Toms

FEELING GOOD BY DOING WELL OR FEELING GOOD BY DOING BETTER?

Here comes the last month of the year. You have already noted it because the weather has changed, people around you, are increasingly sneezing and coughing, the days are shorter and of course all shops and malls remind you that you have only some days left to fulfill all the wish-lists you received. Part of this end year period, you also probably noted all the charities which are looking for more help and donations. Your sensitivity and kindness are mostly affected during this month, resulting in a melted feeling between joy – as you are gathering with family, friends and amazed by light decorations in the city – and sadness – as you feel some guilt for the ones who are less lucky than you are. How to feel good then?

Acting well?
Media were overwhelmed by many political events this year. But the main one remains the Syrian crisis. Like the campaign made by Save the Children in 2014, Most Shocking Second a Day, Ikea and the Red Cross have created an in store communication operation to raise awareness about the Syrian crisis in its Slependen, Norway flagship store. Among the well-known perfect showrooms, there was one that was the exact replica of a real Syrian residence in Damascus: Rana and her family of 9’s home. The famous tags where you usually read some exotic names such as “KNOXHULT”, challenging to pronounce if you don’t speak Swedish, and its description, in the temporary showroom the tags contains descriptions of how people live, survive, and how to help. This 25m² of Syria installation was live from 17-31 October, seen by about 40 000 visitors weekly and enabled the raise of about 22 million euros for the Red Cross’ efforts in Syria.


Most Shocking Second a Day Video from SaveTheChildren.


25m2 SYRIA from POL on Vimeo.

Acting better?
Combining purchases and charities is something that grows more and more in business models. One of them is TOMS. Their operation “One for One” started with shoes. For a pair of shoes bought, a pair of shoes is given to a child in need. According to The Economist, in 2012 TOMS asked a group of academics to investigate to find out if its operations worked. The findings were that handing out the free shoes had “no effect on overall shoelessness, shoe ownership (older shoes were presumably thrown away), general health, foot health or self-esteem”, leaving the company with room for improvements. TOMS changed its strategy to have a (real) big impact; for examples “One for One”:

  • on eyewear: for each TOMS Eyewear purchased, a free sight-correction is provided to a person in need
  • on coffee: each bag of TOMS Roasting Co. Coffee provides a week’s supply of water to a person in need (140 liters)
  • on bags: TOMS Bags purchased support training needed to help provide a safe birth and training of school staff and crisis counselors to help prevent and respond to instances of bullying
toms_dec2016

Source: TOMS

Acting well and better
In the need of ideas for wish-list? Tired of receiving knitted sweater? Why not asking for garments that are made of recycled materials? Even football starts to come on this field! In collaboration with Parley, Adidas has announced the creation of new jerseys for Real Madrid and Bayern Munich: monochrome jersey made of recycled plastic collected from the ocean. Like other brands that started this process before, such as G-Star, Adidas extends the change switch by reaching football fans.

adidasparley_realandbayern

Source: Adidas

Besides more and more new fashion brands have entered the field and offer eco-responsible products: Faguo, Veja, Ekyog, or from young entrepreneurs such as WWoW, Hamilton Perkins Collection.


FAGUO // Les premiers pas from FAGUO.

Feeling good? Hopefully yes! In any case I wish you happy end-year celebrations!

SUSTAINABLING-BLING BRANDS?

Popularized with hip hop culture, “bling-bling” things are usually shiny and sparkling jewelry or expensive objects like big cars, associated with apparent wealth. Bling-bling things are very common in music videos; and let’s not forget that things are brands managed by people. Bling-bling brands or organizations are the ones that rely on their appearance only: they shine on the outside but not in the inside, like some people just talk but never act. Obviously in our “Googling mania” world these brands are not sustainable. Trendwatching pointed out that “brands need to take real and meaningful actions to make consumers’ lives better or make a world a better place to be”. Wrapped up in a fancy concept like “The death of human brand”, this must sound like a wake-up call. But is it?

A wake-up call maybe, but certainly not a new MarCom strategy. Simple examples: Havas Meaningful Brands Index or Best Global Green Brands by Interbrand.

Identification
Since the beginning of MarCom, one of the key rules is to make consumers identify themselves with the brands. Once one relates to something, they simply think: “This match with what I believe in” or “This reflects who I am”. Thanks to some social brands like TOMS, one even thinks: “I’m doing something good!” as the One for One concept eliminates the guilt of over-consumption. Here real and meaningful actions are taken by the brand, actions that can be checked on their site and social media.

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Source: TOMS

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Source: TOMS – screenshot 24.05.2015

Are they what they do?
With more new mobile applications, people are more and more encouraged to share their experiences. At such a point that both significant and (a lot of) insignificant moments of our lives are shared on the WWW as if we were all Kardashian. Just check out Periscope or Snap Me Up, an alarm clock that stops ringing until you take a selfie. Like trendwatching demonstrated, over communicating on our doings, do not make them neither real, nor meaningful. So does it for brands. Just recently, I read that Nick Woodman, GoPro’s CEO dropped $229 million to his college roommate to fulfill a 10-year-old promise.  I just thought “what a man! A word said is a word kept. It must be great to work for his company!” Not only because I wished to get a similar promise, but above all, this is a man of his word, a very rare kind in this world.

snap-me-up-your-alarm-wants-to-see-your-early-morning-face

Source: Tech News Today

Googling mania: We are what we display
As we do for people, we double-check brands doings on the web; it has become a reflex in today’s world. The last filter remains: our own judgement. Because what is displayed on the WWW is selected information from fans or detractors are all mixed up. As an example, Beyoncé was recently pointed out because of her last video clip “Feeling Myself”, as she poured in a pool a $20.000 – based on the WWW gossips – bottle of “Ace of Spade” Champaign of Armand de Brignac, brand newly bought by Jay-Z. But let’s not forget that Queen B. is also a co-founder of Chime For Change, probably one of the arguments that made her one of the “Femojis” – feminist emojis.

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Google browser

Stop the bling-bling and start the doing
MarCom actions are more challenging today as it was before, since brands must be omnicanal. But are not we just expecting acting brands, rather than communicating ones?

HOW HUMAN RESOURCES SUPPORT BRAND STRATEGY IN SUSTAINABILITY?

People working for an organization are probably the main ambassadors of the organization’s brand. In front of customers, co-workers or within their social circle, they represent and reflect the values and the image of an organization’s brand. Therefore, employees should be carefully selected and their career path properly followed-up to ensure that such brand image is well conveyed. Within any organization Human Resources activities are perceived to be limited to some core functions such as hiring people, following employees’ development, setting employees’ benefits and managing leaving personnel. However, according to Andrew Savitz, senior consultant at SBS, HR functions are essential to Brand strategy in sustainability.

Hiring people

Based on an organization needs and budget, HR professionals attract talents by using the brand image and values of the organization. Since today’s organizations tend to include sustainability values, sustainability-related values have become essential criteria not only in employees’ selection, but also employer’s selection. So, how to attract talents to come work for one’s organization based on sustainability values?  Simply with proofs! What better than tangible examples about initiatives taken and realized by an organization rather than mere words?

TOMS has proven again its commitment to its famous business model One for One®. In 2013, TOMS has launched its marketplace dedicated to social entrepreneurs that totally embraces the concept of One for One®. For each purchase made from a brand, a cause is supported in a specific region or country.

toms1

Besides, on the hiring page, the founder Blake Mycoskie celebrates the 7 years of TOMS in a video by telling not only all the great achievements of the past 7 years, but also by presenting the culture and some of the core values of the company.

Another way of attracting talents: Heineken approach! Last year, the beer brand came out with a new way of hiring people: what matters was not how much ready a candidate was for a classic job interview, but how actually his/her personality was and could match with the current team. The recruiting process was putting candidates in atypical and awkward situations to test if what is usually said – such as “I can work under pressure”; “I adapt myself easily” – is real:

  1. Holding the hand of the recruiter
  2. Assist the recruiter who fainted
  3. Act in an emergency evacuation

Employees’ development 

Employees develop their career through the experience they acquire within the organization on daily activities and trainings. The role of HR here could be to offer opportunities to raise awareness about how economic, environmental and social issues can affect the organization and all around.

Employees’ rewards

Rewards are usually set according to employees’ performance and objective achievements. In the same manner, sustainability-related objectives, such as brand image representation, could be rewarded with incentives encouraging employees to go on.

Levi’s has combined both employees’ development and rewards through their Community Involvement Teams. The famous jeans company encourages its employees to get involved in local charities by giving them up to 60 hours paid time off per year to do so. Furthermore, every year since 2000, on Community Day in May, Levi’s employees around the world volunteer for a day with local nonprofit organizations. Such initiative contributed last May to:

  • Thousands of employees participating in nearly 170 projects in 46 countries related to addressing sustainability, equality and fighting against HIV/AIDS
  • A total of $ 300.000 granted to nonprofit partners by the Levi Strauss Foundation

levis

Source: Levi’s

Updated knowledge

10 years ago, positions such as “community manager” or “digital marketer” just started to pop out from job offers. Organizations need talents with up-to-date knowledge, skills and mindsets. Sustainability-related jobs have also invaded careers opportunities to become even more specific such as “Carbon accounting specialist” or “Lifecycle analysis specialist”. Aman Singh, Editorial Director at CSRwire said: “It is encouraging that companies are opening their doors, slowly but surely, to eager and skilled graduates who want to use their careers to make a difference.”

Managing leaving employees 

People who worked for an organization keep on carrying the brand image of its previous employers. Whether an employee leaves or s/he is retiring. Therefore, benefits or pension policies could be a mean for sustainability policies of an organization: the organization is caring beyond the work life time.

GREEN COMMUNICATION VERSUS GREENWASHING

Communicate on sustainable issues increases awareness. Organisations are playing a crucial role in this manner, as most of us relate to some of them. But how, as an organisation, can I show my involvement in sustainability? Through communication, yes, but not only; some evidences may be expected from your main customers, all your stakeholders. Communicate on sustainable issues should not be considered as a simple trend and treated as so. In other words, organisations must be careful to not fall into greenwashing.

Green that is not truly green 

Generally if communication related to environment is not true, it is qualified as “greenwashing”. What does it mean? Greenwashing could be defined as “exposing false environmental claims” (the Guardian). This word comes from the expression “whitewashing”, a metaphor to explain the attempt to hide unpleasant facts, especially in the context of corporations, governments or other organisations. Greenwashing relates to an environmental context. It qualifies an organisation that “spends more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimise environmental impact.”  But… How could it be identified as so?

Greenwashingindex.com invites consumers to post and rate advertisings “promoting the environmental qualities of a product or company” according to their level of reliability based on criteria: words used, design used, environmental claim, truth of the message. Greenwashingindex.com aims “to educate consumers about how to “read” an ad and encourage them to decide for themselves if what they [are] seeing is greenwashing” and therefore, encourage businesses to “have a sustainable business” before they advertise it, and ” be accountable for the sustainable practices they claim to have”. In short they aim to “put an end to the greenwashing and get busy with real environmental change.”

Since 2007 TerraChoice, an environmental marketing and consulting firm, has published a collection of reports named: The Sins of Greenwashing. These studies aim “to update the state of knowledge of environmental claims” in North American Consumer Markets, to determine the “Sins of Greenwashing”, to give recommendations to consumers to better consume and guidelines to marketers to better communicate (The Six Sins of Greenwashing, 2007; The Seven Sins of Greenwashing, 2009; The Sins of Greenwashing: Home and family edition, 2010). TerraChoice has defined 7 “Sins of Greenwashing”:

  1. Sin of the hidden trade-off
  2. Sin of no proof
  3.  Sin of vagueness
  4. Sin of worshiping false labels
  5. Sin of irrelevance
  6. Sin of the lesser of two devils
  7. Sin of fibbing

However, the study insists that “only perfectly green product should [not] be market as environmentally preferable”; indeed there is a difference between claiming being “green” and being “greener”.  Today, there is no such perfectly “green” product available on the market.  There is however:  “environmentally preferable products” that are ‘greener’ and not ‘green’.

To not do greenwashing “does not mean waiting for a perfect [green] product”, but to market and communicate with honesty and transparency, and thus avoiding the 7 sins defined by TerraChoice. (Source: The Seven Sins of Greenwashing, 2009). According to the 2010 study, in North America, “since 2009 the number of “greener” products has [increased] by 73%”. This is a positive trend, as organisations appear to innovate in a “greener” way.  However, in 2010, “greenwashing is still a significant problem […] [as] over 95% of “greener” products commit[ted] one or more of the 7 “Sins of Greenwashing””. (Source: The Sins of Greenwashing: Home and family edition, 2010)

Greenwashing can take any form of communication actions: information written on the packaging, slogan used to advertise a product, etc. Organisations are more and more collaborating together in the purpose of reporting these practices. For the Olympics 2012, Greenwash Gold 2012 campaign has been developed by three organisations – London Mining Network, Bhopal Medical Appeal and UK Tar Sands Network. Greenwash Gold medal has been created to reward the “dodgy company” that has “cover[ed] up the most environmental destruction and devastat[ed] the most communities while pretending to be a good corporate citizen by sponsoring the Olympic Games.”  Nominated organisations were sponsors of the Olympics 2012, voters were the public. (Source: http://www.greenwashgold.org/).

Communicate on what is truly greener 

Today’s stakeholders are more and more aware of sustainability issues and want to consume better, the most “environmental-friendly” possible. Thus they have expectations from the brands they usually buy, and from the general market. This for-greener-products demand pushes organisation to innovate towards greener products. Environmental progress takes time and is progressing; these progresses will be rewarded by consumers.

However, today buzz can be created so fast thanks to (or because of) the Internet possibilities: social media such as blog, Facebook, Twitter etc. Most of organisations – Turkish organisations too, but at a slower pace though compared to North America and Europe – are considering more sustainability issues in their strategy: policy to reduce carbon emissions etc. Therefore communications on these initiatives should be seen as a positive trend, right? Perhaps not always, if not real and misleading.

Trust. Trust is probably one of the major components of strategies adopted by organisations. People are more suspicious than in the 1960’s, especially since Internet is considered as a basic tool to verify information. Any information that consumers can get, will be checked on the Internet: for opinions, comparisons with other alternatives etc. Therefore, organisations must inspired trust to their stakeholders and be trusted by their stakeholders, thus be prudent while communicating. Does my communication reflect truly the initiatives I am doing? Does my communication vehicle properly the image of my organisation?

Some inspirational campaigns 

In 2001, Method cleaning products was launched by Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan. More than a revolutionary concept and innovation, the campaigns used to promote the products are just… A breathe of fun and creativity! Finally promotions of sustainable products that do not make you feel guilty or preachify you on your actions! The campaigns launched sensitise you in the matter of better consuming (cleaning) with efficient and “both people- and pet-friendly” products though. Since March 2012, you can watch the videos campaigns made by Method on YouTube to promote their cleaning products: “method: say no to jugs; method: clean happy anthem; method: high five a rainbow”. So refreshing and original! Why? It does not show classical and typical cleaning actions; such as a kitchen plate full of grease and sponged in once thanks to a strong product. Besides, the pop side of it turns the cleaning chore as a funnier activity – we could expect Monica Geller (Friends) to pop out and tell us: “I told you, let’s have fun together!”

oneforone-banner

Another example of great campaign but in another category is TOMS. Very inspiring! For Christmas 2008, TOMS launched the “Project Holiday Campaign”. The purpose was to give 30.000 pairs of shoes to a child in need in Ethiopia. To do so, TOMS promoted its action through a video explaining the reasons of such action: “For every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of shoes to a child in need. One for One.” (Source: TOMS Project Holiday YouTube video). By the end of the operation, TOMS has not only exceeded their goal by 23%, but also raised awareness for their cause. (Source: www.ecopreneurist.com). The impact was so huge that “One to One” has become a trademark and a permanent sale operation: “One person buys. One person is helped” is the motto. Not so long after, Blake Mycoskie (TOMS founder) even launched a similar operation for sight: “One pair of TOMS glasses = Sight for one person”. Such a successful story based on giving! With end year holidays coming, it can make us think…

Last but not least, the communication made by organisations must be in line with their strategy. Most important, the communication must be simply true.