Consumer culture blog and trends research company PSFK released its first top brands list last week, looking to skip the usual suspects in favor of companies that embody higher standards of social and eco-responsibility.
While the PSFK Good Brands Report does include the often-recognized Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, it also names a handful of lesser-known brands such as car-sharing service Zipcar for reflecting societal shifts away from product ownership and Good magazine for galvanizing an eco-conscious community. The report pulls out business lessons from each of the 10 good brands such as "Stop selling products, start selling services" for Zipcar and "Set the agenda and let your customers spread the conversation" for Good.
PSFK Top 10 Brands
"There are a number of top brand reports that get presented throughout the year that always feature brands that aren't very inspirational and don't seem to be very innovative," says PSFK founder Piers Fawkes. "These reports seem to be several steps behind."
To compile the list, which Mr. Fawkes plans to publish annually, PSFK took brands written about in its trends and innovation blog this year and then asked its Purple List, a global network of trend experts-for-hire, to rank those brands on innovation, environmental consciousness and social collaboration.
"What's interesting is the brands that aren't on this list," he says. "In the big brand reports, there are some soda companies and tech companies that usually appear at the top of those lists, and they didn't even register here."
Mr. Fawkes compares the PSFK to other brand reports, which he believes are based primarily on brand awareness.
"Brands at the top of those popularity contests shouldn't necessarily be looked up to for leadership," he says. "Especially with the issues we're facing today, like the environment and the people around us."