June 15, 2012 - Sustainability provides a
natural brand link in some categories. Organics are perceived as a
step up in food and body care, high efficiency is an increasingly
easy sell in automotive.
But casinos? It's hard to see how a happy planet could build the
brand of the gambling, entertainment, and nightclub industry.
According to Gwen
Migita, VP of Sustainability and Community Affairs at
Caesars, the times are changing.
I was introduced to Migita through the Sustainable Brands conference, where she spoke
this year. Her message is
that sustainability and conscious
consumption are more than an efficiency measure at Caesars: they
help forge stronger ties with staff and visitors. In essence, they
help strengthen the brand.
CodeGreen is a showcase Caesars
sustainability initiative. Although driven primarily by employees
at a grassroots level, its success has led to it being integrated
at every level of the organization.
As part of CodeGreen,employees focus on implementing a piece of
the company sustainability strategy each month. Powering down
redundant computers, bottling water onsite, recycling soap, even
planting a garden that provides the employee dining rooms with
fresh produce - these ideas were all generated by CodeGreen teams.
And while implementing one piece of the sustainability strategy is
required, many go beyond and activate several each month.
CodeGreen creates a better employee experience - something often
overlooked in the hospitality and casino culture.
It also provides a unique, values-based connection with guests.
One property devoted part of its lobby and bus terminal to the
CodeGreen brand, enabling employees to reach out to guests on more
than a 'service' level. Guest satisfaction and preference rose at
The Importance Of Social Responsibility
CodeGreen's success lies in its grassroots approach. For organizations
that too often appear faceless, a human - and humane - connection
are a breath of fresh air.
The importance of this new focus on people was borne out by
research conducted by Brandlogic, another participant at this year's
The study, rating the sustainability / brand alignment of 100
global corporations was interesting in and of itself.
But a small note at the end of the piece underlined the
importance of putting people first in corporate responsibility. It
stated that the publics involved in the Brandlogic study -
investment professionals, supply chain professionals and graduating
university students - judged companies first by their social
responsibility (50% of the weight), then environmental (25%) and
governance (25%). In simple English, they believed the ability of a
corporation to treat people well was twice as persuasive as its
ability to operate in an environmentally sensitive manner, or be
equitable in the boardroom.
Lay this research over Caesars' CodeGreen, and the importance of
giving corporate responsibility a human face and grassroots focus
becomes crystal clear.
That both employees and visitors want to
connect with a large hotel / casino property on a deeper level
seems both refreshing and obvious. As the Caesars example shows,
enabling this connection pays off.
Caesars also provides a clear case of using sustainability to
enhance the brand's 'halo'. CodeGreen is not the sole reason
employees work for Caesars, nor is it the primary reason people
visit. But it provides a stronger reason to believe in and show
preference for the brand.
If there's a lesson in here for innovators, it would be that
both socially responsible and sustainability-driven initiatives
very much enhance the corporate experience.
Even in Vegas
This story first appeared in Huffington Post June 15, 2012, and is
reprinted here with the kind permission of the
author. Marc Stoiber is a creative director who helps
clients build resilient, futureproof brands. He writes on the
subject for journals like Huffington Post and Fast Company, in
addition to speaking at conferences around the