Many of our partners have committed to big, bold sustainability ambitions and are pushing the boundaries of sustainable business and innovation. At the same time there is lots of debate about the role of brands in helping people to live more sustainable lives. We set out to explore with them: how can companies use their brand power to shift us onto a more sustainable path AND create brand value as they do it?
What we did
Forum brought together a group of leading brands to explore this question. Since 2012 we have run a series of roundtables and workshops for sustainability and marketing practitioners. The Sustainability and Brands Roundtable is a forum for over 20 brands to swap experiences, know-how and propose solutions in a confidential, non-competitive space. Household names like B&Q, Innocent, John Lewis and Burberry have explored how to engage their marketing team on sustainability, created compelling campaigns designed to resonate with mainstream consumers and delved into case studies showing how brands are activating sustainability now.
We designed sessions to support brand marketers and their sustainability colleagues to progress on their individual challenges. We harnessed the power of the brands around the table to give them new insights and strategies to take forward in their organisations.
The companies we worked with now are clear on the opportunity that sustainability offers brands. Through diagnosing and then working on their individual challenges, the roundtable members have forged much closer working relationships between sustainability and marketing teams and, as a result, opened up conversations in their organisations that would have previously been off limits.
They have discovered how to use their brand personality to really connect with people on issues that can seem technical or abstract if not communicated right. Brands have been inspired through case studies and expert speakers that have given them the confidence and the tools to start activating sustainability through their own brand.
And, they have forged a strong network of leading brands that are ready to lead the consumer on sustainability in 2014.
Rebecca Edwards, Brand Manager | Tui Travel
“This has been one of my favourite learning experiences because it’s so interactive and there’s such good expertise in the room – from all the different brands, from Forum for the Future and from communications specialists.
Before joining the Roundtable I was struggling to think through how to enhance our sustainability brand, having meetings internally and with agencies. It has helped me cut through all of that and we’re now making real progress.”
Nicola Pearson, Commercial Direct | CafeDirect
“You grapple so intensely with your own issues to day-to-day, the value is in the input stimulus, the fresh perspectives and the new and exciting support. I had a ‘eureka’ moment when we were discussing how to influence consumer behaviour....We’re acting on that now.”
The Sustainability and Brands Roundtable has identified some of the critical issues that brands need to overcome to scale up sustainable lifestyles. In 2014 we will be tackling these challenges through a series of Brands Platforms – contact us if you would like to find out more:
- Exploring the opportunity for your brand – how to inspire brand marketers
- ROI | What is the return on investment for brands that embed sustainability?
- Being Brave – How can big business can be bold and authentic about sustainability while avoiding greenwash?
- Marketers can save the world - here's where they need help, blog by Sarah Tulej
- Beyond greenwash to greatness: big brands are turning into society's problem solvers, blog by Gemma Adams
- Citizens, not consumers: the next frontier for system innovation, blog by Jon Alexander
- Read Anna Simpson's address at the launch of her book, The Brand Strategist's Guide to Desire