Australia’s 10 best, and not so good, brands for social responsibility

By AdNews | 21 July 2021

Cultural insights and strategy company, The Lab, has listed Australia’s 10 best and worst brands when it comes to corporate social responsibility.

The Forces of Good report examines online discourse around corporate social responsibility (CSR), and lists the highest and lowest performing brands in relation to net positive dialogue, mentions and engagement against what is considered “good”.

The Lab used its artificial intelligence and machine learning division, Lab AI, to test 190 brands analysed across the web on owned and earned channels. More than 6.8 million online mentions were explored, including almost 200,000 mentions relevant to CSR.

The top 10 performing brands in Australia:

2. Reece
3. Bendigo Bank
4. Afterpay
5. Sydney Opera House
6. BlueScope
7. BP
8. Dulux
9. Priceline
10. Grill’d

NRMA is the top force for good in the index due to its handling of the COVID crisis and frontline worker support, as well as having a significant profile in the sustainability space through renewable energy and wildlife conservation efforts.

In Australia, the 2019-20 bushfire season and flooding were major events that pulled people closer together, and brands with an effective response to either fared particularly well.

The Lab co-founder, Paul Labagnara: “Being a force for good is what Australian consumers are craving right now. They want to know which brands care beyond just ‘business as usual’. Our Australia Project 2021 research shows 83% of Australians believe brands need to stand by their values and principles.

“CEOs and marketers should take notice of what the top 10 brands are doing and saying, as they all follow explicit ideals such as know your purpose, follow up talk with actions, be inspiring and not lecturing, and mean something to your consumers."

Eight of the top 10 brands in the index are Australian owned. Six of the bottom 10 are global brands.

"Brands and marketers should note that there is strength in localised content and activity, especially when paired with a greater level of commitment and ability to influence on the ground,” he says.

The key themes for getting it wrong were lack of support for staff and community and failing to have a voice. 

The bottom 10, the not-so-good as judged by consumers:

  1. Visa
  2. JB Hi-Fi
  3. Amazon
  4. MYOB
  5. Subway
  6. Sydney Airport
  7. 7-Eleven
  8. CSL
  9. Vodafone
  10. KFC

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