Trends in Sustainability

A brand is more than a product.  A brand embodies an experience, image and a source of values that create an identity for a consumer.  Brands can reflect a glimpse into what the consumer desires and aspires to be.  This is important in understanding how brands influence consumer ideals, as well as how it can reflect those who associate themselves with the products. 

An overwhelming trend in the communications world is the “Go Green” product design movement.  Companies began trying to make their products “green” and improve the impact they had on the environment.  Adam Werbach explains in his speech “The Birth of BLUE” that the environment is taking a toll with natural resources diminishing based on product building and consumption.  The goal for companies to create sustainable products is aimed to improve the conditions and lifespan of the environment.  By thinking in terms of “green” and brands adapting to this change, the craze for sustainable living is desirable and seen as progressively hip.  This eco-friendly brand image began to change consumer’s perception of where a product comes from and what it represents.  This increased awareness and concern for the environment.  Werbach’s work with Wal-Mart to enhance sustainable business tactics is a necessary contributor to further strengthening the trend.  I found that TOMS shoes is a positive “green” brand example.  TOMS shoe brand’s main mission is called “One for One” and this promises to give a child in need one pair of shoes for every pair purchased.  A sustainable brand as well as a positive advocacy.   

As explained before, “Going Green” has dominated the market and raised awareness of issues around sustainable living.  This trend, however, has also created a problem in the accuracy of a brand’s eco-friendly preaching.  “Greenwashing” is a term for companies that promote the label of sustainability while not actually changing or following through with any action.  Their resources, product design and innovative planning do not correlate with their “Go Green” portrayal they are promoting.  As brands have the power to reflect an idea and lifestyle, they also can reflect dishonesty and fraud.  The trend to be “green” and sustainable can be so desired that some companies have taken the step to trying to join the force while not making the sacrifices.  The CEO of Enviromedia, Kevin Tuerff, is a promoter for the awareness of the negative consequences that “Greenwashing” has.  It is important for a brand to be honest in order to keep the loyalty of consumers.  Investigating brands that are promising one thing and failing to follow through is calling them out and giving credit to those that are truthful.  A company that misrepresents an image and values is capable of representing the consumer negatively as well as discrediting their company as a whole.

Companies seeking to change the design and overall creation of a product while remaining honest are solid trends based on business tactics.  Social marketing and movement is a trend that changes the way people think and promotes taking action by doing.  Enviromedia discusses the ability social marketing has on changing the attitudes and behaviors of society and creating an initiative to change lifestyle habits.  “Don’t mess with Texas” campaign was a promotional awareness act that involved using well known Texas native celebrities to promote a lifestyle change to stop littering.  The importance of this trend is to keep society up to date with problems that seem huge on a scale but ultimately are in the individual’s control.

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