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© 2009 Patt Cottingham All rights reserved.


“The Coming Cosmopolitan Brands” Brands who chose to market goods and services and serve humanity. W/C 2,000 ©2009 Patt Cottingham. All rights reserved.


Š 2009 Patt Cottingham All rights reserved.

Cosmopolitanism & Branding First, let me define how I am using the term cosmopolitan brands. The origin of the word cosmopolitan is borrowed from the Greek word kosmos or cosmos, meaning world. The word cosmopolitan means, literally, "citizen of the world." Through globalization, brands have extended their products and services into new markets around the world. Yet is profiting from new global markets the end game, or will brands come to value the needs of humanity as important to their bottom line? The next phase will prove deeply rewarding if brands chose to do this. Will they make the choice to be responsible, interconnected world citizens, knowing that the choices they make inevitably effect everyone? Thus becoming worldly cosmopolitan brands that are defined and shaped, not just in the short term for profit margins, but also in a longer more sustainable humanitarian view. In a recent article the New York Times reported that the Pentagon and the State Department are factoring in the effects of climate change and the expected humanitarian response by the United States into their long-term planning documents. Brands would be wise to consider putting together their own long-term cosmopolitan brand plans based on their own humanitarian responses. For an excellent article called Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism, read how Noah Bopp, the director of the School for Ethics and Global Leadership, teaches his students global interconnectedness and brand ethics, by using a Hershey's Kiss. Please visit this link: The article lays out the principles of cosmopolitanism, from many different angles. It is well worth reading and considering for any brand looking to build more sustainable, humane, and dynamic future. The article is by Policy Innovations an online publication of the Carnegie Council Brands like US's Patagonia, Sun Chips, Ethos Water, Newman's Own, Ben & Jerry's, UK's Ethletic Sneaker, Ireland's Edun, France's Sur Le Dos Des Filles, and Korea's Beautiful Store and Natural Dream and a growing number around the world are beginning to move in this direction. These brands are making very conscious choices about their impact on humanity. They are building into their brand DNA a code of ethics that is next generation and humanitarian focused. It is a long-sighted view. The new model of cosmopolitan brand building is not waiting for perfection, but taking deliberate consistent steps weighing the good of humanity along the way. Or, as historian Walter McDougall puts it, "Do not confuse ethics or morality with the quest for purity. Ethics, like politics, is built on the understanding that life is full of impurities and competing claims. Sometimes, the best we can do is find ways to live with irreconcilable differences." It will take influential leaders to guide brand policies, behaviors, and actions as it relates to humanity at large. Leadership that is willing to invest in long-term planning for the good of the brand and humanity it serves. For those brands looking to learn more of how to develop inspired, influential leaders visit the following website


Š 2009 Patt Cottingham All rights reserved.

The biggest challenge to brands and leadership looking to evolve into a cosmopolitan brand, is short-term thinking and behaviors. We live in a world of constant instantaneous communication thus making our attention to long term planning sometimes deficit. Brands may not be able to predict where the world may be headed, simply because everything is changing so fast. However brands can plan a humanitarian code of ethics that will help guide them given any changing reality. You may want to consider hiring a college graduate with a BA or Masters in History, Sociology, or Anthropology. This person can bring a historical context to analyze patterns and trends for your brand based on knowledge of history, societies, and cultures. The added value of a young talent is that they will also be fluent in the digital universe and all that is contained in it like YouTube, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Hulu, iTunes, Rhapsody, Flickr, etc. Why is it important more than ever to build cosmopolitanism into brands? Everyday the world is becoming more interconnected and interdependent. Our economies are dependent on each other as we recently saw with the ripple effect of the United States recession as it impacted markets around the globe. Transparency is opening our eyes to people yearning to have a voice in elections as we saw in Iran, with citizen reporters uploading images and video to social media sites from their cell phones. Brands can no longer assume that their principles, policies, and behaviors will not in some way effect the whole world. In fact brands can benefit by looking for opportunities to demonstrate and communicate that they are "citizens of the world" Lets take the Sun Chips brand for example. They have a very simple product offering chips made of whole grains and all natural ingredients. However the policies, behaviors, and practices, that they created around this very simple product communicates a whole humanitarian approach. Here are just some of the things that they are doing that give them great credibility as a cosmopolitan brand. SunChips celebrated a major milestone by inaugurating a solar concentrator field at Frito-Lay's Modesto, California facility. This is a step in the right direction using solar energy instead of fossil fuel to help make their healthy whole grain snacks. They have committed to having a chip bag made of 100 percent NatureWorks' Ingeo PLA on store shelves by Earth Day 2010. Sun Chips says that this fully compostable bag would be able to decompose in hot, active compost piles or bins within 14 weeks. Sun Chips stepped in to help Greensburg, Kansas rebuild itself to a totally green sustainable town after being leveled by a devastating tornado. It made a $1 million donation toward the solar-powered SunChips Business Incubator that will house 10 local businesses and help rebuild the Greensburg local economy. They have a program called The Green Effect that awards $20,000 to the five best green ideas that their customers come up with. Two-way communications like this are essential for any brand looking to stay relevant with its customers. Sun Chips is a brand that is committed to delivering on products, policies, and programs with a high degree of humanity, ethics, social responsibility, and vision. The choices they are making across all areas of their brand are good for the whole word. They are a solid example of a cosmopolitan brand. 5 Steps To Building A Cosmopolitan Brand


Š 2009 Patt Cottingham All rights reserved.

1. Develop A Humanitarian Leadership Model Example: Rambus, Inc Rambus one of the world's premier technology licensing companies specializing in high-speed memory architectures, announced that it is the recipient of the Pathways Hospice Foundation Frances C. Arrillaga Humanitarian Award for 2009. This marks the first time that the recipient of the Frances C. Arrillaga Award has gone to an organization. "Frances C. Arrillaga was a community leader, humanitarian, philanthropist and dedicated volunteer," stated Carol Lillibridge, vice president of philanthropy at Pathways. "We are proud to recognize Rambus for its philanthropic and humanitarian leadership within the Bay Area. Rambus and the Rambus Foundation are truly an inspiration to others." 2. Design Sustainable Goods and Services Example: Ethletic Sneaker The ETHLETIC sneakers are produced by same company which has been supplying FairDeal Trading with sports balls for years. Ecological, fair, and one-step ahead. ETHLETIC sneakers set benchmarks for both environmental and social standards: The latex for the sole is responsibly harvested as well as Fairly Traded, AND the production takes place in a unit covered by a Fair Trade agreement, ensuring a unique and sustainable footprint. For producers abroad the ETHLETIC sneakers guarantee a better and more just future. Look to see which ways your can review your policies, goods, and services to be more responsible and sustainable cosmopolitan brand. 3. Create A Less Consumption Strategy Example: Patagonia Brand In the words of a Patagonia spokesperson: “In the early days of our base layer business, when we were still selling polypropelene, we packaged it in a plastic bag with a cardboard tag, which cost us 20 cents per unit. Next, we shifted to paper packaging, similar to a mini grocery store bag. Our environmental impact was lower, and the cost came down to 16 cents a unit. Now, with our Capilene line, we just roll up the bare garment and wrap it with a recycled cardboard card and two rubber bands. We call it the "sushi roll."... It's reduced our costs to 6 cents per unit and eliminated tons of waste. As an added advantage, the exposed packaging allows customers to touch the product, which has actually increased sales. Retailers thought it was going to be terrible: they told us time and time again that consumers would hate the sushi roll. But again, when you do the right thing, success follows." This is so true people generally respond very well to brands that are doing the right thing. People respond to goodness. 4. Educate Your Customers Example: Ben & Jerry's Customer education comes through the many grants provided by The Ben & Jerry's Foundation. The educational grants address the underlying conditions of societal and environmental problems in the US. Grants were given to grass roots organizations covering a wide range of issues: respect for in indigenous people, health of rivers, reforming public schools, violence intervention, risks of nuclear and toxic waste,


Š 2009 Patt Cottingham All rights reserved.

preserving family farms and rural communities, humane civilized response to substance abuse, global ecological crises, and root causes of homelessness are just some of the grants listed. The Foundation will only consider proposals from grassroots, constituent-led organizations that are organizing for systemic social change. Branding educational materials for your customers on the environmental, social, and global issues as well as giving them concrete specific things that they can do to help is a really good policy for cosmopolitan brand development. 5. Craft A Strong Communication Platform Example: Starbucks Starbucks has always communicated their social activism. Early supporters of Fair Trade coffee, environmental initiatives, 45 million Americans that have no health insurance, the problem of clean drinking water for children around the world. And, most recently in partnership with CAMPAIGN RED to help fight aids in Africa. Every Starbucks store has communication pamphlets that continue their communication to their customers as well as large ongoing full space newspaper ads. Some of their communication has come these websites: Cosmopolitan brands can learn a lot about how to communicate from Starbucks. They really do look at their business as connected to the whole world. They consistently have demonstrated a humanitarian approach to their employees, their customers, the people and countries where they harvest and buy their coffee. Everything they do communicates their brand‌, which leads me to my communication manta: "Every thing communicates and communication is everything" Cosmopolitan brands can and should step up and take a powerful, lead role in helping people navigate all the changes that certainly will be part of the 21st Century. They can develop influential leaders that create a humanitarian work culture with a code of ethics that brings good results to the business and the bottom line. They can design innovative behaviors, products, and services that are sustainable. They can create strategies that consume less energy and waste. They can educate people to the "one world", interconnected principles of cosmopolitanism. They can craft a really good communication platform, unique to their brand, that keeps the dialogue open to all who wish to contribute to the growth of the brand. Given the urgency of global warming, issues of poverty, human rights, and confluence of other factors facing our global human society, planning only in the short term is rapidly becoming yesterday's model. The next phase will be if brands chose to do this. Will they make the choice to be responsible, interconnected world citizens, knowing that the choices they make inevitably effect everyone?


Š 2009 Patt Cottingham All rights reserved.

Patt Cottingham is a brand communication strategist living in the US 001-201-612-5533