Beyond the Sustainability Trend
Category: Blog - September 18, 2007
Sustainability is the latest in marketing buzzwords. Industry blogs – like this one – are discussing it. Industry researchers are writing about it. And, who knows how many marketing campaigns and product launches touting “green” benefits will roll out in the coming months – from water to the latest “it” shoe.
For communicators touting “green” or “sustainable” products, the good news is that demand for sustainability is expected to continue to grow. But, the bad news also is that demand for sustainability is expected to grow.
Sure, right now communicators need and want to ride the sustainability wave to make a brand relevant for the marketplace. Lest we forget, everything that is new is old one day. And, if Al Gore has anything to say about it, sustainability will one day be a consumer expectation, not a niche product benefit.
Recounting a visit to an organic grocery store in a recent Brandweek article, Peter Allen of Turner Duckworth observed the inherent problem of all trends: when everything follows a trend – in this case, “green” products lining the grocery isles – nothing stand out.
In developing a brand communication platform, the first consideration should be how the brand’s story will remain relevant after consumers have moved on to the next trend du jour. A balance must exist between capitalizing on current trends and building a brand story that provides a distinct value proposition to the consumer and has longevity.
For every consumer that is prone to jump on a trend, there is another whose purchase decisions primarily will be driven by need. Product benefits, price point, ease of purchase and ease of use should be key factors in developing an agile and clear communication platform. If the basics are in place, the bells and whistles that make a brand story relevant for tomorrow, next month or next year can be added, changed, reworked and revised as the brand stands the test of time.