David Blecken
Sep 17, 2013

Brands need to combine higher purpose with 'PR thinking': Lynne Anne Davis

SPIKES ASIA 2013 - In her presentation at Spikes Asia today, Lynne Anne Davis, Asia-Pacific president of FleishmanHillard and PR jury president, said that many of the most successful brands are those that look beyond straightforward CSR and tie their business objectives to social causes that involve consumer participation.

Lynne Anne Davis
Lynne Anne Davis

Davis noted research by Havas that found the majority of people would not care if more than 70 per cent of brands ceased to exist. People today hold brands and companies to higher standards than ever, she said, which in turn places a much greater burden of responsibility on the communications industry.

She said brands need to take note of the facts that people prefer to buy from companies that give something back to society, and that brands that base themselves on a “higher order human benefit” typically enjoy higher growth rates than those that do not.

One of the main examples Davis used to support her point was an initiative by Toyota in Japan for its Aqua ecologically friendly car. The principle aim of the campaign was to sell the vehicle, she said. But in keeping with the vehicle’s ethos, it took the form of an environmental campaign to clean up waterfronts in the country.


Samsung Life Insurance’s ‘Bridge of life’, Gillette’s ‘Soldier for women’ India and Philips’ ‘+’ Project also supported the concept that playing a genuine role in social causes can be good for business, she said.

“All examples work harder and go further for brands, and all are driven by PR thinking; transformative, persuasive thinking. Clearly this is not the sole preserve of PR firms. It is central to a new, integrated world.” Regardless of their scale, she said, “every assignment is deserving of a big idea that changes the world for good”.

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