COLLABORATION
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New Collaboratory Forming to Strengthen Sustainability ‘Pull Factor’

The room was packed for the Dynamics of Desire workshop on Monday morning at SB 18 Vancouver. | Image credit: Sustainable Brands

For more information or to engage in the collaboratory, contact Sustainable Brands.

Sustainability can often feel like a selling point that we push onto consumers; only a small portion of brands are truly sought out for their sustainability attributes alone. Creating lust, craving or desire for sustainability requires a deep understanding of the core human emotions that drive action, and a knowledge of how to reliably elicit these emotions in a market setting.

On day one of SB’18 Vancouver, the Dynamics of Desire workshop highlighted those few brands that have successfully created a sustainability ‘pull’ towards their products.

Virginie Helias, VP of Sustainability at Procter & Gamble, discussed two product stories - Pantene’s line of shampoo bottles created with plastic made from sugarcane, and Head & Shoulders’ bottles created from recycled beach plastic. While both initiatives were driven by passionate leadership, Pantene’s sugarcane bottles fell flat in the market. Helias attributes Head & Shoulders’ contrasting success to the compelling story associated with the product that created a ‘pull’ from the market — the Head & Shoulders campaign shared with consumers how the plastic was methodically collected, and invited them to take part in the plastic-collecting process.

Lush Cosmetics is known for embedding sustainability in the core of its brand. Whenever possible, Lush products are entirely ‘naked’ (packaging-free). Lush minimizes packaging but still pulls consumers to want products by creating a novel solid option for most liquid product offerings. Lush has further captured consumer interest with its #gobothways campaign, allowing consumers to compare packaging options in-store and take an environmental quiz on the benefits of both options to win products.

These brand success stories have tapped into certain core human dynamics, summarized by BBMG’s Raphael Bemporad as tribalism, craving, novelty-seeking, identity formation and social status. During the workshop, Bemporad further explained the unique position that brands hold in leveraging these dynamics:

“Brands sit above business models, business systems and design of the value chain.” He explained. “They are also vessels for stories — creating culture, meaning and identity. Brands are the only vehicle that uniquely bring together these systems and stories, and the intersection of these two drivers allows us to create the world we seek.”

Bemporad revealed a new Sustainable Brands initiative that will leverage the unique cultural position of brands to drive a more sustainable future. The #Brands for Good collaboratory will be a journey of learning and practice among participating brands, with the goal of better applying the dynamics of human desire to sustainability issues. The first project of the collaboratory, the Pull Factor Project, will leverage input from participating brand experts to design an actionable toolkit for marketers and brand leaders to create communications that can shape culture towards desiring sustainable lifestyles.

The announcement of the collaboratory at the Dynamics of Desire workshop last week inspired significant interest, and organizers are still hearing from interested parties. To learn more about the process behind the collaboratory or to join BBMG, P&G and other brands, get in touch with Sustainable Brands.


Alex is Coordinator for Member and Advisory services at SB, providing member companies with sustainability research to support their goals. 

Alex received her MS in Applied Social Psychology from Royal Holloway, University of London, where she focused on… [Read more about Alexandra Smith]


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