Trust, Purpose and Authenticity: The Power of Brands to Change People’s Lives

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Brands have power – no doubt about it. The role of brands that touch so many lives in a variety of capacities cannot be understated. So how can companies leverage this power to make the world a better place?

Joining the panel discussing this issue with Arianna Huffington, Founder and CEO of Thrive Global, was John Roselli, General Manager of Consumer Wellness at Bose, Kristen Allegri Williams, Chief Marketing Officer of SAP Success Factors, and Sara Suanders, Associate Brand Director of P&G.

Nowadays, there is a higher standard for the responsibilities of a brand. According to Huffington, the new currencies are trust, authenticity, and engagement. But, the newest currency which will define 2019 and beyond is a brand’s ability to add value to people’s lives beyond the value of a specific product. Anything a company can do to add value to people’s lives creates loyalty, as well as promote the well being of everyone that interacts with a brand.

For Saunders, this means that her work at P&G, and Secret and Gillette especially. Saunders’ holds the belief that marketing can and should be a force of good in the world, which is in the hands of marketers. She relates the example of P&G’s deodorant brand Secret’s mission to help women and empower them during stressful moments. This is a great example, as one could view marketing this brand as simply selling deodorant- but instead, Secret aims to equip women to handle difficult situations. Brands should have a deeper purpose.

Communicating a deeper brand meaning is not only external communication, but also internal communication. Roselli shares that the audio company Bose has an outlook that companies should have a place of employment where people can reach their “fullest human potential”. Creating a positive internal environment first and foremost allows the brand message to reach the most direct and consequential audience – employees.

Companies can take a core brand promise, and find inspiration that comes from within the workforce, and work together to create solutions for social, humanitarian, and environmental issues that faces our modern society. Finding and executing on brand purpose is essential.

Another theme throughout the panel was employee well being – Saunders encourages everyone to aim to achieve a better level of work/life balance by enjoying personal moments and taking time for loved ones. She also emphasizes that not everyone needs to feel like they need to be perfect in every aspect of their life at every moment – some days you are a good employee, and some days you are a good spouse or parent.

Trust is another part of the brand/consumer relationship – how can brands build trust simply through advertising? The answer is that they simply cannot – building trust, according to the panelists, requires taking a stand on something that matters. For some companies this can mean gender equality issues, like P&G, or overarching health and wellness issues, like Bose.

Williams expands on employee well being by discussing a Human Revolution, which aims to tap into the collective passion of people and reshape the workforce for good by utilizing the Human Resources Department within organizations.

In today’s hyper competitive and over-saturated market, it is essential for companies to communicate authentic, purposeful, and trustworthy messages.


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