Monday, September 15, 2008

The advent of the biodegradable brand

ChangeThis.com has posted my proposal [link expired] that's tentatively titled: "Fifty years after Boorstin and Warhol: the Advent of the Biodegradable brand."


It looks at green economics and social media, and considers the sustainability of persistent brand footprints - the modern versions of Warhol's soup cans. The point? - my buy-in to these brand images results in enhanced and persistent rise in self esteem: that is the point the brand builders were trying to achieve. But this new identity actually displaces my relationship to the environment. Green branding then, causes a conflict, and may be the most fundamental type of greenwashing of all.

"I park my low impact branded vehicle and go for the best brand name Free Trade cappuccino but don't connect much. I walk up to the QSR rep and blithely give my order. As I pull out my macbook pro, my brand alignment is deeper than I think. In fact, I may be unwittingly living in a brand cocoon. I feel good about myself, and I dont notice that the 'bag lady' across the street is actually in tears."

4 comments:

LynMarie said...

I enjoyed your proposal and am looking forward to the full version. Also, ChangeThis.com is an awesome site! Thanks for introducing me to it.

John Dumbrille said...

Thanks Lyn Marie! I'm glad you like it. Yes Changethis is a great site. Hey have you checked out triiibes.com - lots of new communications people there, looking forward.

Michael Cayley said...

It looks interesting John - good luck.

I agree that most green branding is a form of green washing.

However, I also think that many (if not most) people are concerned about the environment and they are grappling for ways to integrate their authentic "geen" actions and aspirations into their personal identities.

A green brand that grows out of the legitimate fulfillment of these desires can be a source of connection to the environment, rather than the displacement that the red soup can may have been between the ingredients and the consumer.

That is the kind of thinking that we are trying to bring to the hotel industry.

John Dumbrille said...

Michael - yes, and of course I like what you are putting forward as a different type of brand and branding. I imagine Green gives an immediate and necessary opportunity to apply more social ('mimetic' - love it) processes to company and product identity than conventional symbolic brands.
Both the impermanance of ideas, brands and all things eco (including ourselves), and the speed of change, makes me think that Brand shouting may be becoming almost an anachronism. Looking forward to seeing what you are doing in the hotel industry.