LONDON -- Some companies build corporate spirit with dinner parties and seasonal gifts -- others, such as Pick 'n Pay in South Africa, do it with AIDS counseling.
"We have over 1,000 AIDS peer educators, who not only work within Pick 'n Pay but also in their communities, along with making anti-retroviral drugs available to our staff," said Sean Summers, chief executive officer Pick 'n Pay, who spoke during a CIES Marketing Forum discussion here about generating growth.
Along with Summers, panelists Willy Van Daele, vice president of wholesale at Belgium's Delhaize Group, and Paulo Goelzer, president of the U.S.-based IGA Coca-Cola Institute, discussed building employee loyalty, sustaining a brand's values in franchise operations and communicating a brand's social responsibility to consumers.
They concluded that to market a company to its employees, consumers and franchisees, there had to be worthwhile values already established.
For Summers, central to this was hiring employees who want to be part of building the business, although he acknowledged that in a highly unionized country such as South Africa, this is a difficult mission to communicate with the labor unions.
Sharing the brand's values also is essential for a company's franchisees, the speakers said. Van Daele and Goelzer noted that a brand's message is best communicated through a combination of training and setting out what the company expects in a contract.
It's important to ensure that consumers will also share this love for the brand, the panelists said.
Summers pointed to the growing importance of accountability among consumers in today's retail climate. "When people look at a company now, they want to know who they're doing business with, and corporate citizenship is a huge issue," he said.