There’s no shortage of books on branding or sustainability, but this is the first I’ve come across that demonstrates how branding fits into the sustainability debate, and indeed hypothesises that brands have a key role in sustainability.
In Brand Valued, the authors open the debate about how brands can survive and thrive in today’s complex and increasingly inter-connected world. They offer a new way of thinking about brand strategy based on building social capital.
Social capital is defined as dialogue, shared thinking and trust. They suggest the decline in social capital is at the root of the problems faced by society. As we now enter an Era of Social Capital Rising, the key is to build a brand that is valued.
From this historical perspective, the book then charts a new approach to brand strategy. Drawing on research from the Sustainable Futures initiative, which seeks the opinions of 25,000 consumers around the world, the authors present a Social Capital Strategy. Based on the 5Is – Interconnectedness, Inclusiveness, Ignition, Interest and Imagination – this maps out what is needed to build a Social Equity Brand. The 5Is model is, they claim, an attempt to upgrade and broaden the 4Ps marketing mix and make it relevant in this new era.
Before summarizing their arguments, the authors suggest ways in which social capital can be measured. It is here that they pose the pivotal question “Is it the sale you’re after, or the value that sale creates?”
Far from being an easy read, Brand Equity demands that you put your brain in gear and start thinking about the role brands have in helping to solve the world’s problems. It will be interesting to see the extent to which readers take up the authors’ invitation to engage in an ongoing debate.
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