Archive for the ‘Sustainability Pathfinder model’ 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.
New Website For UK Coal Surface Mining
We have very recently launched a new website for our client UK Coal Surface Mining. It represents a significant step for the company in its sustainability adventure.
It is not widely understood that coal represents a significant part in our transition to a low carbon economy. Over 30% of the UK’s electricity needs are still provided by coal and over 70% is imported. Indigenous coal is still plentiful and so can provide some measure of energy security during the transition to increased levels of electricity from renewable sources.
UK Coal as a company is trying its utmost to be as sustainable as possible. A key part of this is the way its operations integrate into the communities in which it operates. Central to this is to provide open channels of communication through liaison committees, public meetings and personal visits. More and more this will revolve around digital communication and the internet.
This was the brief from the client, whom we are also working with on a long term sustainability strategy. The result was an elegant and deep, new website that is the envy of the other divisions of UK Coal. All content is simply managed on a shared content management system; which allows staff to upload information and stories quickly and easily. Over time the power of the web will be harnessed more and more and incorporated into day-to-day management, creating improved understanding and cooperation internally and within the community.
The new site and platform will also allow seamless integration of social media into the communications mix. This will allow even more beneficial and transparent conversations with stakeholders, deepening understanding and collaboration. If you would like to view the site please go here
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.
Good Marketing – or Marketing for Good? – Dan Vivian
“80% of the world is in so much trouble it’s appalling … We have mislaid our priorities so badly we are now going to have to pay for it. The single-minded pursuit of personal or national affluence at the expense of others will have to go. … We’ll have to develop a new ethos … because all the people of the world are chained together at the legs, the well-being of all must be important to each of us. Some force must portray the saving, collective effort, and that’s us. The character of advertising will change because the character of society will change … I no longer believe in the affluent man who exists at the sufferance of the poor man”. – Carl Ally
This is such a good quote that I had to share it and guess when it dates from… 1974 – from the era of real Mad Men. Thanks Steve Henry for pointing it out in your always entertaining blog.
I’m always amazed at how far sighted some people are. I guess I’m also staggered at how little we seem to listen to such statements of complete sense. Is it human nature to tend towards greed and selfishness or do we recognize and get reward from a more collective purpose?
Will the next few years be different or are we heading for ecological disaster. I’m convinced that business will have to take the lead. Our greenest ever Government is proving quite the opposite and providing unbelievably unstable legislative infrastructure, against which it is very difficult to plan or develop.
However in a recent very enjoyable and engaging IEMA, East of England Committee Conference last week I found tons of positivity, pragmatism and creativity. Our workshop on Markets and Marketing stimulated lots of debate and discussion. Very encouragingly the Vivian Partnership Sustainability Pathfinder model was readily adopted to bring perspective and guide strategy.
My over-riding impression was the recognition that many of the principles, arguments and reasons for a sustainable approach are established (albeit in this very well informed audience). The step change now is to communicate these arguments persuasively in order to affect the behaviour of the mass rather than the few.
The most adopted phrase of the conference was of “storytelling”. Does this signal a change in mood amongst environmental and sustainability professionals to recognize the vital importance of engaging communications to translate the often complex messages and themes?
Therefore the marketer may no longer be the pilloried purveyor of greenwash but reflect the need for simple transparent messages and be the ”…saving, collective effort” that Carl Ally referred to – I do hope so.
Boris Bikes – Innocence Defiled, by Dan Vivian
Now I may be a bit of a dreamer but I think that the whole concept of Barclays Cycle Hire in London, so called Boris Bikes, is brilliant. I extolled this in an earlier blog. It is a true win-win. Zero carbon transport around our wonderful Capital, very low cost, seriously speedy (compared to other forms of transport), a little bit of exercise and you see London from a totally new perspective. I even have the fantastic app on my iPhone.
Sadly for me the reality is not living up to the dream. I travelled up to London this week for a very important workshop. It was an early start but one of the exceptional early spring days we are being graced with at the moment. So a swift train journey followed by a relaxed peddle from Waterloo to Bloomsbury awaited me… or so I thought. I was looking forward to seeing London emerge blinking into spring, seeing the smile quotient increase on commuters’ faces.
However the reality was very different. The train was fine, the day beautiful, but my two wheeled chariot refused to release itself from its dock. Having tried numerous docks and getting the same response, I called the helpline – feeling a little silly after lots of mutterings and wrestling with the very substantial bike and docking station. I was informed that someone would call me back soon. So I waited hoping to sort an early release. No response.
Time ticked on so I tried a few more docks with the same result. I even resorted to trying to buy a one day pass – still no luck. As you can imagine by now frustration was beginning to grow and my deadline growing ever nearer. I left the sunslight behind and had to descend onto the Tube and take traditional transport to my workshop.
I had allowed significant time for my journey so had ample time for preparation and delivery of a fantastically insightful workshop with brother and business partner Ben and Sam from RSPB (thanks for your help Sam). I then considered my return to Waterloo and was prepared to risk frustration again. However all local docking stations were completely devoid of bikes. This is another massive problem with the system that I have encountered before. That given the mass entry and exodus to and from London terminals during the working day means that bikes are in very short supply at key times. Something I would be very frustrated about if I was a regular Boris Bike user, needing to depend on them.
So it was back to the Tube and home without event. I didn’t then hear from Barclays Cycle Hire customer service until well into my return journey. Only to be informed that it was a feature of the system and I should simply bare with them. I have asked to escalate my complaint in the hope that I may receive some kind of apology or refund – this seems unlikely according to my customer service advisor, as the scheme’s terms & conditions protects itself from such issues.
As you can imagine by now my evangelical support for the scheme is being sorely tested. I still love the concept but I guess the lessons of my experience are rather pedestrian (sorry couldn’t resist it). Make sure you can deliver your promises and that technical systems are up to the job and do not accept fundamental systemic failings. Secondly that customer service have the responsibility and resource to properly handle issues and complaints in order to maintain all important customer advocacy.
These are lessons for any business embarking on the sustainability road. It doesn’t mean don’t do it due to the risks, just identify them early and ensure you can deliver against them. This is one of the major outputs from our Sustainability Pathfinder model.
As for me and my relationship with Boris’s bikes, I will be sticking with them but may not be able to depend on them – which is sad.
Over the last few months, working with a number of clients on how best to engage their internal teams, one
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
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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