Citizenship branding

Scott Osman
Landor Perspectives 2010

Much has been written and discussed of late regarding the value that sustainability and corporate responsibility can create. Although these terms are defined in various ways, sustainability generally is considered the environmental practices of a company, while corporate responsibility is considered the practices that contribute to the social good.

Most often, these practices are considered from the point of view of the contributions they make to society at large, and secondarily to the business bottom line. I am a firm believer in their importance and their future as mainstays of business. However, we should not lose sight of the benefits that accrue to companies pursuing this strategy when the values expressed align with the brand. We call this approach citizenship branding. Think of it as brand purpose.

Citizenship branding aligns the brand and corporate responsibility in a way that validates and reinforces brand values; it identifies and engages authentic purpose. Citizenship branding brings the brand to life for customers, employees, investors, and partners by leveraging the provision of social benefit and its impact. It creates opportunities for developing new lines of business. Often, citizenship branding applies existing investments to create greater benefit for the company and the causes it supports.