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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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Playing the Big Game: Are We Branding for Sustainability?

When it comes to sustainable brands, we can play the big game or the small game. What I call “Branding of Sustainability” is the small game. It simply means applying old-school brand action, such as advertising and other marketing communications, even leading-edge techniques, to brands that are already sustainable. But “Branding for Sustainability” is the big game. It is about applying new-school brand thinking to the entire world of the brand, starting with discovering and defining brand-specific paths to sustainability itself. Much like its close relative, design thinking, brand thinking starts at the cradle and brings stakeholders and end users to the table, making everyone an insider to a degree, not merely guests at the party at the end.

Listen Up: How One Brand Learned That Greenwashing Is Never an 'Ethical Choice'

Behaviour change starts with listening. Here in New Zealand, a major global brand may have started listening for the first time in recent weeks: Dole have both made a U-turn and reached out to critics in an apparent desire to understand where they went wrong in this market and how they might set things right.

Three Tips for Successful Rebranding

In the early 2000s, revered British clothing brand Burberry was experiencing some hiccups. For decades, the Burberry name had been synonymous with English culture, but as the 20th century moved into the 21st, the company began to overextend itself. Expanding beyond trench coats and umbrellas, Burberry's name and trademark beige tartan plaid were soon plastered on every item of clothing that could support them. Without a clear vision, the name suffered: Even with the rich history behind the line, customers began viewing the clothing in a different light, and before long, Burberry was more closely associated with England’s gangster culture than with tea and crumpets.

The Power of Peer Influence on Consumer Habits

Cross-Posted from Behavior Change. When it comes to motivating behavior change, there’s nothing more powerful than the recommendations of your peers. This applies to everything from musical tastes of teenagers to brand selections among consumers to farmers in India.This power of peer influence is brought home by a study, funded by Microsoft, to determine the most effective ways for transmitting life-saving information about innovative agricultural techniques to farmers in developing communities.

Mars Named Best Private Company in 2013 Responsible Business Awards

Mars, Incorporated has been named “Best Private Company” by the 2013 Ethical Corporation Responsible Business Awards. Ethical Corporation is a UK-based global business publication focused on global ethical business and exploring how large companies are responding to the sustainable business agenda.The Ethical Corporation Responsible Business Awards pay tribute to companies’ commitment to responsible business practices and recognizes global leaders in corporate sustainability, according to the announcement.Other categories included “Best Employee Engagement,” “Best Supplier Engagement” and “Best Sustainability Report,” which were won by Western Union, Natura and The Co-Operative, respectively.

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WindMade Introduces Product Label and Calls on Consumers to 'Show You Care'

The WindMade organization has launched the first global consumer label for products made with wind energy, according to a recent announcement.The WindMade Product Label can be applied to all products using a minimum share of 75 percent of renewable energy in their total electricity consumption, with wind power representing the largest share. The announcement says a cradle-to-gate approach was adopted, which means the label will cover the entire power consumption for all product components, from the extraction of the raw materials all the way to the product leaving the factory gate.

Scope 5 Helping Businesses Find New Insights Into Their Sustainability Data

With the continued, rampant growth of our community come countless opportunities to engage with new, innovative companies and the brains behind them. Today, meet Scope 5 founder Yoram Bernet.

Nickelodeon Refuses to Ban Junk-Food Ads

Children's entertainment network Nickelodeon says it will not give in to public pressure to ban advertisements for junk food despite childhood obesity concerns.The Viacom-owned network has no plans to follow in Walt Disney Co.’s footsteps, which last year said it would ban advertisements for “noncompliant” foods from its child-focused cable channels by 2015."As an entertainment company, Nickelodeon's primary mission is to make the highest quality entertainment content in the world for kids," the company wrote in response to four Democratic US senators' call for the network to change its ways, according to the New York Times. "That is our expertise. We believe strongly that we must leave the science of nutrition to the experts."

Browbeating Is Bad and Charming Isn’t Enough: Sustainability Stories Should Be All About Stakeholders

These days, many conversations about the status of sustainability in business and society seem to fall into two categories. These can be summarized as 1. It’s mainstreaming, and 2. It’s not mainstreaming, or it’s not mainstreaming enough, or as quickly or as deeply as we would like.

Mooncup: How to Market the Unmentionable

Cross-Posted from Behavior Change. In his book The Green Marketing Manifesto, environmental advertising guru John Grant admits that there is one product that he had no idea how to sell. The problem is not product performance. The little disruptive innovation in question is not just greener but more convenient, cost effective and reliable than its more established competitors. The problem is that it goes against prevailing attitudes and, as a durable low-margin product it doesn’t generate a large marketing budget with which to change those attitudes.

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Forget the 'S' Word: How to Make a Sustainable Lifestyle Sexy and Aspirational

This is a call for lots less chatter, twitter and yammer about the earth’s limits and in place of those, a world of new, real and lively conversations around ‘persuasive’ limits.Let me give an example of why: According to the latest data, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere have reached 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human history. The problem, however, is that that very sentence is capable of making otherwise contented people run screaming for the nearest copy of Hello magazine.

Rhode Island Whole Foods' Produce Display Urges Consumers to Help Preserve Pivotal Pollinators

On Friday, a Whole Foods Market in University Heights, Rhode Island found an effective way to illustrate the pivotal role that bees play in our food system by removing all produce items that are dependent on bees and other pollinators, according to the company's website.The store's produce team pulled 237 of 453 products — 52 percent of the department's normal product mix, including:

Marcal Rebrand Lets the World Know That It's Always Been Green

Cross-Posted from Behavior Change. In my speeches on "making green sexy," which I've given in a number of locations in the US and Europe, I talk about different types of message points for three different audiences: deep green, light green/lazy green, and non-green. I discuss the idea that these three groups are motivated differently, and to make real society-wide behavioral change, we need to hit all three. Some of Shelton Group's research has actually influenced my thinking about this.

The Easiest Choice in the World: Using Innovation to Help Every Customer Be More Sustainable

Cross-Posted from Behavior Change. Since its launch in 2010, the Eco Rating scheme that Forum for the Future created with Telefónica UK/O2 has been helping consumers make more sustainable handset choices, whether they like it or not.

Toyota, Ford and Tech Companies Top List of ‘Best Global Green Brands’

For the second year running, Toyota has topped Interbrand’s list of “Best Global Green Brands,” followed by Ford and Honda. Rounding out the rest of the top ten are Panasonic, Nissan, Johnson & Johnson, Volkswagen, Danone, Nokia and Dell. Overall, the technology sector clearly dominated.

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Study: "Meaningful Brands" Outperform Stock Market by 120%

During last week’s SB’13 conference in San Diego, Havas Media unveiled new research that could provide further insight into the minds of consumers. Results released this week from Havas’ latest Meaningful Brands study statistically demonstrate that “meaningful brands” outperform the stock market by 120%. The Meaningful Brands Index (MBI) — Havas’ new metric of brand strength — is considered the first of its kind to connect human well-being with brands at a business level. It demonstrates the relationship correlation between people and brands, and how this can affect the volume of measuring, communicating and delivering increased well-being — on a personal and community level.

Storytelling the Overriding Theme on Final Day of SB '13

There was hardly an empty seat in the house for Jonah Sachs’ “crash course in masterful storytelling.” Attendees learned the history of oral tradition and why humans have used stories to take in and share information for thousands of years. Sachs shared a five-part strategy to telling stories that get shared and let everyone in the room practice telling their own stories using characters and morals that illustrated underlying core values. The session concluded with examples of successful story-based marketing campaigns, brand gifts and an overview on brand archetypes.

SB '13 Day Four Speakers, Debates, Ads and Songs Exemplify Successful Sustainability Communications

Thursday, the morning of the fourth and final day of SB ‘13, continued the week’s momentum and lived up to its “Communications” theme with a variety of rousing speakers and conversations, peppered with examples of clever and successful sustainability messaging from some of our top brands that focus on “selling behavior, not selling stuff.”

Cone Communications Launches Tool to Measure CSR And Social Leadership

Cone Communications has launched a social media and CSR product called the CSR SocialScore, which serves as a real-time snapshot of how a brand uses social media to inform and engage stakeholders.The Boston-based public relations and marketing agency says the product helps companies equally measure their ability to “inform” and “engage” stakeholders:Inform: This portion of the score looks at a company’s online CSR reporting and baseline CSR social media presence. Quantitative data is garnered through a variety of social media monitoring, research and analytics tools.

Why You May See More Latinos Driving Priuses

Toyota is tapping into one of the nation’s fastest growing markets: Latinos — a segment that’s rising in number, purchasing power and influence — and even so, a segment that most sustainable brands seem to be entirely sidestepping.

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