How to Make Branding More than Just White-Washing

Amber Johnson Sustainability, Values

C-suite executives know that protecting and growing their brands is Job #1 on their daily to do lists. But how do they do it? Most turn to marketing to drive public perception of the brand, and as a result, public trust can suffer. It can seem like white-washing. 


Consumers are savvy – they know that a brand is made up by more than its most recent advertising campaign. Your opinion of a particular brand encompasses what you hear about it in the media, but also your own experiences, your expectations of it, and (increasingly) your assessment of the brand’s social and environmental performance. 


“A brand used to be something else. It used to be a logo or a design or a wrapper. Today, that’s a shadow of the brand, something that might mark the brand’s existence,” wrote marketing blogger Seth Godin in a 2009 post.


So how do you make your brand more than just a shadow? Dr. Mona Amodeo of idgroup (a change management consultancy that works on brand development) says it involves combining performance, reputation, story-telling, and traditional branding approaches. Hear about it in this short video, part of the Champions of Responsible Business video series.

If sustainability is part of your brand, you’ll also want to check out Mona’s video on Moving Sustainability from Doing to Being. And, as a starting place for creating your own sustainability initiative, see What Works in Sustainability, and How Interface Led the Way.