Enlightened Brands

Enlightened Brands are brands that take meaningful action to improve both individual lives and the world. They are restless. They are in search of new ways to make the world a better place. They hold themselves to higher standards of fairness and responsibility. They are empathetic. They understand their customers’ pain points and work to make their lives easier, better and more fun. Enlightened Brands are also demanding. They push consumers to become the people they want to be.

Restless Brands 

In a global survey, 63% of consumers said that they only buy products and services which appeal to their beliefs, values or ideals. It is becoming increasingly important for brands to not only be eco-conscious and socially aware, but take action towards their beliefs as well. Enlightened Brands take steps towards a better world by developing new products, services and systems for the greater good. 

One powerful way big brands are moving closer towards Enlightenment is to let change start from the inside. They are creating new, fairer, more equal ways of approaching internal culture. In March 2015, Vodafone announced that it would implement a minimum level of maternity pay. All women would be entitled to sixteen weeks maternity leave on full pay, plus full pay for a 30-hour week for the first six months after they return to work. The company, who has over 100,000 employees in 30 countries will support those who do not have a legal provision for maternity pay.

Enlightened Brands use new, innovative processes to reduce waste and benefit the environment. Cambodian fashion brand, Tonlé manufactures its garments from scrap materials and then collects its own scraps to create new, usable fabric with zero waste. Enlightened Brands also empower their consumers to do good. Gramming for Good and Gramforacause are two platforms that connect socially conscious Instagrammers with nonprofits. They use photography to spread the word about the work of the nonprofit, while earning money.

Empathetic Brands

Enlightened Brands are Empathetic. They are human-centered, they understand their customers, how they live and what they can do to make their lives better. In order to make things more convenient for their patrons, the Grand Hyatt hotel in Melbourne recently launched a Leave it at Hyatt program which gives travelers the option to leave items at the hotel between stays. 

During the SXSW Festival in March 2015, US based battery manufacturer Mophie teamed up with the St. Bernard Rescue Foundation to offer a mophieRescue service. Attendees were invited to send a tweet to the brand along with a screenshot of their dying battery and current location with the #mophieRescue hashtag. The rescue dogs would arrive shortly with a charger.

Finding new ways for customers to make constructive use of infrastructure is good for society and the planet. Idea Bank is a cafe and co-working space for entrepreneurs. The bank offers free beverages, offices, wifi and printers to entrepreneurs and small companies.

Demanding Brands

Enlightened Brands push consumers to do better and be better. In an effort to push customers to do more physical activity, the Mexican government installed 30 motion-sensitive machines at subway stations across Mexico City. The machine issues a token that can be redeemed for a subway ticket to any commuter who completes ten squats. This project was introduced in response to the 2013 UN report stating that 32.8% of the Mexican population is obese. 

Enlightened Brands encourage consumers to be more responsible. In May 2015, UK television station E4 shut down on the day of the general election to push young people to go out and vote. The station which reaches 8.7 million people between the ages of 16-34 every month was in response to the fact that less than half of the country’s youth voted in the 2010 British general election. 

Being demanding also means finding innovation ways to improve customer behavior. Australia’s Art Series Hotel Group recently launched a promotion which offers guests the chance to earn discounts and upgrades in return for their behavior in the hotel being reviewed. Any guests who have a rating of four stars or higher are rewarded with complimentary food, beverages, stays or upgrades. 

The truth is that many big brands are not Enlightened. If you work for a big brand, perhaps you can encourage your employers to launch a grassroots program to cater to Enlightened staff or encourage consumers to be more Enlightened. If you are an entrepreneur, it might be useful to think about the ways that you can create a more Enlightened brand on behalf of your customers and the planet.

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