I wrote recently about branding for sustainability, rather than the branding of sustainability. The main point is that branding is no longer merely about communication techniques that get tacked on to a business. Instead, branding shapes the entire landscape of engagement, experience and affinity between a company or other entity and its customers and other stakeholders or audiences. So it’s time for a manifesto.
Stori's Ten-Point Branding for Sustainability Manifesto:
- Sustainability or shared value must be a business driver, not a cost center.
- A brand without stakeholder-specific values embedded into it is a brand that reduces crucial equity and replaces it with needless risk.
- Brands are bundles of meaning that drive authentic shared stories, no longer constructed personas that separate businesses from customers and other stakeholders.
- Brand values must be discovered in the experience and perspectives of brand stakeholders, including customers, employees, partners and more — not imposed by experts.
- Sustainability and shared value are strategic, not tactical.
- Every brand can and must have its own unique path and destination to sustainability and shared values — generic solutions merely increase costs and reduce positive impact.
- The future of brands and values is about participatory storymaking, not elite storytelling.
- Successful stories are about the listener and the participant, not about the teller.
- Great stories are forwarded and extended by the people who live within them.
- Revolutionary and evolutionary change are equally valid, and authentic story-dependent.