Thought Leadership

Building a Brand That’s More Than the Sum of Its Products

September 22, 2020
Author: Jill Miller
Escalent_Building a Brand That’s More Than the Sum of Its Products

The name Ben & Jerry’s scores huge points for recognition with consumers around the world, but not just because of the brand’s unique, delicious and widely available ice cream flavors. The company has been a notable presence in social activism for more than four decades—with no signs of slowing. Founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were committed to such campaigns from the start, weaving a brand story and identity rooted in their principles with flavors such as “Justice ReMix’d,” “Pecan Resist” and “Save Our Swirled,” which correlated with actions to address hot-button issues authentically and meaningfully.

So, while other brands are beginning to catch up in response to consumers’ concerns for movements such as Black Lives Matter and combatting climate change, Ben & Jerry’s set the tone and built the model long before consumers expected companies to take stands on such issues as they do today.

To understand just how important such initiatives are to consumers in today’s socially conscious society, Escalent developed the Brand Authenticity Index™, a first-of-its-kind offering that provides a data-driven, composite index of what it takes to win over consumers through genuine messaging and action in alignment with intrinsic brand values—like Ben & Jerry’s has done for 40 years.

Measuring something as complex as brand authenticity is challenging. When we began our journey to define brand authenticity and identify who best communicates and lives up to its intrinsic values, we asked consumers to rate 32 household brands from the consumer goods and retail, financial services, technology and telecom industries. Because of the charged nature of social issues, consumers eagerly shared their opinions. What does it mean to “walk the talk” and who is doing it best? How do consumers react to companies that espouse and act on intrinsic brand values? Upon close examination of the brand ratings, the results were clear and presented five dimensions by which to measure brands for authenticity in the eyes of consumers: thoughtful, transparent, reliable, committed and socially aware.

The commonality we found among the top-performing brands on our list was simple, yet profound: They know who they are, and their values are intrinsic to what they do and how they do it. It didn’t matter what product or service they offered—five brands clearly jumped off the page and demonstrated a willingness to bring their values front and center and make them part of the customer experience.

So, who stood out?

To learn more about how the household brands we tested performed, download our white paper, “Brand Authenticity: What It Means, Why It Matters and How to Get There.” The report covers the importance of authenticity to a brand’s identity, how the five dimensions of authenticity were reached and how strategists can turn the intelligence gleaned from consumers into action.

Download Brand Authenticity: What It Means, Why It Matters and How to Get There

Jill Miller
Jill Miller
Vice President, Consumer & Retail

Jill is a former vice president in the Consumer Goods & Retail division of Escalent.