Colors play on our perception of things. Primary colors, secondary colors, complementary colors, warm and cold colors, and so many more designations have played a key role in ways we depict things and perceive things. Is there a real color to be associated with sustainability?
In communication there are universal rules for colors. Orange is apparently the color of communication. However, where red is associated with danger or warning, it is also associated with love. For long, sustainability was just reduced to environmental issues, and thus the color it was associated with was green. And from there the environmental misleading communication was qualified as greenwashing.
In brand image color history, Coca-Cola has probably one of the most famous success stories. The brand has succeeded in changing the green color of Santa Claus into red! Are there similar brand stories when it comes to sustainability?
When sustainability started to become trendier, or let’s say more used in brand strategy, brands started to change their brand image to appear or to convey their sustainable approach in doing things: some logo and slogans changed along with product naming, but also colors. Many surveys showed that employees – especially Milennials – were more likely to work in a company with sustainable values. The business of sustainability, a global survey conducted by McKinsey in 2011 showed that for more than half of the respondents “company performance on sustainability is at least somewhat important to attracting and retaining employees”. Maybe that is one of the reasons why Air France’s logo on LinkedIn is dark blue and green, and not white and red?
Composed with about 70% of water, our dear planet Earth is also known as the Blue Planet. Do our efforts in developing sustainably in order to preserve our planet for future generations make blue the color of sustainability?
THINK BLUE, VOLKSWAGEN’S STRATEGY
With their BlueMotion car models, VW went beyond and embedded the blue color in their whole sustainability strategy: Think Blue. Their main goal is “to lead by example”, i.e. act sustainably and inspire others through their actions. Their commitment is to become by 2018 “the world’s most ecologically sustainable car manufacturer”. For a city like Istanbul, the 2nd-most-congested-city in the world, this is quite of a challenge! Being sponsor for the 2nd time at Crystal Apple Festival of Creativity, but as the main sponsor this year, VW Think Blue concept will hopefully help rising people’s awareness about sustainability issues.
In another area, the blue color helps draw attention on another environmental matter: water. So far, environmental issues and even environmental-related treaties were more focused on “land-related issues”: deforestation, air pollution, oil or mining exploitation. The importance given to water started discreetly, but now thanks to documentaries like The Cove, attention to the underwater starts to grow. Mission Blue, a Netflix documentary, co-produced and co-directed by Robert Nixon and actor Fisher Stevens, depicts the living legend, Dr. Sylvia Earle’s quest on preserving the underwater from the dangers of human activities on the aquatic world.
Initially Mission Blue is a global initiative of the Sylvia Earle Alliance (SEA) aiming to build a global network of marine protected areas. To this objective, Dr. Earle urged people “to use all means at your disposal — films, expeditions, the web, new submarines — to create a campaign to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas; Hope Spots large enough to save and restore the blue heart of the planet.” Droga5 used social means very well to raise awareness on water scarcity.
UNICEF Tap Project was conceived in order to raise awareness around water crisis and generate support and actions to overcome it. Droga5 started to work on the communication side since 2007. Their campaigns were quite of a success, involving social media usage and celebrities. In 2013, Droga5 has even turned the world’s largest social network into a water network!
According to the OCHA 2012 report our smartphones are using more computing power than NASA used to send a man to the moon. Let’s use this power to raise awareness about sustainability issues!
For its 1st edition, the Kristal Elma Yaratıcılık Festivali was full of amazing campaigns and speakers with sustainable messages! Here is a selection of very inspiring ones!
1- Promote a fair balance in today’s world Mercedes Erra, the President Executive of Havas worldwide and BETC founder, pointed out that balance between men and women help organizations to progress. She highlighted major facts of 2007 UNICEF Gender Equality study: “women perform 66% of the world’s work, produce 50% of the food, but earn 10% of the income and own 1% of the property”. To change such figures, people should go beyond the stereotypes; stereotypes that unfortunately everyone’s has. The big challenge to undertake is a cultural change embedded with the principle of sharing.
2- Small World Machines: a means to go beyond frontiers Jonathan Mildenhall, the Vice President of The Coca Cola Company, presented amazing campaigns. One of them was the initiative named “Small World Machines – Bringing India and Pakistan together”. Through this machine, Indian and Pakistanis people could interact, connect, play and share happiness with one another. Participants noticed that both sides had actually a lot in common. Such initiative shows how breaking down barriers and stereotypes could be actually easy – especially in today’s world networks! – and bring so much: new friends!
3- Raise awareness about child mortality in India As presented by Sonal Dabral, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of DDB Mudra, a great campaign has been made to raise awareness about child mortality due to water hygiene. The film aimed to show that with basic solutions, such as washing hands correctly, could save so many lives.
4- Engage people to create sustainable solutions François Petavy, CEO of eYeka, presented a great project launched by eYeka for Unilever. eYeka’s community members – a potential of 250.500 creative individuals – can compete in a contest by designing an original and revolutionary shower system for the next generation of showers, that combines an enjoyable experience with preservation of the environment; in other word a sustainable shower for the future.
5- Innovation as a key word Christophe Cauvy, JWT European Head of Digital & Innovation, taught us that innovation is linked to creativity and that “Innovation is important because it is at the heart of our clients corporate and marketing strategy”. Innovation is also a team work in the sense that it is through the interaction with others, that one’s get inspired and innovates. He pointed out that the physicist Geoffrey West recently discovered that a larger city is more innovative. In other words, West’s Power Law suggests that a resident of a city with 5 million people is 3 times more creative than the inhabitant of a town with 100.000! Istanbul counts about 17 million people… so do the math!
And what innovation has brought us recently? Well, it brought a new Nike store made up with 100% trash in Shanghai! Because we learn from our mistake, major corporations, which counted some flaws in the past, are actually now walking more and more on the path of being more sustainable. SMEs create sustainability solutions, as a rule of their core business; but the impact is more significant when big global corporations embrace them and engage their audience.
Hope to see the same casting and additional cast members next season!