Trying to find a definition for business, brand and sustainability is like a dog chasing its own tail:
Businesses are undergoing a process of transformation in which new demands from their key audiences in their role as citizens are the most prominent
Brands, as strategic business platforms, must synthesise an increasing number of promises while maintaining credibility, relevance, familiarity, and differentiation
Sustainability gets into business and branding as a topic that is hard to define, or even worse, it is defined into grey areas to express something that the company and its brand are far from being
The above generates new challenges that are far from the often boring and even snobbish attitude of seeking a single definition to issues that, by their very nature, end up becoming sterile and pointless discussions.
That’ s not the issue! The big question is to seek sincere and executive answers to what the company can work on and invite its audiences to align behind it for a better world economically, socially, and environmentally.
The Logic of a Sustainable Brand
Considering that, for lack of clarity in the definitions we are plunging ourselves without a parachute, a sustainable brand, regardless of how you understand it, synthesises a company’s own behaviour that seeks an impact beyond its economic results.
To clarify things: a sustainable brand is not built by the marketing and CSR departments, but by each and every person who interacts with the company:
Internally because they seek to redefine their processes to address issues ranging from governance to social and/or environmental impact.
Externally because new standards of performance and greater responsibility towards people and the planet are demanded.
In general, because we have reconnected with our environment and are looking, at least, to stop damaging it.
The Entelechy of a Sustainable Purpose
Let’s go to the top 10 of the most used words in business in recent times, even if in some cases one doesn’t know what they really mean… They just sound cool, though!
5. Deep dive
6. Core Competence
8. Out of the box
9. Bleeding edge
Let’s take number 10, “purpose”, which is a word we can use on its own or with some adjectives such as new purpose, business purpose, brand purpose, personal purpose, … sustainable purpose.
My point is that sometimes it is good to go back to basics and stop dissecting certain terms and end up saying the same thing as 100 years ago:
The purpose is the raison d’être of the company
If the purpose changes, so does the business
An effective purpose is one that bec mes translated into mission and vision, and permeates every last operational action of the business
A purpose lives if it is intuitively recognised by the company’s key audiences
As an example of purpose and its relationship to mission and vision, let’s use Komoneed, an online community of pragmatic activism:
Komoneed, the Case of a Highly Purposeful Venture
As you will have seen, Komoneed’s purpose is ambitious and challenging. It is also a proposition that invites people to reflect and act on their own existential decisions, those that are indeed transcendent inviting to change lifestyle for the better.
As a brand it is sustainable due to facts beyond its own story, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article:
• Existence and online work
• On servers that consume clean energy
• Supported by other brands that are selected with the utmost care and ensuring that they share the same values.
• Attentive to leading by example ideas about sustainability in the broadest sense of the word.
In one year, this brand has built a community of more than 3.500 members, most of them living in North Europe.