An Innovative Path To A Greener Future
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An Innovative Path To A Greener Future

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As first printed in Marketing Week magazine recently, Chris Sherwin, Head of Sustainability at Seymourpowell explains why innovation is a better route to sustainable behaviour than communications

As first printed in Marketing Week magazine recently, Chris Sherwin, Head of Sustainability at Seymourpowell explains why innovation is a better route to sustainable behaviour than communications

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An Innovative Path To A Greener Future Document Transcript

  • 1. AN INNOVATIVEPATH TO AGREENERFUTURE
  • 2. AN INNOVATIVE PATH of Ariel Excel Gel – a liquid concentrate (fewer ingredients, packaging, transport), withTO A GREENER FUTURE dosage control (controlled consumption), in a top-down format (less product wastage), that washes as low as 15 degrees (less energy use and carbon emissions). It’s true that Ariel hadChris Sherwin at Seymourpowell explains no monopoly on these innovations, as otherswhy innovation is a better route to sustainable were active on these issues too, but they were certainly the highest profile and mostbehaviour than communications integrated with these green features.Behaviour change is the new green In a microcosm, here’s the centralmarketing frontier as we move people green marketing dilemma: do you backtowards sustainable lifestyles, but what’s a communication or innovation for your brand’smarketer to do about this: bet your money sustainability efforts? Both Ariel’s approacheson communications and social media, or focused on changing behaviour – thebuild behaviour change into your products or former highly effective advertising campaignservices? Though a less well-trodden route, asked people to change their behaviour via The Bimbo Pack: communications, the latter had it ‘designedwe believe that innovating with your products Redesigned to preserve breadand services is our only real great green hope. in’. It will be interesting to see which is theHere’s why. longer-term behavioural game changer – the communications initiative of Turn to 30 or theGREENER THAN WHITE innovation of Excel Gel – though with ExcelIn the world of ‘green’ and ‘sustainability’ Gel reportedly now making up one-third ofmarketing (let’s just say green from now on), Ariel’s sales and 40 per cent of its value, theAriel’s Turn to 30 campaign remains the most green innovation route certainly looks morereferenced case. In asking consumers to sustainable.reduce washing temperature, save energyand carbon emissions, it hit the sweet spot. SUSTAINABLE BEHAVIOUR IN FOCUS Brands started to look at consumption,It was good for business – reportedly usage and behaviour because the largesthelping Ariel regain market share; good for part of their footprint is often when in theconsumers – lower temperatures can save UK hands of consumers. Over 80 per cent ofhouseholds £130 per year; and good for the the environmental impacts of detergents areplanet – the average UK wash temperature governed by when and how people wash.went down by three degrees during thecampaign, while washes at 30 degrees rose This places sustainability firmly in the hands offrom three per cent to 17 per cent. A real marketers and innovators. As a result, brandswin-win. have defaulted to influencing sustainable behaviours through a communications-ledA less recognised ‘win’ was Ariel following Front Cover: Nest Thermostat: Asking people to change approach via brand activation.Turn to 30 with the development and launch doesn’t go far enough - help them make the changeConfidential. © Seymour Powell Limited, 2012. All rights reserved.
  • 3. Thus they turn to their advertising, weave this into the product and behaviour Aircruise Concept:communications or PR agencies, which itself, rather than giving them something else Why fly when you can slow travel to your holiday?control the brand’s interaction with customers. to think about.It’s understandable, as it’s how brands haveacted for decades when faced with new IT DOESN’T DELIVER BREAKTHROUGHSissues, or pressures like health concerns or Many now believe that, for true sustainability,social media. It’s also limiting and flawed as it we must go beyond our current green tweakswon’t really work for the brand, the customer to existing ‘stuff’, with improvements thator the planet. Here are five reasons why. could reduce carbon emissions or use of resources across a brand’s total lifecycleIT CAN PROMOTE LAZINESS by as much as 95 per cent. It’s almostAsking people to change their behaviour can inconceivable that we can communicatebe an excuse for brands to push responsibility our way out of trouble on this: breakthroughon to consumers and do little themselves. innovation is required.Funding local community projects – which It may be harder and more time-consumingmany brands do – doesn’t require brands for brands to change their formulation,to change real, material issues, other than packaging, supply chain, production linereshuffling marketing budgets. or business model than it is to change aIT CAN BE CONTRADICTORY communications plan or website, but changeMight consumers see contradictions in a it they must. Innovation will be the key totoothpaste or cleaning brand asking them to these green breakthroughs.‘turn off the tap’, when the very same brands MOVING GREEN BEYOND COMMUNICATIONSspent the last 40 years convincing them they There’s no limit to where this ‘innovateneed various types of cleaning implements or rather than communicate’ model can betoothpaste/mouthwash, etc? applied. Take the UK Government’s largelyIT’S SHORT-TERMIST unsuccessful Act on CO2 campaign, whichCommunication campaigns are often short- aimed to raise awareness of “the effects oflived or seasonal, linked to brand planning climate change, the impact people are havingcycles; while sustainable behavioural issues, on the environment and what you can do to A GREEN PLATFORMlike high carbon diets, simply can’t be cracked help”. Now check out the recently launched As with Ariel, communications can be anby a single campaign. Consumer interest Nest Learning Thermostat created by ex-iPod excellent springboard or complement, butin green issues can waver too, but they designers. It’s smart, beautiful, cool, learns innovation really is the best route for greenare interested in doing things better, which your behaviour to optimise energy use, and marketing and sustainable behaviour.innovation can deliver. turns itself off when you’re away. Redirecting focus, priorities and budgets The mind boggles at how the £10m Act onIT TACKLES BEHAVIOUR INDIRECTLY upstream is healthier for your brand, for CO2 budget could aid innovations like this.Though emotionally appealing, behaviour and for the planet. Think too what innovation could do for thecommunications simply do not, and cannot, other green behaviours that consumers must Reported by Chris Sherwinengage consumers directly in their everyday adopt, such as composting, water saving, Head of Sustainability, Seymourpowellbehaviour or actions, as they are non-physical line-drying clothes, eco-driving and reducing For more information please go to:and immaterial. Consumers are often busy food waste. T: @Seymourpowell W: www.seymourpowell.comand time-poor, so far better to seamlesslyConfidential. © Seymour Powell Limited, 2012. All rights reserved.