Pass the sustainability baton and rebrand it 'sexy'

It is officially time to pass on, or at the least share with marketing, the baton of sustainability. It is also time to re-brand that baton.

Reducing complex science to simple science in attempts to mobilise mainstream behaviour change has failed to deliver and many brands have the battle scars to prove it. Some 18% are "deep greens" and everyone else is …normal.

How motivated are you by the vision of an apocalyptic future? If your supper has a carbon, or indeed any other label on it, does that encourage you to change your choice? Are you inspired by the idea of shopping less? The traditional language of sustainability is often confusing, fear-based, paralysing and polarising.

Many of the committed sustainability fraternity are working tirelessly in the hopes of somehow changing consumer behaviours. They want to "communicate sustainability" but therein lies the rub. It is the wrong end of the telescope. What "they" want to communicate is not what compels the average Joe on the street. What compels Joe is, well, what compels Joe.

Consumers speak, hear and respond to the languages of love, desire, status and sexy. Brand insights have tapped into these irrefutable human truths and impulses and have delivered monumental behaviour and attitude change, as well as considerable brand and financial value. So, grab or share that baton.

Consumers speak, hear and respond to the languages of love, desire, status and sexy.

Sustainability needs a new language. Branding and marketing experts speak this tongue. We need to work together then to show that a sustainable society can be one where people enjoy high well-being and a rich culture, where we can all reach our potential and have an incredible time along the way.

We need new and compelling consumer aspirations - ones that can be achieved within environmental limits, of course. That means we need to create consumer demand that supports businesses and brands in embracing, shaping and delivering different future.

The "UK Dream" is a not-for-profit convening a great big positive rethink all aspects of the UK lifestyle: style and culture, body mind and spirit, and living infrastructure. What might be the new "normal for Norman and Norma in 2025" and how can we get there? Sustainable living – not for a few greenies, but for the whole of the UK.

Corporate brands are signing up to co-create the UK, China and India Dreams. M&S, Unilever, Mars and Rapanui were among the founder attendees at the first UK Dream workshop. Alongside these brands are journalists, politicians, comedians, musicians, priests, writers, policy makers, charities and NGOs. The programme offers brands insights and access within China and India. Compelling markets and big brand opportunities.

The opportunity to frame a future that is sexy (and yes, of course, sustainable) is right here. Future proofing your brands for social, environmental and economic sustainability is good business pure and simple. Get in touch if you want to be part of the dream(s) – we’d love to hear from you.

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Brands that forge an emotional tie are best protected from copycats
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1 Brands that forge an emotional tie are best protected from copycats

Forging an emotional tie with consumers is one of the strongest ways to protect your brand. Products can be copycatted, but the distinctive identity of a true brand can never be replicated argues Nir Wegrzyn, CEO of BrandOpus.

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