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The Ammonista Report - Fall 2014

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IN THIS ISSUE

FEATURE STORY
DEAR AMMY
WHAT'S NEW
BUSINESS
LIFE
DESIGN

A powerful question for brands to answer in 2015: what are you prepared to sacrifice to gain meaning and loyalty?

 

The Art of Sacrifice

The hardest word to say in business, especially sales, is ‘NO’.

In a world of ‘we can do it’, who’s asking the critical questions of whether we ‘should’? Or if the increased sales and delivery distracts our resources away from our core purpose? Truth is, brands can’t be all things to all people – and those that try to be basically stand for nothing.

Additionally, consumers are increasingly looking to brands to make the world a better place – and are putting more responsibility on businesses to act on collective social values.

And who’s to blame them? Given decades of unethical practices, profit-at-all-cost operations, questionable marketing strategies and corporate ‘spin’, many brands have worked extremely hard to create many of the behaviors and lifestyle choices that well-meaning consumers are now finding so hard to change. And our latest cause-driven marketing strategies to repair our corporate reputations? Most are seen as marketing ploys that continue to fuel endless consumer skepticism.

  In a global survey of 30,000 consumers, 72% of people said that business is failing to take care of the planet and society as a whole.    Accenture & Havas Meda, June 2014

In a global survey of 30,000 consumers, 72% of people said that business is failing to take care of the planet and society as a whole.

Accenture & Havas Meda, June 2014

The only meaningful path left for brands is to stop talking and act.

One powerful form of companies ‘putting their money where their mouth is’ – is for brands to make visible, meaningful and constructive SACRIFICES: of products, processes, attention and opportunities.

And because marketing today is about creating tribes (less about features and benefits and more about how you identify or engage with a brand) consumers are looking to their ‘brands’ to allow continued indulgence without guilt over negative impacts on SELF, SOCIETY or the PLANET. We’re socially wired this way – who we align with says something about who we are ourselves. Brands that stand for something provide their customers with more aspirational value than brands that don’t. That simple.

Sacrificing for Self, Society and the Planet

See how these brands and businesses are SACRIFICING to reduce negative impacts on consumer well-being, our environment and society at large.

  CVS: US drugstore chain stops selling tobacco products   As of September 2014, US drugstore chain  CVS  pulled cigarettes and tobacco-related products from all its stores. Predicting that the decision will cost around $2 billion in annual revenue, the chain states that stocking tobacco products is in conflict with its role as a health care company. The company also launched the quit smoking campaign  #OneGoodReason  on social media, and rebranded its corporate entity as CVS Health.  

CVS: US drugstore chain stops selling tobacco products

As of September 2014, US drugstore chain CVS pulled cigarettes and tobacco-related products from all its stores. Predicting that the decision will cost around $2 billion in annual revenue, the chain states that stocking tobacco products is in conflict with its role as a health care company. The company also launched the quit smoking campaign #OneGoodReason on social media, and rebranded its corporate entity as CVS Health.  

  H&M, Gap, TopShop & more: Fashion retailers stop selling angora wool products   Following allegations that suppliers in China were mistreating rabbits during the production of angora wool in November 2013, multiple  global fashion retailers  have removed angora products from stock and suspended sourcing. More than 30 brands, including H&M, Forever 21 and Topshop (who received a petition with more than 100,000 signatures), committed to removing angora products, with ASOS, Mango and John Lewis implementing permanent bans in the UK. Other retailers, including Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, committed to global bans. The original video footage was released by animal-rights organization PETA and was widely circulated on social media.

H&M, Gap, TopShop & more: Fashion retailers stop selling angora wool products

Following allegations that suppliers in China were mistreating rabbits during the production of angora wool in November 2013, multiple global fashion retailers have removed angora products from stock and suspended sourcing. More than 30 brands, including H&M, Forever 21 and Topshop (who received a petition with more than 100,000 signatures), committed to removing angora products, with ASOS, Mango and John Lewis implementing permanent bans in the UK. Other retailers, including Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, committed to global bans. The original video footage was released by animal-rights organization PETA and was widely circulated on social media.

  Apple: CEO claims that consumer privacy is protected because company profits from device sales rather than advertising   Following public controversy over purported customer data security breaches, in September 2014 Tim Cook, Apple's CEO published an  open letter  to customers outlining the company's commitment to privacy. In the letter he stated: “Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t 'monetize' the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you." The letter was widely interpreted to be a challenge to competitor Google, which derives much of its revenue from advertising based on consumer data.

Apple: CEO claims that consumer privacy is protected because company profits from device sales rather than advertising

Following public controversy over purported customer data security breaches, in September 2014 Tim Cook, Apple's CEO published an open letter to customers outlining the company's commitment to privacy. In the letter he stated: “Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t 'monetize' the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you." The letter was widely interpreted to be a challenge to competitor Google, which derives much of its revenue from advertising based on consumer data.

  Tesco: stops selling candy   In May 2014,  Tesco  announced that it would remove candy from its checkouts by the end of December 2014. The policy will apply to all of its stores, and aims to help customers choose more healthy options. The UK supermarket's research showed that 65% of shoppers felt that moving candy to elsewhere with the store would encourage them to be more healthy.

Tesco: stops selling candy

In May 2014, Tesco announced that it would remove candy from its checkouts by the end of December 2014. The policy will apply to all of its stores, and aims to help customers choose more healthy options. The UK supermarket's research showed that 65% of shoppers felt that moving candy to elsewhere with the store would encourage them to be more healthy.

  Intel: Chip maker stops using minerals from conflict zones   In January 2014, multinational technology firm  Intel  stopped using materials from conflict zones to build its microprocessors. Minerals such as gold and tungsten are often mined in countries affected by armed struggles and human rights violations, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo. Intel has urged others in the technology industry to follow its lead by sourcing materials from conflict-free locations.

Intel: Chip maker stops using minerals from conflict zones

In January 2014, multinational technology firm Intel stopped using materials from conflict zones to build its microprocessors. Minerals such as gold and tungsten are often mined in countries affected by armed struggles and human rights violations, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo. Intel has urged others in the technology industry to follow its lead by sourcing materials from conflict-free locations.

  Tesla: open source technology   In June 2014,  Tesla  announced that it would no longer initiate patent lawsuits against anyone using their technology in good faith. The company stated that given the incredibly small size of the electric car market relative to the total automotive market, and the urgency of the carbon crisis, there would be an overall benefit to humanity in making their technology available (even to potential competitors).

Tesla: open source technology

In June 2014, Tesla announced that it would no longer initiate patent lawsuits against anyone using their technology in good faith. The company stated that given the incredibly small size of the electric car market relative to the total automotive market, and the urgency of the carbon crisis, there would be an overall benefit to humanity in making their technology available (even to potential competitors).

  Subway: Sandwich chain removes potentially harmful chemical from its bread in the US   In February 2014,  Subway  announced that it would remove the chemical azodicarbonamide from its bread products in the US, after a consumer petition raised over 60,000 signatures in a week. The chemical – which lengthens the shelf life of bread – is approved by the USDA and FDA, however is not allowed to be used in food products in Europe or Australia. Advocacy groups claimed that the chemical converted into carcinogens when baked.

Subway: Sandwich chain removes potentially harmful chemical from its bread in the US

In February 2014, Subway announced that it would remove the chemical azodicarbonamide from its bread products in the US, after a consumer petition raised over 60,000 signatures in a week. The chemical – which lengthens the shelf life of bread – is approved by the USDA and FDA, however is not allowed to be used in food products in Europe or Australia. Advocacy groups claimed that the chemical converted into carcinogens when baked.

  Guinness: Drinks brand pulls out of NY's St. Patrick's Day parade over LGBT participation exclusion   In March 2014, Irish brewer  Guinness  announced it would not participate in New York City’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade because gay and lesbian groups were prohibited from carrying gay-friendly or LGBT identifying signs. The brand, one of the event’s biggest sponsors, withdrew support the day before the event after negotiations to reverse the exclusion policy failed. In September 2014, event organizers announced that an LGBT group would be allowed to march under their own banner in the 2015 parade.

Guinness: Drinks brand pulls out of NY's St. Patrick's Day parade over LGBT participation exclusion

In March 2014, Irish brewer Guinness announced it would not participate in New York City’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade because gay and lesbian groups were prohibited from carrying gay-friendly or LGBT identifying signs. The brand, one of the event’s biggest sponsors, withdrew support the day before the event after negotiations to reverse the exclusion policy failed. In September 2014, event organizers announced that an LGBT group would be allowed to march under their own banner in the 2015 parade.


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