Constructing Eco-conscious Manufacturers | Branding Technique Insider
In 1966, a year before the summer of love and two years before the original Woodstock, two macrobiotic lifestyle gurus, followers of the great George Ohsawa, opened a health food store called Erewhon. With Erewhon the title is to be understood as the word “nowhere” backwards, although the letters “h” and “w” are transposed. It came from the Samuel Butler book about a utopia. One of the fictional tenets of Erewhon was that everyone was responsible for their own health and well-being.
You brought your own glasses at an Erewhon store. Before filling your jars with the required brown rice, organic peanut butter, beans, or cereal, the cashier weighed your jar and put a piece of tape on the lid of the jar. A filled glass was weighed again and the difference resulted in the price of your food. Erewhon was part of The Whole Earth Catalog movement, which focused on managing one’s health through initiative and eating right, while keeping an eye on the health of the planet.
The Whole Earth Catalog, first published in 1968, believed in ecology, holistic living, DIY, self-sufficiency, gardening, and tools for every possible situation and task. If you had a certain generational style, The Whole Earth Catalog was a Bible. Erewhon and The Whole Earth Catalog gave people a sense of power and purpose.
Old is new. These self-sufficient, environmentally conscious and pristine earth day sensations will be rewired for new generations. The push towards reusable packaging is a retro reality. We may not be able to do all of the nifty things that guy on The Weather Channels said, “So do you think you’d survive?” can do. However, container reuse seems to be within reach. For those who are passionate about washing and reusing Ziploc bags, reusable packaging can be the next logical step.
In our unsafe world, some brands are testing reusable packaging. These brands are helping to reconfigure our role as consumers by bringing back the idea of reusable, in-store or online containers. The question is, will we accept the idea of reusable packaging in a world where packaging is so important to conveying brand messages. We have become conspicuous consumers of plastic waste.
SodaStream trains consumers to use their bottles over and over again instead of buying carbonated water at retail outlets. Brita water filter encourages people to use their own bottles of clean tap water instead of buying boxes of packaged water.
Loop and Blueland are branching out into other areas to test our commitment to sustainability. And these brands do so in style.
Some brands sell sustainability in style. According to the Wall Street Journal, Loop is a “closed-loop recycling” service that keeps well-known brands in reusable containers. The customer pays a deposit at the checkout and the deposit is refunded when the containers are returned for cleaning and reuse. The reusable containers are elegantly designed. Various P&G products such as Cascade and Febreeze, some Clorox products such as disinfectant wipes and seventh generation cleaning products are available. Beauty, pantry and frozen products are just a few of the categories presented. Häagen-Dazs ice cream is one of the frozen products.
Blueland is currently focused on cleaning products. Blueland’s mission on its website: In Blueland, the cleaning of our planet begins with the cleaning of our homes. Starting with cleaning products – items that are traditionally sold in single-use plastic bottles – we can eliminate over 100 billion single-use plastic bottles in the US alone because our cleaners live in reusable bottles.
Bluelands system is simple. “You buy a bottle once. This is your forever bottle. They refill for life so you don’t have to throw away bottles. You fill your bottle with water and put a Blueland cleaning tablet or soap tablet into it. Think of this as Alka Seltzer for your home. “
There are currently seven cleaning options: 3 cleaning sprays (multi-surface, glass + mirror, bathroom), foaming hand soap, powdered detergent, dishwasher tablets and washing tablets.
Loop, Blueland, SodaStream and Brita use our desire for ideas that have proven themselves and reflect innovations. These and other brands, like the Bengies drive-in film outside of Baltimore, MD, are adapting old ideas about ecology and sustainability and using them for today’s modern high-tech world.
“Old is New” has already taken over many shelves in our local grocery stores. As Christine Muhlke reported for the New York Times, there were staples such as “… miso, tahini, dates, seeds, turmeric and ginger that were ingested from other cultures and populated the cookbooks of the Moosewood Restaurant in the cooperative stores of the 1960s.” Staple foods are now part of the menus in innovative restaurants and populate the international section of grocery chains across the country. Kombucha, nori, daikon, kale (which Ms. Mühlke described as the “bacon of clean eating”) and tofu are no longer strange.
The trend over several years shows that younger generations are committed to buying products and services from branded companies that are socially and sustainably good. It will be interesting to see if this personal commitment translates into personal habits. In the meantime, Loop, SodaStream, Brita, Blueland and others are paving the way for us.
Contribution to Branding Strategy Insider by: Larry Light, CEO of Arcature
The Blake Project Can Help: Please email us for more information on building an environmentally conscious brand.
Brand Strategy Insider is a service from The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in brand research, brand strategy, brand growth and branding
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