in the American index, with Southwest Airlines in third place.
Experts said that the survey findings chimes with a willingness by consumers to pay a premium for high-quality products from companies with a strong reputation for the way they conduct business.
Malcolm Gooderham, founder of TLG, said that the route to becoming a trusted brand was gaining recognition as a “thought leader”, a concept based on “driving positive change in both attitude and behaviour among key stakeholders”.
He added: “John Lewis’s brand has become a byword for quality customer service and product, but also for a way of doing business. It is how a company does business that defines corporate reputation, not just what it sells.”