Archive for the ‘Retail’ Category
This post is going to short and sweet.
It is a rallying cry to all sustainability professionals out there. Do the unthinkable and embrace marketing and recognise that science doesn’t sell (someone will have to tell L’Oreal that). To really be heard you must engage on an emotional level. I could bang on about how this is one of the key premises of our strategic model, Sustainability Pathfinder™ but ll we really need to do is look to one global and one national event of the last couple of weeks.
The Red Bull Stratos project was a completely bonkers idea of man travelling at the speed of sound. Felix Baumgartner must have lower regions made of a mix of asbestos and steel, but his “stunt” captivated the world. The event was completely owned by Red Bull, blowing You Tube records and creating massive coverage worldwide. One fantastic tweet commented “That awkward moment when you realise an energy drink has a better space programme than your nation”. It shows that brands cannot only communicate their values but must live them. Its impact will live long in the memory and give Red Bull totally authentic ownership of extreme “sports” – CSR from space you could say.
The second notable event was a little more subdued. In the whirlwind of advertising industry backslapping awards shows one stands out – the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) Effectiveness Awards. The awards are unusual as entries are judged on effectiveness ie how much tin has been shifted not just how creative or beautiful the ads or campaigns were. Sometimes this is seen as measuring the impossible, but the submissions are incredibly compelling (I know as I was part of a Grand Prix winning entry for BMW back in the 1990′s). The winner this year was John Lewis Partnership, with its fantastically consistent emotional message, connecting shoppers with the values of the store – and not a BOGOF in sight – and opening the nation’s hearts and wallets at the same time.
So come on all you susty practitioners let’s learn from these fantastic and uplifting campaigns and grab our marketing departments by the Baumgartners and start selling how simple/vital/inspiring/rewarding what we do is.
Simple Life – Barefoot Running and Christmas Retailers
I’ve just finished a seminal book that will really influence my approach to life. It is called Born to Run by Chris McDougall. It describes his search for a hidden Mexican tribe of super runners and the greatest race never seen. Even if you aren’t interested in sport or athletics it makes a good read. But what fascinated me was the how these tribes approached life and really rejoiced in the joy of running.
This joy was not a little New Year resolution jog – but 30, 40 or 100 mile races. McDougall argues that we, Homo Sapiens, have lost (in most part) our ability to run. Originally it was a completely vital ability that gave us the evolutionary edge; being able to run down prey through attrition not aggression. So after a marathon hunt the poor beast we used to hunt drops down almost begging to be caught. It may feel like this for most of us after the post Christmas run… but to me the real point was that we are harming ourselves by encasing our feet in super absorbent running shoes and that we should trust our body’s ability to run for mile after mile. We don’t need fancy shoes just a positive commitment to the hunam race (sorry about the pun).
Barefoot running is a growing trend and this simplicity may seem like a fad. I tried it this week and it is truly liberating and helps one’s normal running style too. But what has this to do with Christmas retailing? Well I may be stretching the point but it occurred after hearing the results from Christmas from our major retailers. While chains like Blacks Leisure are going to the wall John Lewis is riding high with a remarkable 9% improvement in the weeks up to Christmas.
This success may well be down to the immunity of their middle-class shoppers from the effects of recession, but I think it is more fundamental. It is all about its simple, passionate focus on its customers and the partnership model that delivers exemplary customer service, trust and a deep-seated fairness. This approach is tuned to these times of austerity and consideration where we can’t waste our money on risky purchases and want to believe in the shops and brands we buy there. We will commit to them, if they commit to us. It doesn’t need to be dressed up in overblown promises or stores but be simple and a recognition of us a individuals and humans.
So don’t rush out and buy those new fangled trainers, get down the park and feel the grass between your toes and get back in touch with the joy at the heart of the human spirit.
Hmm… I think I was pushing the analogy, but simple is definitely best, strip it down and focus on what is important.
Is Sustainability Just Another Deal to UK Retailers?
Today we have launched our new White Paper considering the state of sustainability in UK retailers.
The findings indicate a great opportunity for retailers to secure business and loyalty amongst the mainstream of UK consumers. Those retailers willing to exploit established sustainable practices by integrating them deeply will be able to drive compelling messages into the store experience.
Lessons for Sustainability from Tesco
I have recently rejoined the Marketing Society – an organisation for senior marketers. A recent event involved and evening with Sir Terry Leahy, who, at the helm of Tesco for much of the Nineties and Noughties must be seen as one of the most successful business leaders ever.
Like or loathe Tesco, is it the Marmite of shops?… hmm, one cannot ignore its conspicuous success. At the event Sir Terry spelt out eight lessons for marketers. I believe these could and should equally be taken by sustainability leaders in organisations. It was maybe 25 years ago that marketing was struggling to be really heard and valued – now leaders like Sir Terry and the late Steve Jobs have put it firmly at the centre of corporations. Who will emerge as the champions of corporate sustainability? Certainly people like Ian Cheshire at Kingfisher and Paul Polman at Unilever are championing developments; let’s hope many, many more follow and we all reap the benefits.
Here are Sir Terry’s pearls of wisdom, many thanks to The Marketing Society blog for them:
1/ Find the truth. Research is only as effective as shining a torch into a dark room and you only see what the torch shines on. Research well.
2/ Think big. Makes sure the world notices your marketing.
3/ Take personal risks and be true to your values. But never bet your company.
4/ Be creative. Turn the whole business into a marketing organisation and encourage the company to innovate.
5/ Communicate. Take the organisation with you.
6/ Teach. Don’t be too busy doing and teach the people around you. Pass on your knowledge.
7/ Lead. A leader will take you further than you will go on your own.
8/ Act. Don’t forget you need a process to turn great ideas into great marketing for the customer. Work with operators, don’t assume you have all the talents yourself.
As some of you will be aware Dan and I were a part of the Planet and Prosperity team, led
“Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration…” was the title from our latest Oomph Seminar. Apologies to Tony Blair for our rather clumsy adaptation
Yesterday was a first for me. I was in the audience at an internal company conference while Dan took the
Updating the energy efficiency of the UK’s aged housing stock is a no brainer. It will possibly have more of an impact
Much has been reported about the horse meat scandal in the food supply chain, much angst and much anger, and
Our successful series, Oomph Seminars, moved to London yesterday. The theme was “Sustainability on a Shoestring – is it possible?”
There are times when events converge to stimulate some new thinking – for me, this might be one of those
I don’t think I’m one to scare easily but the headline in last weekend’s Sunday Times cut me
This post is going to short and sweet. It is a rallying cry to all sustainability professionals out there. Do
Following on from last week’s blog after the Oomph Seminar which explored the processes of evaluating legal compliance we
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It is fantastic to leave a seminar feeling inspired and full of practical ideas. Thursday’s oomph seminar did exactly that, Ben and Dan are naturals at putting an audience at ease which meant real participation from the group. As environmental professionals often form a one person team, it is fantastic to share a room with like minded individuals from local businesses who have faced and tackled similar challenges and can offer insight and advice. Eagerly anticipating the next installment of Oomph!
Nicola Duffy, Environmental Co-ordinator at Highcross, Leicester
Thank you both for inviting us to today’s Oomph seminar. From our point of view, we found the stimulus material and subsequent debate insightful from a sustainability perspective, but also in a wider context applicable to the successful deployment of general business initiatives.
Participant at Oomph Seminar 30 June 2011
Really enjoyed this morning. I have attended very few seminars over the past two years simple because they are all too similar, often the the same speakers and follow the same theme. Today was most importantly enjoyable, interesting and got the brain cells working. I like small groups with variety of people and backgrounds.
Participant at first Oomph Seminar 30 June 2011