Monday, June 22, 2009

Which coporate brands are sick, which are healthy?

Cook, who said oil and tobacco and pampers companies are sick, called on brand managers to look at the entire value chain of business, and measure their brands' ecological impact, and fight poverty.

SHOOT: In a world where 1.02 billion people are dying of hunger, the majority of corporations echo their shareholders in motive. That motive is selfishness and greed. Brands that care include Pick 'n Pay. Can't think of another one. Possibly Nedbank and Standard Bank, but it;s difficult to imagine that banks have truly altruistic motives when they are in the business of making money (and they charge money to make deposits).
Brands that pretend to care but actually sicken society are Coca Cola and alcohol companies (think of all the community spirit they represent, especially SAB's Castle Lager). Cellular Service providers charge fees for SMS' in Africa when the USA provides these for free. That puts the greed motive for these companies squarely on the agenda. The same goes for exorbitant internet fees in countries where people don't have enough to eat.
“Too many children are dying in Africa and not a single global brand is doing something about it. We are not aggressively focusing on the social impact of our brands. We should look at the conditions of society and play a meaningful role in developing social aspects of our brands.”
However, Cook's ‘socialist-like' theory was refuted by some pro-capitalism panellists, including Lebo Biko, MD of BBDO Consulting SA, and Sizakele Marutlulle, of Moonchild.
“A brand is what adds value to its shareholders and right now it is all about financial value, especially in times like these when the talk is all about cost-cutting and revenue-generating. And we marketers, we should focus more on generating revenues. After all, we have kids to feed and families to take care of,” said Biko.
Marutlulle said: “A sick brand is a brand that conforms and focuses too much on downstream and impact - the kind of green movement and others.
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