Building Brands With Purpose

Written By Fernando Chacon, Executive Director, Banco Itaú-Unibanco, Brazil
Edited By Diogo Koch Alves, Medill IMC Class Of 2015

Published on 10/21/2015


The world has changed and will continue to change at an increasing rate. In addition to being hyper-connected, people now also produce their own content like never before and construct their identity based on what they decide to share on social media. We live in an era where the consumer has unprecedented control over their own choices, is more cognizant of these choices, and takes into account both rational and emotional issues, where identification is the name of the game.

How do we brand-build in this context? For us at Itaú, it’s by including our mission of changing the world for the better at the center of our strategy and doing everything based on that strategy: from ideas about products and banking services to initiatives that come from the various causes we support. This lends to our belief that it’s not only possible, but also necessary, to go beyond our core business.

Here at Itaú, everything we do — as we have done every day for the past 90 years — is done with the goal of improving people’s worlds. We do this when we support our partners, clients, customers and shareholders to create sustainable value from our day-to-day activities. But we also do this when we go above and beyond, such as when we invest in projects related to education, culture, urban mobility and sports — endeavors that increase knowledge and awareness.

For example, one of our ongoing education initiatives, Leia para uma Criança, or Read to a Child, is one in which we distribute more than 40 million children’s books nationally to encourage parents to read to their children under the age of five: the most critical period of a child’s creative and cognitive development.

Our urban mobility initiative is a bike sharing project, where we encourage people living in large cities such as São Paulo to use one of our bikes as their means of transportation — a healthier and more eco-friendly way to travel. So far, this initiative has changed the lives of around
7 million people.

Through these initiatives, Itaú tries to boost the daily lives of its customers. People are looking for powerful, inspiring, and relevant stories. It’s the ability to engage them in something bigger than themselves and represent more than a functional response to a demand that helps brands, even in highly commoditized markets, to build a different, deeper and lasting relationship with their stakeholders.

What matters is not only what you do, but primarily why you do it. [END]


Fernando Chacon. Foto: Marie Hippenmeyer Fernando Chacon is the executive director for Banco Itaú-Unibanco, the largest Brazilian private bank, and a member of the Disclosure and Trading Committee. The bank has successfully designed and implemented an integrated marketing strategy based on the corporate purpose: “changing people’s world for the better.” The strategy includes many innovative campaigns and ventures, including the placing of thousands of bicycles in Brazil’s largest cities.
Use This One Diogo Koch Alves worked for a year as a marketing intern at an events website. He was born in Brazil, but raised all over the world: he’s lived in Brazil, Maryland, South Africa, Japan and New York. Diogo received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and economics from New York University.

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