Photo: innocent drinks
It's a tale of two cities, well, countries. The annual list of the ten most influential brands in the UK and the US is out and the differences between the two countries are pretty interesting when it comes to the ethical companies on the list.
In the UK there are 4 ethical brands on the list compared to one in the US. The experts say that this is a reflection of the increasing importance to consumers of "ethics, responsibility and quality in spite of tough economic times."
The TLG Thought Leadership Outlook canvasses 1,000 people in the media, politics and business for their views of the best businesses. According to the Observer, "Consumers are looking for a little more than just the lowest price. They're looking for brands that do something, rather than just say something all the time - and those that are able to identify with that are going to be influential."
So who do we love? In the UK and the US, Apple is first and Google is second for the fourth year in a row. Amazon is 4th in both countries, Facebook fifth, and Microsoft 6th.
In the UK, John Lewis, the esteemed department store is third. They are run on a co-operative basis with employees sharing in the profits. Many customers are aware of this unique shared ownership and profit scheme and shop there for that reason. Many shop there because it is such a good store; with great service and almost anything one could need in one place.
Innocent, the organic fruit smoothie drink, founded by three friends is seventh. Although it sold out to Coca Cola this year, it doesn't seem to have affected the brand's image as worthwhile and ethical. It knocked Marks & Spencer off the list; a shock to a store that has prided itself on its "There is no Plan B" ethical image. BP is off the list this year, wonder why. So is Virgin.
The 8th and 9th places are taken by the Co-op Group and the Co-op Bank; both organizations that are run cooperatively by their members. The Bank, which grew out of the co-operative movement in the U.K., has a strict ethical policy that outlines areas in which they will not invest their customers' money.
In the US, the tech companies rate highly, with Microsoft at 6, Intel at 7, RIM at 8. But Whole Foods came in at tenth place.