I have recently been writing about a number of the many excellent presentations from Sustainable Brands Bangkok. It was an extremely special event for Maria and I to attend and also speak at, an event has been captured in this summary video from the SB Bangkok team:
I’ve written about the theme of activating purpose from the perspective of Buddhism, purpose in communication and advertising, what we actually mean by purpose, as well as writing about our own presentation in which we introduced our new framework Customer Experiences with Soul. Maria has also written an article asking the question ‘Can Happiness Be A Business Purpose?‘
In our presentation we talked about BrewDog co-founder James Watt’s notion that Internal now equals External and we also explained The Trinity of Authenticity, a key concept for sustainable brands which lies at the very centre of The Holonomic Circle, our new tool we created which has been designed to help organisations develop customer experiences with soul.
We define authenticity as the maximum coherence between what a person says, what they mean, and what they do. The Trinity equally applies to any group, team, organisation, business, ecosystem. This may seem obvious but it is not.
So as we said in our talk, customer expectations are changing rapidly, and with everyone can interact with a business 24/7. The result is now a world where the distinction between internal and external is no longer valid. People are looking for more alignment, more engagement, more connectivity, more honesty and more transparency. This means that you, and everyone in your business, need to live your brand.
As someone once said, culture is defined as what happens when a business thinks that no one is looking. The problem is that nowadays someone is always looking. You have to live the values and the mission, internally and externally, and then let the customer decide what your brand is about. Only by being consistent, engaging, open, honest and coherent can you start to build a brand in the twenty-first century.
At the core of the circle is what I term The Trinity, which is where authenticity is defined as the maximum coherence between what a person says, what they mean, and what they do. The Trinity equally applies to any group, team, organisation, business, ecosystem. This may seem obvious but it is not.
It was therefore wonderful to watch the final session at Sustainable Brands Bangkok, hosted by Adachi Naoki founder and CEO of Response Ability, which looked at a number of Japanese brands. The three speakers presenting were Hideyuki Kanemitsu, Vice President of the Corporate Environmental Strategy Unit of Fujitsu Limited, Hideyuki Okamoto, Vice President of the four hundred year old Thai Takenaka International, and Janet Neo, head of corporate sustainability at Fuji Xerox Asia Pacific.
All three presentations were extremely interesting, and you can watch this session here:
Janet’s main focus is on leading the acceleration of sustainability integration into the core business of Fuji Xerox, and she is helping the business to build a culture of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the region.
Janet began her talk by talking about the way in which the Fuji Xerox brand has been evolving every day for the last fifty years. Their new corporate identity symbolises their dynamic, their spirit, their openness to connect and their passion to innovate for the future. It also “stands for to be genuine and to be authentic”. It is the promise they make to society, to the planet and to the countries they operate in. In her words, “the brand is the promise we make in everything we do and everything we say”.
Fuji Xerox deliver this promise through their notion of “meaningful connections in their value chain” and this again really resonates with our own definition of sustainability being “the quality of our relationships”. Not only this but Xerox Fuji are working in local communities to “give back to support future generations”, for example by supporting educational initiatives.
I really like Janet’s articulation of what ‘brand’ means to Fuji Xerox, and how they link what they say with what they do. Given how businesses internal cultures and business practices are being exposed in a way in which we have never seen before, such as the scandal relating to how Uber treat women who have experienced harassment, the need for maximum coherence is needed like never before.