On the 1st of December 2010, Consulus was given the opportunity to share with over 200 professional designers, design institute academics and design buyers the notion of Sustainable Branding. This was during the Shenzhen Industrial Design Forum, an event that was part of the Hong Kong Business of Design Week 2010 (BODW2010).

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While sustainability has been the hot topic of late, Consulus Director for Strategy Development Lawrence Chong shared that sustainability in branding no longer meant including words such as ‘green’, ‘sustainable’ and ‘environmental’ in a brand’s messaging. “Common words such as Green and Sustainable are no longer differentiators”, explained Chong, “because the world is becoming increasingly cynical, with consumers seeking new and original experiences.” Being ‘green’ should play a supporting role as part of a long-term strategy of growth.

As such, the Consulus approach to sustainability is to deliver these experiences to consumers in a way that reflects the brand’s purpose without compromising on the environmental requirements that buyers now consider a requirement.

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He emphasised this point by talking about BP, which has recently had their ‘green’ image sullied by the Gulf oil disaster, as an example of how branding can only be a differentiator that is based on the solid foundations of quality, good customer service, green policies, and the unique user experience that a company can have. Without the basic foundations, a brand cannot expect to be sustainable in the long run.

Chong concluded that the formula for sustainable branding is thus to build a brand that delivers a unique promise to the consumer that is based on a long-term purpose. Sustainability now should be one of the pillars of which to build on, and not simply the end result.