After expressing my hopes for the Montreux 2017 WBCSD Liaison Delegate conference in my first post, here I am, after four days of inspiring presentations and debates, with my brain struggling to organise the avalanche of information, insights, questions…
One point, however, I feel I can closely relate to as a consumer, millennial and management student with a fervid interest in storytelling is that
brands need to reimagine the world they market their products in, to make consumers aspire to a more sustainable lifestyle.
Out of all, this call for action has consistently occupied my thoughts since Tuesday morning, following the unveiling of The Good Life 2.0 Playbook. A document developed by marketing agency Havas in collaboration with the WBCSD, which invites brand marketers to “rethink the picture of the world they paint through their communications” (WBCSD, 2017) and redefine the values that make a Good Life also a a sustainable, happy and healthy one.
Less, but better
One thing is clear. The life consumers aspire to and which is depicted by the majority of brands cannot be aligned with sustainable lifestyles. In the US, houses on sale are 1000 square feet larger than in the early 70s, 85% of commuters get to work by car (driving solo), processed-food and water are consumed and wasted simply too much. To add upon that, with the rise of fast fashion consumers purchase more clothing items than ever before, throwing out what is not of the “latest trend”, increasing the amount of clothes ending in landfills. All this translates in a life of overconsumption, a life of MORE, but not necessarily a life of BETTER, and definitely not a sustainable one, which advocates less and smarter consumption overall. The challenge for marketers therefore lies in redefining what BETTER means in line with sustainable living, which in the long-term will reshape the aspirations of consumers towards Good Life 2.0: happy, healthy through a sustainable lifestyle.
However, what does this mean for us consumers in our daily lives? Yes..brands in my opinion have the power to direct us towards a sustainable lifestyle..but
we need to actively engage in understanding how we can make our lifestyles more sustainable.
Luckily, most of us already associate sustainable habits with positive experiences and precious moments of our daily lives. Without even noticing it. Havas’s research has concluded that US citizens associate living well with four key life ingredients:
Home & Family: We want spend time with our families in a connected home environment that knows us, and that we are willing to share with others.
Time & Slow Down: We want to feel free from time. Free to grow food, hang our laundry outside, sleep and share moments of delight.
The Journey Matters: A pleasant commute goes half the way in making our days better. We want to be active, share our journey with others, cherish smart mobility (electric vehicles, car sharing).
Work & Life Balance: We appreciate flexibility and the ability to successfully juggle work and private life more than ever. “Work from home (WFH) is status”…
Let’s spread the new Good Life
Forward–thinking brands are out there leading a new emergent narrative, spreading messages which foster sustainable behaviors and redefine our aspirations, and global networks such as the WBCSD are leading the conversation to get everybody on board. As consumers, we are re-discovering new life aspirations that unknowingly align with more sustainable lifestyles.
Indeed, brands need to be aware of this shift and champion the new Good Life, in name of a more happy, healthy, better life for its customers. On the flip side, we need to actively engage in understanding what a sustainable lifestyle means for us as consumers, and embrace it.
And by the way, this will be good for our planet as well.
WBCSD, (2017). How brands can promote aspirations that encourage sustainable lifestyles. [online] World business council for sustainable development. Available at: http://www.wbcsd.org/Clusters/Sustainable-Lifestyles/News/How-brands-can-promote-aspirations-that-encourage-sustainable-lifestyles [Accessed 31 Mar. 2017].