Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) values are smart pathways for successful contemporary businesses. They are NOT, in my opinion, values belonging in a brand strategy. Not as such. Perhaps tangentially, as in a brand value may give you credit for being an environmentally friendly company, but not explicitly. Being ESG focused is the price of entry today. In brand work you want your values to be more endemic. Built on customer care-abouts and brand good-ats. Not values universal to other companies. So, as “fresh ingredients” are important to a Thai restaurant, they are also important to a French restaurant. Not a good brand value. And, the fact that they hire LGBT+ people, though important and critical to the culture and even food, it’s better to dig more deeply into the food and people for values. There is always something there – something unique to your brand.
So to recap, ESG good for business, not brand building. Not today. Being different is the key to branding. Being the same is the key to manufacturing.