Sustainable Branding – To create long lasting brands and organic growth

The definition of sustainable

Before we get too deep on the topic of sustainability, it’s important to first define what sustainability is. We’re talking about more than just the environmental implications of sustainability. We’re talking about economy, environment, agriculture, communication, repurposing, development and organizational growth. What is sustainable today and what can be sustainable tomorrow?

One might ask what recycled paper has to do with a digital service and how it contributes to a sustainable brand? What could possibly be sustainable for you is not necessarily sustainable for me. Of course we should take care and protect our planet, environment and surroundings but what is sustainable for your business?

Sustainable branding

- Everyone is affected by brands.

We live in a society where we actively choose and communicate our identity through brands. From the phone you use to the food you eat, brands have become the easiest and widest used form of self expression.

Today, we see a growing trend: brand and community cooperation. From something as little as corporate sponsorship of a local organization, to something as grandiose as creating a mass free wi-fi network for any and all to use, the trend is on the rise and becoming more essential in establishing trust and loyalty from would-be consumers. Suffice to say, this wave of cooperation and integration isn’t going away anytime soon. Because of this, businesses today have an incredibly great power to influence and change social structure. No matter what your company does or produces, sustainable or not, we believe that all companies and brands have the potential to do something good. The same applies to all people. Everyone has potential to contribute to something good and live a good life.

Therefore it’s important that we should begin to redefine brands and instead start creating relationships that bind sustainability and communities in their business model. We can create sustainability by creating vibrant, transparent brands that grow organically over time (as humans do). We believe that it is possible to create humanistic brands that act and behave just like you and me. By starting to see companies and brands as an organic being, instead of a soulless machine, we can also begin to harness potential for positive social change.

All of this is fine and dandy, but as a business owner the question inevitably arises; how do we make money while doing this?

By creating brands which emphasize human traits and core values, we make them easier to relate to and thus more engaging. People are choosing brands more and more based on what they have in common with them. The idea is simple; you will be loyal to a brand you can relate to.  And how do we make a more relatable brand? By having a brand actively engage and impact its environment and community. One of the biggest mistakes a growing brand can make is to disregard social responsibility in their business model.

There are basically two types of enterprises. Those who work B2B and those working B2C, but the brands we work with have a B2C2C model. That is, business, customer and communities. The basic idea is that community, customer, and business all exist in the same ecosystem. A business affects community via jobs and services/products. Customers affect the community and business. And the community binds all three elements together. It’s incredibly important to integrate community into business models because it is the foundation of why your customers exist. We want to see this trio as an ecosystem where brands naturally take social responsibility towards communities. For us this is taking care of existing customers, generating new ones, and creating long-term relationships. The advantage of this system is that brands can better adapt to change and keep up with economic/social change in a natural and organic way where they both help to develop the market they are in, develop and strengthen communities, and most importantly be able to get a flow of information into the brand that can serve as a market research and analysis.

In short, this how you earn money and be sustainable.

We carefully examine each brand we work with in order to find the hidden potential that allows them to be sustainable and make money. One of our clients who work with executive search is also a mentor for new and young entrepreneurs. Another customer who works with bank economics gives students scholarships to be able to reach higher studies and be able to follow market trends. A third customer simply giving back to the women farmers who grow their ingredients in order to be able to grow more efficiently. This way you can both develop the market, strengthen the society in which you reside, be sustainable for the future, and make money with a better conscience.

We see brands as living organisms, just like you and me. Brands are individuals with their own personality. Therefore it is important to create an identity that is formed on the basis of the brand’s personal needs and potential to create positive social change.

Brands can and should spread joy, happiness and motivation to everyday life. In effect, creating a more vibrant business, happier societies and more satisfied customers.


Hossein Lavi, co-founder and art director & Emilio Bernard, co-founder and designer @ Sustaintive Communication Studio
Twitter: @sustaintive