To learn how the landscape between society and business has shifted, Darden and APCO conducted a global study of more than 36,000 people in 14 of the world’s largest economies.
End of the Era of Push Communications
With the advent of the Internet and the rise of social media, corporate brands no longer maintain full control of messages or their reputations.
Anyone with a computer or mobile device can access information about a company and quickly and easily start a global conversation about corporate practices.
Unprecedented Scrutiny of Corporate Behavior
Greater access to information, coupled with the perceived influence large companies have over people’s lives, has led to greater scrutiny of corporate behavior.
“When evaluating companies, it is as important for me to know how the company operates as it is to know what it sells.”
“People scrutinize what companies do more today than they did 10 years ago.”
“In the last 10 years, people's expectations for companies' conduct have increased.”
Shift in the Balance of Power Between Government & Global Corporations
Alongside this greater access to information, society is increasingly feeling a change in the balance of power between government, society and business.
“Companies now serve functions in society that were previously reserved only for the government.”
“Global corporations have a bigger impact on people’s lives today than they did 10 years ago.”
Companies Have the Power, If Not the Obligation, to Add Value
To succeed in this new era, great brands must manifest an explicit corporate brand strategy in every aspect of their business — from business strategy to employee communication and policies, to more deliberate external communication with customers, policymakers and society more broadly.
This corporate brand strategy must explain the social value or mutual interest the company fulfills.
Rather than build brand champions for products, the crucial dimension is to create a Champion Brand, one that champions the interests of stakeholders and society.
“Companies have the ability to shape a better society.”
“The best companies are those that are an advocate for things that are important to me.”