The concepts of Green and Sustainable are not a recent phenomenon in energy or even in our culture. But the concepts have been gaining more and more momentum in both popular culture and our daily life. The definition of the concepts are defined by official bodies and scholars alike but the definition that brands need to look into is the definition or rather definitions in the minds of consumers.
Regular consumer brands have begun looking at the source of the energy they use as part of their brand equity. In some ways, Green and Renewable is no longer an added value for brands but a requirement in the minds of consumers.
In his presentation at CHARGE Energy Branding 2018 in Reykjavík, Viggó Jónsson, Creative Director at JÓNSSON&LE’MACKS talked about how humans have the profound need to be good and influence the world in a positive way. People used to be able to fulfil this need through the democratic process in the voting booths. Instead, they are looking more and more at the democratic process that happens in the marketplace when they elect brands. Consumers are looking at making morally good choices by selecting brands that represent what is good. Thus has social responsibility become an important part of brand assets. In some ways, Green and Renewable have become a signal of extreme luxury.
Brands are more and more rapidly adapting to this new reality of consumers demanding responsible steps towards the environment from the brands they choose. But it can be difficult for some industries that rely heavily on fossil fuels just to operate. One of those industries is the airline industry. Although electric aviation is on the horizon for short-haul trips, the industry will most likely be dependent on fossil fuels to some degree in the foreseeable future. For an airline brand such as Icelandair, it can be a challenge image-wise to depend on fossil fuels. A large part of its image and business model is to sell the clean image of Iceland. This is why the brand is doing its best to minimize its impact on the environment. Birna Ósk Einarsdóttir, the Chief Business Development and Strategy Officer at Icelandair talked about how the brand has been committed to leverage the country’s image and taking responsible steps for the environment.
Henrik Sætness at Statkraft echoed Viggó’s view on how energy has become an important ingredient in branding with examples on how Statkraft has been changing its once 100% Hydro model to focus more on the newer renewables solar and wind. Statkraft is one of the largest producers of hydropower in the world but its customer base of large scale energy users is looking more at the type of renewables that goes into the energy mix.
At CHARGE 2019, one of the focus points will continue to be on the discussion of perception and image of Green and Sustainable and how brands can use sustainable practices both for the good of the environment and also for furthering their brand image.