How (or Why) Your Brand Equity is Tied to Your Sustainability Initiatives
Doing things right and doing the right things!
A company derives its brand equity from the court of public opinion and sustainability matters. Collectively, investors, customers, employees, industries, and communities decide what something is worth.
Since this is a fairly abstract concept, the question that we should be asking ourselves is: how do we quantify brand equity?
Although every stakeholder may value different things for different reasons, there are clear trend lines that are driving consumer sentiment.
The one key driver that has become crystal clear over the past decade is that companies that make choices that are perceived to be good long-term decisions hold higher value in the minds of consumers and investors than companies that act in the name of short-term profits.
The goal, then, should be to figure out how to differentiate between good and bad long-term decision-making.
What is Brand Equity and Sustainability
Brand equity is the commercial value that derives from consumer perception of the brand name of a particular product or service, rather than from the product or service itself. It can also simply be referred to as the “social value” of a well-known brand name.
Brand equity can be determined in so many different ways:
- Change in financial metrics or shareholders.
- Customer and employee churn / attrition / turnover.
- Brand visibility and recognition within a category.
- Different emotional and neuro associations – both positive and negative.
- Brand differentiation.
- Customer and employee loyalty.
Today, brands are judged not only for their products and services but also for their social or political stances on issues.
A few decades ago, a company was trusted if their products were liked by their customers.
Today, a company is only trusted if its employees and customers are satisfied with the economic, social, and environmental outcomes.
The sustainability of an organization’s culture and decision-making structure is what’s driving the court of public opinion to value a brand.
Traditionally, brand equity could only be broken up into three different categories:
- Equity from the Name / Brand
- Equity from the Product / Service
- Financial Leverage
But today, brands are deriving value from partnerships with influencers, nonprofits, events, and strategic partnerships. The opportunities to build brand equity are endless.
Creative thinking is really what has allowed entrepreneurs to create brand equity from nothing but an idea in a garage.
The Key Elements of a Successful Brand
A successful brand can quickly create a positive sentiment in the marketplace. These brands can authentically connect with their customers through meaningful interactions that elicit positive emotional responses. Companies like Apple, Google, and Heartland, can clearly communicate why they do what they do. Consumers are emotionally pulled to a brand if they personally align with the company’s why.
One of the easiest starting points to create brand equity is through the company’s name and design symbol. These images are frequently the first impressions that companies give the stakeholders that surround them.
Once a name and logo have been established, it’s important to look at some of the less tangible company assets. Clearly defining the company’s mission, vision, purpose, and values will help make sure that everyone is on the same page.
- Vision – What outcome your company is moving toward.
- Mission – How your company is going to get there.
- Purpose – Why your company exists.
- Values – 3 to 5 guiding principles that shape every aspect of your business.
Our company had to get crystal clear on its values. This was the only way we could get everyone in the organization on the same page.
- Vision – Create earth’s most sustainable company.
- Mission – Standardize bio-based additives in raw material supply chains.
- Purpose – Make sustainable materials affordable and available.
- Values – Education, Innovation. Collaboration.
Heartland’s goal was to make it simple. Too many words dilute the meaning of what your company is trying to achieve.
We took a long time to think about our vision, mission, values, and purpose. It is something that every company should periodically revisit for 1 of 2 reasons.
- To make sure that everyone is still acting in alignment with the mission, vision, values, and purpose.
- To assess if the mission, vision, values, and purpose of the company should stay the same, or shift in a new direction.
It’s unrealistic to think that a company won’t evolve over time. When a company is restructuring its mission, vision, values, and purpose in the 21st century, it’s important to think about the changes in terms of sustainability. This is undoubtedly the trendline that will maintain consistency over the next few decades.
4 Important Ways to Benefit from Good Operations That Boosts Brands and Produces Profits
The goal of any company is to make profits and do good for society at the same time. Here are 3 simple ways to ensure strong operations, profitability, and brand equity.
- Clearly define long-term goals in accordance with your vision, mission, purpose, and values.
- Organize operations to meet customer demands.
- Continuously improve operational efficiency.
- Take care of your employees so that they can operate at their peak performance.
Other corporate processes that could also drive brand equity include customer service excellence, responsive digital experiences, and high-quality product features. These are some of the little things that make customers feel like they are part of your family.
If you want to change the perception of your company, share with your stakeholder base how your company thinks, and what it believes.
Brand Equity Grounded In Sustainability Mandates
Sustainability is a touchy subject. It teeters on a social issue, a political issue, and a capitalism issue. Humans have taken advantage of the planet’s resources for too many decades, and it’s starting to show.
Most companies have sustainability mandates that show the world that money is not the only reason that they are in business. Social impact, diversity and inclusion, health and safety, and resource management are all outlined in the sustainability mandates of the largest corporations. For many of our clients, the product development process to innovate with sustainable materials is driven by (and grounded in) a sustainability mandate.
As these companies get bigger, it gets harder for them to reduce their carbon footprint and plastics usage. The expansion of business opportunities naturally creates a larger and larger problem.
This is the reason why the usage of carbon-negative materials can amplify the carbon footprint reduction required by manufacturers and their stakeholders.
That’s the thing, this isn’t even so much about the manufacturer that uses a lot of plastic. This is about that manufacturer’s customers. They are trying to be leaders of their industry, and high-performance carbon-negative plastic additives help them do that.
High-performance carbon-negative plastic additives are a great opportunity for manufacturers to lead sustainable material innovation within their industry. The usage of sustainable materials will make the brand equity of top manufacturers higher than all their competitors. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.
Of course, there are more ways to increase the brand equity of a company than using sustainable materials. That just happens to be how we help manufacturers increase their brand equity.
If you think your company can benefit from high-performance carbon-negative plastic additives, please reach out on the contact form below.
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