What is the most important issue facing business today? Globalization, the technological revolution, supply chain management, core competencies, staff retention, price competition? Important though all of these are, something else is emerging as an equally critical challenge facing companies in the technological, globalized, knowledge economy ahead. It is the concept of Citizen Brands. Its importance arises because it embodies not just one, but three crucial strategic issues for the business world: aeo Values (what the company stands for); aeo Corporate citizenship (playing an active role in society); aeo Branding (the tangible and intangible attributes that are encompassed in a name or trademark). This book is about how these three elements come together in an integrated way; about how they define a companya s relationship with all the relevant people and institutions it has to deal with -- customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, government or whoever. Put another way, it is about achieving corporate success through putting society at the heart of the company.
Companies through their direct actions (for example employment) and through their intermediaries -- brands -- are an integral part of the social and economic world in which they operate, needing to reflect the values and aspirations that exist; the differences and similarities. This is why corporate managers need to bring society into the company; why they need to turn their brands into citizen brands. In the emerging networked, post--industrial world, managing that relationship is one of the most important challenges that companies face. And companies that understand and embrace this are likely to be the ultimate winners in the future.