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Marketing and Comms

How brands are evolving in the area of sustainability marketing and communications — and how their stakeholders are asserting their own needs and preferences.

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'The 2 Cows' Letting Customers Know Exactly What They're Eating

With its "Know what you eat" website, French organic yogurt brand The 2 Cows (Stonyfield France) is demonstrating commendable transparency regarding the composition of its products and traceability of its ingredients. It also presents its continuous improvement on the different sectors as well as challenges still to be addressed in the coming years.Certainly, The 2 Cows has many strengths:

Long John Silver's Sustainable Fish Campaign Not a Fish Tale After All

As part of a recent brand relaunch, Long John Silver's (LJS) — the largest seafood restaurant chain in the US — is on a mission to get more US consumers to "Think Fish."

First Lady Proposes Canning Junk Food Marketing in Schools, Unveils Updated Nutrition Labels

It’s been a busy week for Michelle Obama, as the First Lady unveiled proposals that would change the way we learn about food — both bold moves that would involve sweeping changes that would prove “a big deal” if implemented.

Great Brands Never Have to 'Give Back'

A recent headline, “JCPenney Releases 2013 Sustainability Report,” reads like the punch line to a bad joke. Apparently the struggling department store company, which is closing 33 underperforming stores and incurred a net loss of nearly $500 million in its last reported quarter, felt it was important to promote a report detailing its sustainability activities. What JCPenney probably intended as a reassuring message about the company came off more like an effort to distract people from the realities of its fundamental business problems.

How Brands Can Get Under Our Skin

There’s a house on Long Island that can keep you young. At least, that’s what the architects claim – and it’s no small matter in an aging world. If I asked you what you’d look for in your ideal home, you might reply ‘a space to unwind’ or ‘a little love and laughter.’ I’d be surprised if you came back with ‘rejuvenation’: a word used to sell face cream, not housing.But perhaps we don’t give enough thought to the way in which our minds and bodies are constantly responding to the world around us. What an opportunity for brands! We may not know we want houses that keep us young, but it would make a great selling point in an estate agent’s window.

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Airbnb Building Brand Value by Creating Authentic Connections with — and Between — Users

This post is part of a series written by MBA and MPA candidates in Presidio Graduate School’s Managerial Marketing course, examining the role of marketing in advancing sustainability across all sectors.

Long John Silver's Touting Its Fish as Sustainable Dining Option; Will Its Claims Hold Water?

As part of a massive brand relaunch, seafood quick-service restaurant chain Long John Silver's (LJS) is on a mission to get more US consumers to "Think Fish."The new campaign promotes seafood as a dining option that’s healthy for people and for the world at large: Two new TV spots point out advantages of fish over meats such as beef and pork, while a third, called "Final frontier," shows cows confined on a farm while a narrator asks, "Anyone ever heard of free range? Get your next meal from the real frontier — fish sustainably harvested from the wildest place on earth."

BBVA, AT&T, GE, Unilever Among Brands Best at Making Sustainability Viral in 2013

Is 2014 the year that sustainability marketing and communication become a big deal for companies? That’s certainly the impression you could draw judging by Unilever’s recent launch of its Project Sunlight campaign, not to mention Chipotle’s "Scarecrow" film and interactive game along with IKEA’s new sustainability awareness-raising "Wonderful Everyday" campaign.

What Do Marketers Need to Know About the Updated FTC Green Guides?

“Green marketing” expert Jacquie Ottman is the co-author (with David Mallen) of a report published in September through Ad Age called, How To Make Credible Green Marketing Claims: What Marketers Need to Know About the Updated FTC Green Guides. We spoke with her recently about the report and the challenges and continued evolution of making sustainability claims in marketing.What prompted you to put together your 'Guide to the Green Guides'?

4,000 Endangered Species Condoms Headed to Most Romantic US Cities for Valentine's Day

The Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit conservation organization based in the US, will take full advantage of the love in the air this Valentine’s Day by disseminating 4,000 free Endangered Species Condoms to eight of the most romantic getaway cities in North America. From Bar Harbor, Maine, to Santa Fe, N.M., the condoms will be given away by volunteers to playfully raise awareness about how runaway human population growth is affecting endangered species around the globe.

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IKEA Selling Sustainable Consumption in New 'Wonderful Everyday' Campaign

IKEA is launching a new marketing campaign in the UK this weekend called “The Wonderful Everyday,” which will explain the brand’s values and sustainability ethos to consumers, according to Marketing Week.The first ads, which launch tomorrow (February 8), mark the Swedish retailer’s first sustainability-focused campaign. Created by Mother, the UK’s largest independent ad agency, the first TV and radio spots will focus on touting energy-saving LEDs as an alternative to incandescent lightbulbs, which IKEA has committed to phasing out by 2016.

Calling All Sustainable Businesses: 2degrees Champions Awards 2014 Now Open for Entries

2degrees is calling for organisations with inspiring examples of sustainable practice to shout about their success stories by entering this year’s Champions Awards.The only sustainable business awards voted entirely by industry peers, the 2degrees Champions Awards are the ultimate recognition for individuals and companies using innovation to push the boundaries of sustainable business.Last year’s winners included a range of start-ups, SMEs and FTSE-listed businesses including Unilever, The Co-operative Group, Sky, O2 and SC Johnson.

Review: Creating Value People to People: Another Way to Craft Brands and Do Business

Authors Christophe Fauconnier & Benoit Beaufils, respectively CEO & founding partner of the consultancy Innate Motion, share their vision and the tools they use to develop purposeful brands in their latest book, Creating Value People to People.

Storytelling and Data: Using Two Sides of the Brain Is Better Than One

In nine earlier parts of this series, we discussed 19 pitfalls in the sustainable business metrics field. (Find the first 7 articles here and the last two here.)

Chevron, Southwest Gas Fined Nearly $1M After Failing to Report GHG Emissions

Chevron and Southwest Gas have been fined close to $1 million for late or inaccurate reporting of their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for 2011. This action marks the second time the Air Resources Board (ARB) has issued fines for violations of California’s Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting regulation.Chevron USA will pay $364,500 for reporting incorrect information regarding operations at its El Segundo Refinery. In this case the data remained uncorrected for 243 days, according to ARB.In a separate matter, Chevron North America Exploration & Production Company of Houston, TX has agreed to pay $328,500 for late reporting of GHGs emissions from its San Joaquin Valley oil fields. That data was late or incorrect for 219 days.

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How Can You Transform a Toxic Brand Into One That Is Loved More Than Before?

It was a Sunday of June 1999. I was strolling in a forest of Luxembourg with my children. When the phone rang, I saw a number from the office and fumbled. One my colleagues talked about a small crisis, and asked if I could get to the Coca-Cola office for a talk. I was over two hours away from Brussels. I assumed the “crisis” to be the petty worry of an overanxious manager, and considered myself lucky to have an escape.

Businesses Cannot Be Successful If the Society Around Them Fails

Once upon a time, the ‘S’ word — sustainability — was about as relevant to business as a fork in a sugar bowl. At best, a box to be ticked; at worst, seen as a serious impediment to the pursuit of profit.But the world is changing. Look at the business news and you’ll see the global heads of big businesses uttering that ‘S’ word with increasing frequency.

Chipotle's New Comedy Series Spoofs the Evils of Industrial Ag

This week, Chipotle announced the upcoming premiere of “Farmed and Dangerous,” a new original comedy series that satirically explores the world of industrial agriculture in America. Produced by Chipotle and Piro, a New York-based studio known for its unique work in film and television, the initial four-episode season will air Monday nights on Hulu and Hulu Plus beginning Monday, Feb. 17, 2014. The comedy integrates Chipotle’s values and commitment to serving “Food with Integrity” without any explicit Chipotle branding.

FTC Says Diaper Claims Didn't Pass the Smell Test

What do dirty diapers and deceptive ads have in common? (We’ll pause a moment so you can add your own punch line.) Now that’s out of the way, the action against Portland-based Down to Earth Designs — consumers know them as gDiapers — is the FTC's latest effort to ensure the accuracy of environmental marketing claims. But even if green isn't your game, the case also offers insights into what the FTC calls "unqualified claims."

Messaging Sustainability: From Boring to Cool

There, we said it. Sustainability, that thing we all want — that we speak about ad nauseum — it’s dusty, dull, boring. What seems fundamental to the human spirit is that we all seek advancement, progress and growth. We went from the Ice Age to the Stone Age to the Space Age and changed our world drastically along the way. Don't Be Preachy Today, technology and the web have increased connection and made communication easier and faster. We might be addicted to it, but technology is almost always perceived as progress. Progress is action; it is exciting. While we may have moments of nostalgia for the past, we all almost universally want to sign up to the great wild unknown of the future.

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