Last night we convened the latest in our BIG TABLE series at The Battery, in San Francisco. Our friends and partners Omidyar Network co-hosted with us, and an inspiring mix of people from diverse brands joined to discuss how brands create value for the world.
The evening also marked the first time we have shared the Brand World Value Index research that we have been working on. This is a new metric for how people value brands, derived from measuring brands on awareness of purpose, alignment with purpose, whether people will actively support that purpose, and if purpose impacts purchase.
Some key themes that emerged from the conversation:
Purpose is highly subjective
The results of the 2016 Brand World Value Index create healthy debate — ‘how can X brand be placed so high?’ ‘How can Y brand be so low?’ — but in asking a demographically representative sample of the US which brands align with their values, and which have a purpose that’s motivating enough to publicly support, we got some surprising results. When you look at demographic and psychographic subsets (e.g. Moms and Optimists), brands are ranked quite differently.
Being useful, everyday
One theme for the highly ranked brands among all consumers are those that serve a frequent need (e.g. Amazon, Google); it appears people identify and support purpose in those brands that help make life easier.
The importance of purpose pioneers
Patagonia’s ranking of #87 is surprising to some; as a pioneer of purpose-oriented business, they could have been expected to rank more highly in this index. Patagonia does rank much higher for an elite segment (those earning over $100k/ year and college educated), so one reaction is that to create greater impact, Patagonia could scale to serve a more mass audience. But a counterpoint to that is the importance of pioneers: there’s a need for brands to create a benchmark for others to follow. By setting such a powerful example, Patagonia may be having an outsize influence on the evolution of capitalism.
Brand as citizen
Some brands have a tight focus on the impact issues they will engage in — those close to their core business purpose (e.g. a food company engaging only in food issues). While other brands have taken leadership stances on key issues that are meaningful to employees and customers, like Ben & Jerry’s support of LGBT rights, and Salesforce’s commitment to gender equality and LGBT. These brands are guided by a filter of ‘what is the right thing to do?’, and by demonstrating their values, they create pride and commitment in their employees and partners.
The future of Brand World Value research
This is just the beginning. We talked about more possibilities for this research, including:
- adding global respondents so that brands can assess how understood and motivating their purpose is across geographies
- building in qualitative research to dig deeper into what purpose people identify in brands, and what are the most significant levers of purpose motivation
- creating like-for-like category analysis for specific segments, e.g. B2B brands, emerging technology companies, non-profits, etc.
Thanks to all our attendees, we appreciate you being part of the enso and Omidyar Network families, and being so open and engaged in the conversation. We look forward to breaking bread again soon.
Achim Weiss / Profitbricks
Alison Worthington / Method
Andrei Santalo / LinkedIn for Good
Andrew Crow / Medium
Andy Doyle / Medium
Brian Hardwick / enso
Carla Fernandez / enso
Christopher Keefe / Omidyar Network
Deborah Cullinan / Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Gemma Mortensen / Change.org
Heather Walls / Wikimedia Foundation
James Tynan / Khan Academy
Jamie Daves / enso
Jascha Kaykas-Wolff / Mozilla
Jenni Hart / enso
Jim Green / Salesforce
Kirk Souder / enso
Matthew Bishop /The Economist
Scott Levitan / Google
Sebastian Buck / enso
enso is a creative impact agency.
We work with innovative companies and organizations to create positive impact at scale through shared missions. Learn more at enso.co.