Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category
At the heart of businesses I admire most are missions that aim to make the world a better place. It’s an attribute they have in common with most nonprofits. They also share with nonprofits a tendency to view their mission as a driver of their organization, not an end they plan to one day reach.
In a recent Huffington Post column, nonprofit consultant Thenera Bailey says social change organizations understand the need for long-term impact.
But too often along this road of change, many of us somehow get sidetracked. Creating sustainable solutions to social problems gets replaced by the creation of solutions that will sustain our organizations and keep our doors open… Non-profits need to be in the business of putting themselves out of business — not with unwise spending, but with strategic and long-term solutions that will put an end to their cause.
Why not hold business to the same standard? (more…)
A Google search on “independence” returns 261 million results. It shows 7.5 million results for “interdependence.” “Independent business” generates 6 million search results vs. 27,500 for “interdependent business.”
The results aren’t surprising, although they are telling. Independence is a cherished trait for governments, businesses and individuals, especially in a country whose Founding Fathers didn’t put their lives on the line for a Declaration of Interdependence.
And yet, to be truly independent seems largely a fantasy. Are we ever not subject to the authority of someone else, not influenced by the thoughts or actions of others, not depending or contingent upon something else for existence or not relying on others for support in one form or another? (more…)
“Why Content Marketing Is King,” touted a story last week about a recent business survey. There’s no denying the need for quality content. But for many of us marketers, elevating content to royalty distracts us from the work that should matter most: creating behavioral change.
My consulting practice centers on progressive businesses and nonprofits that are trying to change the world, their organization or their stakeholders in ways large and small. We all know from experience that personal change can be hard. So it’s no surprise that trying to influence change in others can seem impossible or painstakingly slow. And if we’re not careful as marketers, throwing more content at the problem will only make matters worse.
The world is drowning in content generated by marketers — blog posts, case studies, white papers, ebooks, videos, photos — and the social media meant to publicize and disseminate the content. It’s axiomatic in marketing circles that awareness precedes action. Some content is aimed at creating initial awareness. Other content is produced to generate leads, establish thought leadership or deepen customer loyalty. Too often, however, the marketing objective becomes producing more content instead of the change we seek. (more…)
Does sustainability change the rules of branding? I believe it does and describe why and how in a guest column today for Sustainable Business Oregon. Here’s an excerpt:
In branding, the job of connecting emotionally is typically left to marketing and advertising. History suggests that works for many product categories where competitive differentiation is scant and great advertising is their only hope of making consumers care.
Once a company starts hanging its hat on sustainability, however, the rules change. Branding is no longer a game of emotions alone. It becomes a game of facts and emotions. That takes the practice of branding outside the narrow zone of marketing and advertising and into the broad realm of operations and employee engagement to ensure sustainability practices are, in fact, implemented.
My piece also includes the 10 steps to building a sustainable brand. Check it all out and let me know what you think!
A business that strives to be sustainable but falls far short on its sustainability promises is committing “a greater sin” than a business that ignores sustainability but keeps its promises. That’s one of the findings of the new Sustainability + Branding Survey of sustainability advocates in business.
My partners and I in the Sustainable Branding Collaborative have released a summary report of the survey, which we conducted in late 2010. I encourage you to download a copy and see what your peers have to say.
When asked which is the “greater sin,” 78 percent of respondents said it’s worse for a business to make an effort to become more sustainable but allow its publicized promises on sustainability to far exceed its actual practices. Only 22 percent said it’s a greater sin for a company to make no claim or effort to become sustainable but otherwise deliver on all of its promises.
What’s clear from the survey is business executives committed to sustainability loathe greenwashing and value integrity. The findings validate the importance our group’s branding approach places on ensuring the sustainability practices of your employees and organization deliver what your brand promises.
Branding advice from sustainability proponents
The survey respondents’ top pieces of advice for companies branding more sustainable products and services include:
- Be honest, be authentic, “walk your talk”
- Build a solid sustainability foundation using methods such as The Natural Step Framework, whole systems thinking and triple-bottom-line accounting
- Measure, verify and certify sustainability claims, preferably using a third party
- Look at branding as a critical foundation for business success, not as a luxury
Does sustainability change branding?
Among other findings, respondents were almost evenly split on the question of whether the practice of branding should be different for an organization that is striving to become sustainable: 53 percent said no, 47 percent said yes.
Branding is branding, say the respondents who believe the practice of branding should be the same — regardless of whether a business is on the sustainability path. Those who believe the practice should be different say sustainable brands need to place a greater emphasis on authenticity, honesty and delivering on the brand promise than traditional brands do. They also believe branding must be approached as part of a comprehensive, company-wide effort to be sustainable.
No matter how you go about branding your business or product, the values of honesty, transparency and keeping your promises are paramount. Whether you believe these values can be instilled through traditional branding methods or require new approaches, the sustainability proponents in this survey strongly advise you to do what you say.
About the survey
The Sustainable Branding Collaborative conducted the Sustainability + Branding Survey November 10-17, 2010. The survey gathered online responses from 291 innovators and early adopters in the sustainable business movement.