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  • Posted by: Interbrand on Monday, August 18 2014 01:33 PM | Comments (0)

    Month of Service 2014

    In keeping with its annual tradition, during July Interbrand united for its Month of Service as part of Interbrand Inspired – our Foundation. Across the globe, Interbrand provided pro-bono consulting services to inspiring non-profits and social impact startups, in addition to offering hands-on volunteering in local communities. In total, Interbrand hosted and participated in more than 20 activities and positively affected the lives of many.

    The gift of generosity is a powerful expression of humanity and when a corporate community embraces altruism, the true character and spirit of the brand is revealed. Corporate Citizenship at Interbrand is our demonstration of appreciation for what we have and what we can give to others in pursuit of making the world a better place.

    From the Americas to Australia, Interbranders left a lasting impact on the organizations it partnered with and the communities in which we operate. The effects were felt in New York, where one team worked with Futures and Options to help underserved youth express their own personal brands – advice that Futures and Options knows will “help in their professional growth no matter what field they pursue.”

    The volunteer opportunities also support Interbrand’s collaborative and world changing internal culture, providing employees with the ability to think creatively and grow closer through shared experiences. Our Madrid office dedicated their time to a local community center, and as Ángela Rodrigo expressed, “it was a life changing experience for all of us.” In working with Student Reporter, Associate Consultant Jeremy Shapero noted, “our work was an exciting opportunity to flex beyond our traditional roles and teams."

    During Month of Service, Interbrand partnered with the following non-profits and start-ups: Career Gear; Friends of the Children New York; Minds Matter; Domestic Violence Project; Rooftop Films; Bite Size Learning; Friends of Bezalel; Student Reporter; Charity Miles; Pencils of Promise; Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE); GrowNYC; Futures and Options; Per Scholas; Upwardly Global; ABC Life Literacy; The Library Project; and Envision.

    For more photos from Interbrand’s Month of Service, visit our Facebook page here!

    About Interbrand Inspired
    Interbrand Inspired is Interbrand’s very own commitment to Corporate Citizenship. It is a not-for-profit foundation leveraged to promote the power of education around the world. Interbrand Inspired provides our employees an opportunity to give their time and talent to our communities through partnerships with educational organizations.

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  • Posted by: Nicole Diamant on Thursday, July 31 2014 11:29 AM | Comments (0)
    WOBI

    Image: © Kreg Holt for WOBI

    According to strategy expert Rita Gunther McGrath, the competitive advantage is dead. Any edge your brand has over another will be trumped faster and more furiously than ever before. And in fact, most of the speakers at the WOBI on Innovation conference focused on these disrupters: brands that emerge, seemingly out of nowhere, and shake up a category so dramatically that all others in its category must hustle to stay relevant.

    McGrath advises a new, nimble mindset as the best way to protect your brand from being edged out, including changing your thinking about innovation and also your business strategy. Incredible agility is now required when we consider our products, budgets, and even our own careers.  Innovation should be incorporated fully into our company, not as an “extra,” but as another cost of doing business. Products and ideas should be championed for as long as they are effective and then relinquished for improved solutions. And, as employees, we have to consistently and proactively shape and nurture our career paths.

    If the WOBI faculty is an indication of the future, then healthcare in particular must be alert to the patter of disrupters. Technology looming on the horizon could threaten many healthcare brands; however, getting educated about what’s happening at the leading-edge and being open to possibilities gives brands an opportunity to progress and position themselves as forward thinkers, whether that means partnering with “disruptive” consumer brands or refocusing their own R&D.

    What does the future hold?

    If we are to believe tech entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa, our future is going to be super cool and very scary all at the same time. We’ll start with the (now) ordinary but end up with the extraordinary—and a number of questions about our privacy and consumerism in general, will be raised. What happens to the pharmaceutical industry when we can print our own medications? Or to doctors when robots perform all our surgeries? Our phones will track everything our bodies do, from fitness to heart monitoring, to medication absorption. Global data is growing at a rate of 59 percent per year, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Pills will come with sensors; medicine for conditions like cancer will be personalized. We’ll print hearts and lungs and bionic hands. Devices and tattoos on our skin will store our health records, credit cards, and IDs. Robots will continue to advance in medicine and beyond, replacing pharmacists, delivery vehicles, factory workers, and more.

    How does a brand adapt?

    So how does a healthcare brand stay agile during this tumultuous time? CEO Mark Bertolini offered some insight into the direction Aetna is taking that is inspiring for anyone in healthcare today. Perhaps most importantly, Bertolini has shifted the company’s perception of its customer, its marketplace, and its role:

    “Healthcare is focused on curing disease, not creating highly functional human beings. Our goal should be highly functional humans because they are productive, economically viable, and therefore happy. That should be our definition of how a healthcare system works.”

    Not only is this aspirational, it’s practical. Between the ACA, new technology, and concierge medicine, healthcare is more patient-centric than ever. Consumers now have the tools to understand, monitor, and take an active role in their health like never before. Bertolini goes so far as to say that if the healthcare system is structured properly and built around the individual, traditional insurance won’t even be necessary. He sees three main transformative principles for staying ahead:

    1. Move towards consumer-centric digital tools that empower customers to take control of their healthcare
    2. Partner with doctors and hospitals to share incentives and keep people healthy
    3. Exact concierge level service for chronic patients that is high touch and high tech

    Bolster your brand

    There are no guarantees against disrupters—and they’re also not always a genuine threat. For every Uber or AirBnB there’s a Pets.com or LaserDisc. However, taking the whole landscape in account, it’s very clear that we’re entering a brave new world for healthcare. Therefore, understanding the strength of your brand in the marketplace and developing future strategies around that can help you adapt to the industry’s turbulent new normal. What shifts should you make to foster innovation and keep employees engaged? How can you push new products forward and disengage from those that have run their course? Can you adopt new technologies to better serve your consumers? We don’t know where the next disrupter will come from, or when it will emerge, but by recognizing changes in our industry, employing forward-thinking techniques, and adapting to consumer marketplace trends, we can set our brands up for success and longevity.

    Nicole Diamant is the Marketing Manager for InterbrandHealth. You can follow her on Twitter @NicoleDiamant.

    Interested in future-proofing your brand? Connect with InterbrandHealth here.

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  • Posted by: Interbrand on Thursday, May 22 2014 02:56 PM | Comments (0)

    Closing the Gap: Bringing Sustainable Solutions to Customers

    A great deal of innovative CSR work is happening in the business world every day, but there are still too many gaps and missed opportunities.   

    When a recent survey by Walmart's Global Customer Insights and Analytics group revealed that 96 percent of Walmart shoppers indicated they had purchased sustainable products in the past year, the company realized that low prices are only one of numerous expectations. Further, with nine billion people projected to inhabit the planet by 2050, driving efficiency across the current food system is imperative. For Walmart, the key to bringing sustainable solutions to all of its customers is collaboration. Now, the retail giant is joining forces with CEOs from more than a dozen global companies to sign new commitments that accelerate innovation in sustainable agriculture and recycling.   

    Collaboration and supply chain transparency are also core elements of Verizon's commitments to CSR and its mission to use its technology to solve some of the world's most pressing problems in education, healthcare, energy management and sustainability. Recognizing Ericsson with Verizon’s first Top Performance Award for Corporate Social Responsibility, the company acknowledges that working with responsible suppliers enhances competitiveness by improving the way it does business around the globe.   

    IKEA is also doing its part to prove that doing good is good business. From meatless meatballs to wind turbines and solar energy investment, the Swedish retailer putting its money and corporate citizenship on the line. “I’m convinced we are in the middle of this clean revolution right now, but I’m also not convinced we are doing it fast enough,” said IKEA Chief Sustainability Officer Steve Howard. “All the challenges are solvable with the solutions we have today, but we don’t have the right leadership, policies and priorities in place. Most political and business leaders are in a state of denial. Sustainability will be a decisive factor in terms of which business will be here in 30 years time. It’s also the future of business.”   

    In a similar vein, The Hershey Company, recently unveiled its evolved CSR framework—“Hershey Shared Goodness: Good Business, Better Life, Bright Future. Surpassing environmental targets and exceeding its year-one cocoa certification goal, Hershey is delivering on its belief that operating ethically and effectively is simply Good Business. “Our bold, aspirational goals have enabled our people and business to grow significantly,” asserted CEO John P. Bilbrey. “Hershey Shared Goodness directly reflects Milton Hershey’s founding principle of ‘doing well by doing good,’ and positions us for greater growth today and into the future.” 

    Coca-Cola is also doing good—this time, in China. The company is launching a socially responsible bottled-water brand that will fund projects to bring clean drinking water to schoolchildren in rural China, where people have to walk long distances to reach a water supply.  Since socially conscious brands are not as present in China compared to some other markets, Coke saw an opening to do something innovative. While Coke has initiatives in many markets to make soda and water bottles more sustainable, the Chun Yue brand is the first created specifically with the goal of charitably helping communities.

    With resource challenges ahead and many real world problems to be solved here and now, companies like Coca-Cola, Walmart, IKEA, and Hershey are proving that doing good improves both consumer perception and business practices—and that, in turn, boosts profitability. Today's commitments, according to Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon, “are about creating real systems change from one end of the supply chain to the other—meaning how products are grown and made, how they're transported and sold, and how we touch the lives of people along the way." Now that’s what we call shared value.   

    To find out more about future-proofing, the positive link between sustainability and executive pay, how sustainability helps companies like HP through tough times, and how brands are actively engaging employees in sustainability efforts—or to get more details on the stories above—check out this month’s installment of Closing the Gap!

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  • Posted by: Sarah McLaughlin on Thursday, October 17 2013 05:58 PM | Comments (0)
    Nike

    If you’ve ever been around a precocious child, you are no stranger to the question, “Why?” And then when you answer that question, it’s followed up by another thought provoking question… “Why?”

    Eventually we all grow out of the “but why” stage, yet it doesn’t mean that the question no longer exists in our head. A clarity and purpose as to why you’re doing something drives motivation, especially in the workplace.

    It’s no secret that companies spend tons of money researching consumers so they can talk to them in the most effective way. Yet many of those same companies don’t invest the same resources in learning how to communicate to their own workforce.

    Recent studies have shown that how companies speak to employees through their internal messages and behavior is a valuable investment in employee engagement. According to a 2011 Towers Watson study, companies with the most effective employee communication have a 48% higher shareholder returns over the last five years.

    If you’re looking for a brand that excels in this type of communication, look no further than Nike. Over the past five years its stock price has increased 121%. Perhaps how the brand answers the question, “why,” for its employees has contributed to some part of that growth.

    Steeped in a rich brand DNA, Nike takes pride in and communicates its heritage to every single employee who comes to work for the swoosh. As a former MBA intern at the company, I got to experience first hand how Nike engages its employees. Prior to my arrival, I had only been influenced and inspired by their consumer facing stories. As a passionate Nike loyalist, I was eager to see how it all came together from an employee perspective.

    The first day you show up on the Nike campus, you are immersed in a 360 deep dive exploration about why the company exists, its vision and its brand maxims. You learn about brand history from senior leaders in the company, many who have worked at Nike since the beginning. It’s without a doubt an awe-inspiring, “lets go out there and kick some butt together,” experience.

    Nike Swoosh

    The Nike brand maxims are a 10 Commandments type list, although there are 11, that govern employees and emphasizes their reasons to believe in Nike. They are nothing like a typical employee handbook tossed aside after the first day. At Nike, the Maxims have infiltrated nearly every internal brand interaction.

    If you’re in a meeting and things are getting complicated, someone will ultimately say “Simplify and Go,” (Maxim #4). A decision will be made and the group will move on. When you’re planning a brand event you may hear, “We are on the offense. Always.” (Maxim #10).

    It’s an inspiring call to action that engenders empowerment, drives engagement and creates a mindset synonymous with going to battle. Your colleagues are your comrades in arms. When you and your team are looking to break new ground you’re always thinking, “It’s in our nature to innovate.” (Maxim #1)

    The commitment to the messages Nike sends to employees can also be seen at The Maxim Awards. Like the academy awards, the Maxims at Nike recognize superior work. An award is given for each one of the 11 Maxims to an employee or team that has brought the true meaning and vision of that maxim to life during the previous year. Maxim award presenters will often have very famous names such as former NFL player Jerry Rice or Carolyn Davidson, the woman who created the swoosh. Putting the person who drew the swoosh on equal footing as an NFL Hall of Famer sends the message to the employees that both accomplishments and contributions to the brand are equally valued.

    You can easily see Nike’s internal brand mindset infused in its external marketing communications. The FuelBand copy such as “I will defy winter and conquer Nike fuel missions,” or “I will crush my personal best,” is the same type of authentic, “on the offense” attitude used internally. With any great messaging platform, the brand repeatedly emphasizes the same messages but with fresh, varied expressions. By doing this, you can immediately see what the brand and the FuelBand stands for.

    Thinking you want to try this with your company and have no idea where to start? Start with the answer to the question “Why?” Figure out why your company exists and why it’s important and then reinstate that belief in your company. And if things start getting to complicated, just simplify and go.

    Sarah McLaughlin is a Senior Consultant, Verbal Identity, Interbrand New York.

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  • Posted by: Amanda Munilla on Monday, June 3 2013 01:51 PM | Comments (0)

    Repair the Rockaways

    Games are nothing new. Competition and the need for rewards and recognition are innate in humans. Mobile technologies and apps such as Foursquare, Yelp, Wii and Kinect have all tapped this need and made gaming relevant across demographics.

    In the wake of Hurricane Sandy in the US's northeast, Repair the Rockaways, a Zynga-produced game raised money for recovery efforts. More recently, the beta version of Google Glass demonstrated the potential to gamify nearly any task in real-time. Games can even be used to help tackle abstract, future-facing challenges like resource scarcity and talent recruitment, as Siemens pioneered with Plantville.

    Games spur action and participation. Gamification can include using badges to show merit (you’ll remember those from your scouting days), creating leaderboards, and using those impulses of competition to encourage desired behavior.

    Games can also test understanding, gain constituent feedback and help guide decision-making. In the business world, gaming has become a common way for organizations to reach customers. According to Mashable, more than 70% of Fortune 200 companies use games for customer retention and marketing.


    Plantville


    Companies are increasingly using games to motivate their workforces. Brands like Walmart have used gamification to improve customer service through employee engagement, a strategy presented at The Conference Board's Extending Your Brand to Employees conference in May.

    Interbrand was also there, presenting alongside BNY Mellon on the importance of influencing employee behavior to drive desired business outcomes. Customer relationships are the core product in the B2B space, and gaming is a great tool for driving employee engagement.

    For gaming to be a powerful tool, however, it has to be underpinned by a solid strategy — one that is set to move the needle and prompt workforce action. To derive value from gaming, company leaders should ask themselves: What are my objectives and desired behaviors? What kind of games will work in my organization's culture? What incentives will prove effective at driving change?

    BNY Mellon conducted a robust exercise to identify the key behaviors in employees that would unlock the business strategy, as well as structured a system of cues and rewards to incentivize employees. This case serves as a great example of how a company can get employees, dispersed across the world, to collaborate on developing the right behaviors to drive the business forward. In the coming years, B2B brands will have to increasingly employ these strategies in creating sustainable momentum across their organizations.

    Amanda Munilla is a Senior Consultant in Interbrand New York's Strategy Department.





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