Back to top

Champion Brands win by engaging all their stakeholders in enduring relationships – unleashing an upward spiral that adds demonstrable value to the company and society simultaneously. Champion Brands understand that in order to build brand champions, they must champion the interests of their stakeholders. Find out which companies are already considered Champion Brands, and learn how becoming a Champion Brand will translate into success across every aspect of your business. Contact us to learn more.

Landscape

The Landscape: A New Era

For more than 25 years, APCO has worked with many of the world's best-known companies and major industry associations. As they've worked to build iconic corporate brands, we've helped these companies navigate significant market changes and evolve into stronger, more engaged brands.

During this time, we have witnessed a fundamental shift in the balance of power between companies and their stakeholders. With the Internet and social media, brands no longer have full control of messages or their reputations; as power has shifted into the hands of their stakeholders.

This evolved landscape enables stakeholders to demand more transparency and expect companies to share responsibility in a world with finite resources, where governments do less and companies are expected to more.

To succeed in this era of increased expectation, great brands manifest their brand strategy in every aspect of their business – including their business strategy, employee policies, physical space and customer service, as well as more deliberate external communication and visual identity. This focus on areas of mutual interest allows these great brands to create more enduring relationships with their stakeholders. Companies that do this well are what APCO calls Champion Brands.

Era of Push Communications

In the beginning, life as a corporate brand was pretty simple. When a corporate brand spoke, the world listened. If a company met expectations, people were satisfied. It was the era of push communications. That's how corporate brands were built.

Era of Push Back

One day, with the arrival of the Internet and social media, corporate brands woke up to find a different world. Suddenly all stakeholders could quickly and easily share their opinions and experiences. The era of push-back communications had begun.

A New Era of Pulling Together

As companies grow larger, with bigger footprints, their greater scale and the effects of social media subject them to even greater stakeholder expectations. Instead of push or push back, the era of pull together has arrived.

High Expectations

Higher Expectations: Stakeholders expect more than ever from companies.

Shift In Power

A Shift in Power: Stakeholders expect companies to share responsibility in a world with finite resources, where governments do less and companies are expected to do more.

The Corporate Veil

The Corporate Veil Has Been Pierced: The Internet and social media closed the door on the old era of push communications. Brands no longer have full control of messages or their reputations as power has shifted into the hands of their stakeholders who demand increasing levels of transparency.

Companies Champ A Companies Champ B

Companies Need to be Champions: To succeed in this era of increased expectations and greater influence of stakeholders, great brands recognize that they first need to be champions for their stakeholders before those stakeholders will champion them.

Stakebroker

The Stakebroker

The rapid changes in technology and growing expectations for companies have empowered a new set of influencers to emerge: the stakebroker.

Identified through APCO's groundbreaking research, stakebrokers are a group of highly engaged individuals who act and think in ways that differentiate them from traditional influencers. We call these influencers "stakebrokers" because they are mediating power and influence between what have been traditionally thought of as "elite" and "mass" audiences. Stakebrokers are fully invested in the success of companies, and connecting with stakebrokers is the surest path to becoming a Champion Brand.

What we found in our data is that two distinct groups emerged in the population. What differentiated these two groups wasn't just the level of engagement: that they seek information, join groups, do things to drive change and believe in the power of companies to shape a better society.

The research shows that they engage with companies from the perspective of, and with the interests of, all of the different stakeholder groups we traditionally think of simultaneously; consumers, community members, environmentalists, policy influencers, employees and investors. In other words, what makes a stakebroker unique is not that they engage, but that they are engaging with companies from the perspective and with the interests of ALL of these traditional audience segments.

Stakebrokers have a uniquely important role with respect to corporate brands. They engage with companies at a completely different level than the rest of the public and are more equipped to influence others. They are fully invested in the success of companies.

The idea of the stakebroker is significant because it suggests that the lines between traditional stakeholder audiences are blurring. The stakebroker is someone who cannot be placed into a single stakeholder category. Moreover, the stakebroker cares about how companies impact everything around them and are most likely to be paying attention to all of the practices, policies and behaviors of companies. This audience cares as much, if not more, about corporate brands as they do the brands of the products and services they buy.

An example would be someone who seeks information about a company's employment and community involvement practices, is a member of a consumer safety organization, environmental group and a labor union, attends shareholder meetings, and writes to elected officials about a company's policies and practices.

Our research suggests that if a company wants to future-proof its brand, these are the people – generationally and geographically – it needs to pay attention to. Stakebrokers are the people who are going to shape the future of your company.

Let's Meet the Stakebroker:

Our research has helped define a general profile and characteristics of the stakebroker as compared to traditional stakeholders. This differs by country, but some common themes emerged globally:

  • Activist
  • Believer
  • Joiner
  • Seeker
Activist Believer Joiner Seeker

Stakebroker Methodology

The stakebroker segmentation model is based on advanced statistical analysis conducted on a survey of more than 78,000 people in 14 countries (Brazil, Mexico, Canada, United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, China/Hong Kong, Japan, India and Australia) and revealed that there is a unique segment of the general public. These people are unique in the way they interact with companies. The k-cluster segmentation analysis of the survey data uncovered that there are TWO distinct groups in the population based on 75 variables. The stakebroker audience is what emerged based on the analysis.

For more than 25 years, Fortune 500 companies have partnered with APCO to leverage their corporate brands and build enduring relationships with their stakeholders that help them succeed in our global, complex and interconnected world. These same companies are now turning to APCO and our proprietary Champion Brand model to help develop engagement strategies with these new, evolved stakebroker audiences.

Four As

Model Attributes

APCO has developed a groundbreaking model that creates a more comprehensive framework for how to think of corporate brand strength in the 21st century.

We know through our decades of stakeholder research that four key elements – Alignment, Authenticity, Attachment and Advocacy – are directly linked to creating enduring stakeholder relationships.

Through our new global Champion Brand survey of approximately 7,500 hyper-influential stakebrokers, APCO has re-validated these four elements and also discovered that there is a hierarchy and an interdependence to them, that taken together, creates the formula for strengthening corporate brand endurance.

As proven through our research, the hierarchy of each of these four critical stakeholder expectations is:

  • Alignment: meeting stakeholders' most important expectations

  • Authenticity: acting in a way that is consistent with what a company says

  • Attachment: the extent to which stakeholders connect emotionally with a company

  • Advocacy: advocating on behalf of stakeholders' interests, applying unique expertise and assets to add value to society

  • Alignment

Alignment

Whole Foods

One of the top marks in the study for Alignment goes to Whole Foods Market. The Whole Foods brand has always been about sustainability and they've built their business model to successfully balance the needs of their employees, customers, communities and shareholders. They aren't just selling lush produce and fine cuts of meat to fill our bellies at Whole Foods, they're selling a brand that speaks to our hearts and soothes our minds.

The foundation of the Champion Brand model, alignment, evolves current thinking on corporate reputation. Alignment focuses on how well companies meet the expectations of their various stakeholder groups.

While Alignment is a necessary first step, it is not sufficient to create strong and enduring relationships. Many corporate and product brands have solid reputations, but reputation alone can't help the brand withstand a truly difficult crisis or companywide challenge. If the adage that it takes years to build a reputation and only minutes to destroy it is true, then there must be more to explain how some brands are more likely to withstand crises.

  • Authenticity

Authenticity

Ford Motor Company

For many, Ford is a trusted family member who has brought us a host of iconic vehicles like the Ford Mustang and the F-150 truck. Ford outperforms other global automobile manufacturers and racks up a particularly strong score on Authenticity. People are familiar with the brand's family heritage, independence and pioneering spirit and believe that those qualities are being authentically reflected in their products and business ethos.

We know from other work, that it's not sufficient to simply meet stakeholder expectations to build a strong reputation, companies must also ensure they are meeting those expectations in a way that is authentic to gain trust. Authenticity is defined as the extent to which the company aligns its activities with its stated business objectives, and its business objectives with its vision and values.

Authenticity is achieved through transparency in both word and deed – say what you mean, mean what you say, and do what you say. The degree to which actions and words are truly reflective of corporate character is critical. Building a positioning on a false premise is doomed to fail. This is how companies become trusted.

Companies with solid reputations who also act authentically to meet their stakeholder expectations ultimately build trust. But trust alone doesn't create enduring brand value.

  • Attachment

Attachment

Walt Disney

For many of us, meeting Mickey Mouse and posing in front of Cinderella's Castle is a cherished rite of passage and a memory for a lifetime. The magic of these experiences created by Disney and its team of cast members helped Disney ascend into the Global Top 10 on the strength of its emotional attachment. Disney's emotional bond is strongest among stakeholders in North America and Europe; and with the expansion of the Disney Channel into more than 150 countries around the globe, the Walt Disney name remains a top performer worldwide. Throughout Disney's evolution into a global entertainment conglomerate, it has remained true to its core brand and continues to inspire Attachment even among the highly informed and socially networked group that makes up the Champion Brand stakebroker.

Most companies understand the need to create an emotional connection between their products and their customers.

Similarly, stakeholders need to feel an attachment to, and have a relationship with, the company. Building a deeper emotional connection is what establishes loyalty and triggers positive behavior. We know from the fields of neuroscience and psychology that it is not enough for companies and organizations to rationally prove and demonstrate that they meet expectations.

Twelve years ago, APCO developed the proprietary Emotional LinkingSM research model, which isolates the emotional dimensions that are critical in creating a stronger bond with stakeholders. Leading companies have used APCO's emotional performance scorecards to understand which emotions drive desired business outcomes and guide creative strategy.

Companies that build stronger emotional connections to their stakeholders can do so because they build these efforts on top of their work around Authenticity and Alignment. APCO's proprietary research proves that Attachment is much harder to achieve if the company is not fully meeting stakeholder expectations and acting in a way that is authentic with who they are and why they are in business.

  • Advocacy

Advocacy

Microsoft

From Windows to Office, Microsoft has been making computing more accessible and our lives easier since the 1980s. Delivering innovative products and providing access to information scores Microsoft high marks on Advocacy and has elevated the tech giant into the top ranks of all global brands. Microsoft's strong performance in Advocacy can be attributed to the transformative effect of the company's products on our day-to-day lives. While competition in the tech world grows fiercer, Microsoft's brand continues to be exceptionally strong around the world.

Stakeholders worldwide increasingly expect companies to contribute to positive social change. Leading corporate leaders now recognize they are an essential part of the societies in which they operate – essential for what they bring to the market, for the economic and social value they bring to the community and for how they can help transform the social and environmental challenges of our time.

Advocacy is the top of the Champion Brand model. Our research shows that Advocacy is the hardest element of the four to achieve. Companies who advocate on behalf of their stakeholders' interests – and that have achieved success through Alignment, Authenticity and Attachment have stronger, more enduring relationships with their stakeholders than their competitors.

When companies become advocates – champions – for the interests of stakeholders and society they become great brands that can endure through the toughest times and become true leaders. Only then, can companies expect stakeholders to become their brand champions.

The data from our global survey proved across multiple analyses that there is a hierarchical structure to the Four As stages, with Alignment at the foundation, followed by Authenticity, then Attachment and Advocacy at the top of the hierarchy. Multiple statistical analyses were conducted, including regression and hierarchical scaling tests. However, the simplest explanation for the hierarchy of the Four As is that on the whole, companies do best on Alignment so it is the lowest threshold to reach. The second highest overall mean score across all companies is with Authenticity, followed by Attachment. On the whole, companies get the lowest scores on Advocacy. Thus, Advocacy is the hardest threshold to reach for most companies.

Our Champion Brand model is a branding blueprint. It creates an actionable roadmap for companies to build their corporate brands.

Philosophy

Philosophy Behind the Model

Orbs

Historically, as executives have considered corporate brand and reputation management strategies and philosophies for their companies, they have looked at the leading models independently from the others, including:

Reputation Management:

Corporate reputation measurement has served as the foundation of corporate thinking for decades. Reputation measures a company's rational alignment with the expectations of its stakeholders. This alignment is essential, and it has driven corporate communications strategies for decades. There has been a great deal of very good work in understanding corporate reputation, such as the Reputation Institute's model and others.

Brand Relationship:

Separately, many companies have looked to traditional models of brand equity (such as BrandZ, the Brand Asset Valuator, Interbrand and others). In addition, APCO spent the last decade helping companies apply the concept of brand relationship to their business strategy. Our Emotional LinkingSM model pinpoints the strengths and weaknesses in a company's emotional connection to its stakeholders. This is a learning that came out of our model of product branding – and now we've proven that it leads to stronger corporate brand value as well.

Authenticity and Trust:

Very good work has been done in looking at the importance of trust and the notion of authenticity. How does a company need to speak and act to be a leader? The Arthur W. Page Society's notion of the Authentic Enterprise holds that companies must be transparent and consistent in both their speech and actions. Edelman has looked at the notion of trust through its Trust Barometer for many years.

Shared Value:

Simultaneous to learning more about the expectations of the new stakebroker, we spent time delving more deeply into the various philosophies and strategies that many companies are starting to adopt – such as the Page Society's Authentic Enterprise and Michael Porter's Shared Value ideas.

While there is merit and relative strengths of each of these, on their own they are not enough. What is really needed is a holistic approach and an actionable model that takes the best of this current thinking and blends it together along with the insights APCO discovered about evolving stakeholder expectations.

Through our Champion Brand model and philosophy, these theories and models have been combined to provide a much more comprehensive understanding of corporate brand strength. While no model can ever claim to be 100 percent certain that it is exhaustive of all variables that prove either criterion or predictive validity, we believe that pulling together the very best thinking is far more comprehensive than any single theory on its own.

The Champion Brand Four As model creates an aspirational platform for the entire organization and is designed to help identify a powerful path forward in building enduring relationships with stakeholders.

Methodology

What makes APCO's Champion Brand Model unique is that we have pulled together the very best theories about corporate brand value. These theories and models, which previously were treated separately, have now been combined to provide a much more comprehensive understanding of corporate brand value. We know that each have volumes of data to prove their importance and predictive validity in driving better business outcomes. While no model can ever claim to be 100 percent certain that it is exhaustive of all variables that prove either criterion or predictive validity, we believe that pulling together the very best thinking is far more comprehensive than any single theory on its own.

Multiple questions were tested either in the Champion Brand Survey pretest, or in previous validation studies (i.e. Emotional Linking for Attachment). Multiple tests of question validity and reliability were applied to isolate the final metrics. Test of structural model fit and discriminant validity were also applied to determine the final metrics that yielded the best model.

The data proved across multiple analyses that there is a hierarchical structure to the Four As stages, with Alignment at the foundation, followed by Authenticity, then Attachment and Advocacy at the top of the hierarchy. Multiple statistical analyses were conducted, including regression and hierarchical scaling tests. However, the simplest explanation for the hierarchy of the Four As is that on the whole, companies do best on Alignment so it is the lowest threshold to reach. The second highest overall mean score across all companies is with Authenticity, followed by Attachment. On the whole, companies get the lowest scores on Advocacy. Thus, Advocacy is the hardest threshold to reach for most companies.

Company Rankings

A New Standard

Being a Champion Brand puts companies in a leadership position and gives them a competitive edge. The bonds they have solidified are capable of growing sales, improving employee loyalty, producing favorable policy outcomes and ultimately a better bottom-line outcome for their business. Some companies excel at particular aspects of engagement, but only those who master Alignment, Authenticity, Attachment or Advocacy are Champion Brands. These Champion Brands recognize that the Four As are the path to success and they continually strive to improve against each of them.

APCO measured nearly 600 of the world's public and private companies on Alignment, Authenticity, Attachment and Advocacy. They are all ranked within their industry based on how close they are to achieving Champion Brand status.

Our survey is different from other surveys in two primary ways:

It is based on a more holistic and comprehensive model that brings together the very best thinking about corporate reputation and brand.

There are countless numbers of ratings and rankings of companies. However, these studies have relied on single theories or models. We believe that corporate reputation is absolutely important, but no longer enough to distinguish the very best companies that stand the test of time and can endure. Similarly, authenticity and trust are important notions, but cannot fully explain the changing relationship between companies and society. Brand relationship theory and the importance of building emotional connections are well-established for product brands, but have been largely overlooked in understanding the corporate brand. And while Shared Value is forward-thinking and plays an important role in how companies are seeking to distinguish themselves, it has yet to be operationalized into a comprehensive approach to understanding and creating corporate brand value. The Champion Brand model not only brings these important models together, it helps uncover the relationship between these theories.

It focuses on gaining insight from the hyper-influential stakebroker group – our newly identified audience that is of growing importance to corporate brands.

Simply put, we believe stakebrokers matter and that the general public has very little engagement with corporate brands. We discovered the stakebroker in the segmentation analysis which showed there was a unique population that was more likely to engage with companies from a broad, 360-degree perspective. We believe the stakebroker has a uniquely important role with respect to corporate brands. They engage with companies at a completely different level than the rest of the public and are more equipped to influence others. Other surveys either focus on the broader general public (e.g. Reputation Institute, Harris Reputation Quotient, Interbrand), or only very discrete audiences that are peers, not influencers (e.g. Fortune Most Admired). Ours focused on gaining insights from this highly influential stakebroker group. No other survey on the market has done this before.

With the help of APCO's model, other companies can learn from Champion Brands and chart their own paths to success.

Top 50 Global

Of the 383 companies that operate globally, the following companies were among the top 50 receiving the highest Champion Brand Index ratings, based on the Champion Brand “Four A” model.

3M Company
Adobe
Amazon
Apple
Bayer
BMW Group
Canon
Caterpillar
Colgate-Palmolive Company
Costco Wholesale Corporation
Deere & Company
Dell
Discovery Communications
Disney
Ford Motor Company
Google
H.J. Heinz Company
The Hershey Company
Home Depot
Honda Motor
HP
HTC Corporation
IKEA Systems
Intel Corporation
International Business Machines (IBM)
Johnson & Johnson
Kellogg
Levi Strauss & Co
LG Electronics
MasterCard
Michelin
Microsoft
Nestlé
NIKE
Panasonic
PepsiCo
Philips Electronics
Procter & Gamble
Samsung
SC Johnson & Son
Sharp Electronics Corporation
Siemens
Sony Corporation
Stanley Black & Decker
The Coca-Cola Company
Toyota
Visa
Volkswagen Group
Whirlpool
Yahoo!

Top 30 Regional

Of the 186 companies that operate only in a few countries (not globally), the following companies were among the top 30 receiving the highest Champion Brand Index ratings, based on the Champion Brand “Four A” model.

Aflac
Agricultural Bank of China
Auchan
Baidu
CBS Broadcasting
Caremark
Darden Concepts
Del Monte Foods
East Japan Railway
Ecopetrol
Edeka
Hartford Financial Services Group
Hero Motors
IndianOil Corporation
J Sainsbury
John Lewis Partnership
Kohl's
Kroger
Lowe's
Petco Animal Supplies
Petrobras-Petróleo Brasil
PetSmart
Publix Super Markets
Redecard
Rite Aid
St. Jude Medical
Target
Tencent
Walgreens
Whole Foods Market

Survey Methodology

The Champion Brand Index is a first-of-its-kind global opinion survey of 78,000 people in 15 countries conducted by APCO Insight®, that measures nearly 600 of the world's public and private companies against four key dimensions that define a Champion Brand: Alignment, Authenticity, Attachment and Advocacy.

The complete survey was conducted between June 4th and September 10th, 2012. A pre-test of the survey instrument was carried out in China and the United States prior to fielding of the full study.

Global Map

The total sample size for the survey is 78,839. Of these, 9,569 stakebrokers were sampled who were included in the second part of the survey that asked questions about specific companies.

Country Total Stake-brokers
United States 13,813 930
Canada 3,320 721
Mexico 1,312 561
Brazil 1,375 611
United Kingdom 5,946 683
France 4,164 529
Germany 3,301 597
Italy 1,660 532
Spain 2,534 722
Russia 2,345 567
China 1,387 773
Hong Kong 2,235 631
India 1,331 579
Japan 29,005 609
Australia 5,111 524

How were the countries that were included chosen?

The countries were selected to ensure adequate representation across major OECD nations across key regions. Together, the countries included in the survey account for nearly 80 percent of global economic output.

Who was surveyed?

The survey was divided into two parts: the first section included general questions about attitudes and engagement behaviors as it relates to companies generally. The second part of the survey asked respondents to answer questions about specific companies. The first part of the survey was asked among a random sample of the general public (all adults 18 years or older) in each country. The second part of the survey was asked among a screened subset of the general public sample we call "stakebrokers." Stakebrokers are highly influential members of the general public who are more likely to engage with companies and corporate brands.

What questions did the survey ask?

The survey questionnaire is divided into two major parts. The first part is asked of all respondents (representing the general public in each country). This section of the questionnaire includes questions about incidence and frequency of information seeking, engagement and other behaviors associated with interactions with companies. It also includes questions about various attitudes related to companies generally, and provided the basis for identifying the stakebroker audience segment and thereby determining eligibility to complete the second part of the survey. The second part of the survey focused on measuring perceptions of individual companies applying the Champion Brand Model. All respondents also answered a series of behavioral, demographic and psychographic questions in order to classify respondents and to facilitate weighting that ensured the data were representative of population characteristics.

What is the "margin of error" for the survey?

The margin of sampling error for questions based on the full sample (both stakebrokers and non-stakebrokers) that describe the larger social trends, such as the percentage of people who agree that global companies have a bigger impact on my life than government, the margin of error is ±.35%

The average confidence level for the Champion Brand Index is ±0.88. This means that if one company has a Champion Brand Index of 65.3 and another company has a Champion Brand Index that is below 64.2 or above 66.2 (CBI ±0.88), we can be confident (at the 95 percent confidence level) that there is a statistically significant difference between the companies' scores. For the "A Scores," the following average margin of sampling error: Alignment: ±0.06; Authenticity: ±0.08; Attachment: ±0.08; Advocacy: ±0.18.

The margin of sampling error for questions based on the full sample (both stakebrokers and non-stakebrokers), that describe the larger social trends, such as the percentage of people who agree that global companies have a bigger impact on my life than government, the margin of error is ±.35%

How was the survey administered?

The survey was administered online to random samples of panelists from a global general public panel. Respondents were sampled using an algorithm to ensure demographic and regional representation within each country. The survey instrument was interactive and engaging.

How long did it take a respondent to complete the survey?

The average respondent took fifteen minutes to complete the survey.

Is the survey representative and how was the data weighted?

The data were also standardized to reflect well-known and systematic cross-cultural variation in the use of response scales. Cultural factors can lead to response biases where respondents in some countries select either extreme or modest answers, or fail to use the entire range of the scale. For instance, respondents in some cultures (especially Latin America) tend to only use the very high-end of a 0-10 scale. Research has shown that this is due to how individuals in certain cultures use and interpret scales, rather than a "true" assessment of the underlying variable. Put more simply, a person in Mexico who gives a favorability score of 8 on a scale of 0-10 most likely does not share the same opinion as someone in the United States who also gives a score of 8. To make the answers between these two hypothetical respondents comparable, we need to take into account different cultural understanding of what an 8 on a scale of 0-10 actually means.

"The principal aim of standardization is a reduction or elimination of unwanted cross-cultural differences that are not due to variables of interest, but rather response sets and methodological artifacts." (Van de Vijver, F., & Leung, K. (1997). Methods and data analysis of comparative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.)

APCO Insight applied a common cross-national standardization technique that adjusts the data based on the grand means and standard deviations of ratings within countries. The standardization of the data allows us to make more realistic comparisons of data between regions and countries, while also ensuring that grading biases do not affect the global ratings of individual companies. This method of adjusting or "centering" the data along means and standard deviations helps to ensure that the answer between our two hypothetical respondents in Mexico and the United States are practically comparable.

How many companies were included?

569

How was the list of companies developed?

Our goal was to include the world's largest companies – both public and private. We started with the Forbes Global 2000 List of the 2,000 largest public companies. The Forbes list was chosen because it takes into account multiple factors to rank the size of the company (sales, profits, assets and market value). We supplemented this list with the Forbes list of the largest private companies. The criteria for selection was as follows, in priority order: 1) The top 250 companies from the Forbes Global 2000 List; 2) The top 30 companies from the Forbes list of largest private companies (which have revenues not less than the top 250 public companies); 3) At least the top 10 companies in each industry. Any companies that operate only regionally within a given country (such as regionally based utility companies) were removed from consideration.

Solutions

The Solution

The Champion Brand model provides an actionable path to building corporate brand strength. APCO has a three-step process to take companies through the 4A model. Companies can enter in at any point in the process depending on their current level of understanding/activity against each of the As.

Circle

At a high level, the three-step process is:

Uncover

We start by using our proprietary research model to provide an external perspective, which helps us understand the expectations stakeholders have for your company. This external research also isolates the brand drivers that will have the greatest impact on both perceptions and business outcomes. We also conduct an internal audit of existing corporate brand or reputation initiatives and we conduct internal interviews to gather existing perceptions on the brand's strength and weaknesses and to identify hidden barriers or opportunities for success. In this phase, we look at the company's strengths and weaknesses against each of the 4As of the Champion Brand model.

Reimagine

We use intelligence gathered during the Uncover phase to help develop a Champion Brand platform for your company. This phase often includes multiple internal meetings and discussions to ensure the platform and action plan is aligned across all relevant internal “departments” and that it is closely aligned with the vision and values of the company moving forward. Engage: After a Champion Brand platform has been developed and approved, we develop a detailed action plan to help execute the strategy both internally and externally. APCO can help implement all or parts of the action plan, as needed, as well. Becoming a Champion Brand isn't a linear process – it is a cycle in which you are constantly listening to and engaging with stakeholders and continually measuring progress so that you are aligned to innovate and deliver value.

Engage

We know and can prove that a stronger reputation leads to better outcomes. Our research over the past 15 years shows that many similar variables that comprise the Champion Brand model are significant predictors of a variety of business outcomes. We know that there is a statistically significant relationship between these variables and customer loyalty, sales, the number of advocates who are willing to speak out on behalf of companies, a greater likelihood to give companies the benefit of the doubt when litigation and crises arise, greater employee retention and engagement, greater support on public policy that benefits a company, and higher shareholder and market value.

But we know that having a strong reputation is no longer enough. We know the difference between good and great companies is advocacy on behalf of their stakeholders.

We believe that your company will have stronger outcomes by being responsive to the new hyper-influential set of stakebrokers. We believe these stakebrokers are the influencers of your company's brand strength into the future.

Understanding their evolving expectations and purposefully developing an action plan to align with them will create a deeper relationship and more enduring corporate brand strength.

About

For 25 years, APCO has worked with many of the world’s best-known companies and major industry associations that have built iconic consumer-facing brands.

About

News & Media

Read the latest coverage of Champion Brand.

The News

Contact

Contact our regional experts.

Call Us

Share

Spread the word!