Building the Credible Sustainable Brand

Instructor: Jennifer Rice, Principal, Fruitful Strategy

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Most think of brands in the context of communications. But building a strong, credible brand starts with laying the foundation: how customers experience your brand, and what they believe to be true about you.

Sustainability has taken a hold in corporations around the world. Businesses are moving forward with initiatives to save energy, be more efficient, hold supply chains accountable, and more. Once they achieve a measure of success internally, the next step is to find a way to leverage sustainability as a platform for growth. An increasing number of visionary leaders are finding ways to transform their categories and their brands through sustainability-focused products, services and experiences.

Jennifer’s course provides a structured methodology for developing market-facing sustainability strategy, which is anchored on the Five Sustainable Brand Stages: Laggard, Trial, Emergent, Integrated and Transformative. This model aids businesses in building credible brand reputations, respecting their limits, and finding ways to leverage sustainability into competitive advantage and customer loyalty.

You'll learn your brand's gaps and opportunities in sustainability by identifying your company's efforts in six areas:

  • Scope of Sustainability Strategy: Are you focused simply on risk mitigation or transformation of your entire category?
  • Sustainable Brand Strategy: How can sustainability be best integrated into your brand portfolio: through a sub-brand, line extension, ingredient brand, initiative brand or master brand?
  • Sustainability Positioning: To what extent is sustainability represented in how you position your brand? Is it an "oh by the way" or a key pillar of your messaging? Or is it inseparable from your corporate brand position?
  • Customer Journey: Can your customers experience you as a sustainable brand? How is sustainability integrated into all the ways a customer interacts with you? How many sustainable products and services do they associate with your company?
  • Communications: How visible and transparent is your sustainability story? Do customers have to dig deep in your website to find an official statement or report, or are you publicly trumpeting your credible contributions and initiatives in an authentic way?
  • Operational Integrity: Are you greenwashing or walking your talk? How does your level of Operational Integrity limit or enhance your market-facing sustainability efforts?

Next, you'll walk step-by-step through the process for building a sustainable brand for B2C, B2B companies and retailers, with focus on:

  • Expanding the scope of your sustainability strategy beyond an internal focus to include customer and category transformation
  • Selecting the right brand strategy and audience based on your Brand Stage (where you'll get a sneak preview of our recent consumer segmentation research)
  • Learning the implications of Brand Stage on positioning and customer experience
  • Mapping your customer experience and embedding sustainability into the touch points that matter most


This is a preview of Jennifer's seminar

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By the end of the course, attendees will have gone through a structured process for leveraging sustainability for growth, learning from best-practices examples like Clorox, Marks & Spencer, and GE Ecomagination for each stage. Hands-on exercises include the Five Stages Audit, Strategic Scope Mapping and Customer Experience Mapping.

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