Secure Your Spot: Early-Bird Savings Until Dec 15 for SB Brand-Led Culture Change!

Marketing and Comms
How the World's Best Companies Demonstrate Their Sense of Purpose

How do you communicate your company's sense of purpose — what you stand for in simple terms — in a way that is authentic, transparent and honest?

Increasingly, the answer for many of the world's biggest companies is to highlight their sustainability work.

Why sustainability? Well, sustainability, after all, is rooted in doing business in a transparent and authentic way. And, in today’s always-on, smarter-than-before society, pledging to be a better company just won’t cut it. You have to demonstrate how your company’s purpose is creating a tangibly better experience.

In 2015, GE and Unilever emerged as joint leaders of the Index. Both companies have multiple products, engagement strategies and awareness campaigns devoted to backing up their sustainability credentials and commitments (even though they don't necessarily use the term ‘sustainability’).

Submit your brand into our 2024 Socio-Cultural Trends Research™!

Unlock customer insights on sustainability & your brand’s unique performance! Submit your brand (or any brand) into the 2024 annual study and receive unparalleled insights on customer perception of that brand’s performance. Benchmark how your customers rate your brand on social and environmental sustainability and overall brand trust, while seeing how your brand compares to others in the study. Space is limited! The deadline to become part of the study is January 15, 2024.

Patagonia, Sainsbury's, H&M, CVS, Microsoft, Aetna, General Mills and Philips all feature in this year's Top 10. The likes of Intel, Pearson, RB, IKEA, AT&T, Procter & Gamble and Danone also are communicating sustainability in ways to be applauded.

As you might imagine, different industry sectors look to play to their own strengths and specific sustainability concerns. Insurance companies tend to focus on health and wellness issues (Aetna’s campaigns around sleep and mindfulness being notable in this space). Banks, meanwhile, are keen to stress financial literacy but tend to play it safe by focusing on community CSR campaigns, epitomised by Barclay’s LifeSkills.

For technology and media companies, stressing the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education is an issue particularly close to home as is encouraging coding for kids. For their part, consumer goods companies such as Unilever, P&G, Kimberly-Clark and RB continue to embrace female and youth self-esteem as an issue to rally around.

All these themes are explored in more detail in The 6th Annual Social Media Sustainability Index.