How will brands change the world?

The climate crisis, third world development, and the next frontier

Businesses have realized the potential of being sustainable and doing the right thing – it’s profitable. Brands are under attack for issues such as carbon emissions. our attitudes. In fact. and our opinions are all influenced by brands on a daily basis. They have active environmental policies and are able to communicate them effectively to their market. Meanwhile. Brands are heeding the desires of their consumers and acting responsibly and taking action to combat climate change. In the UK brands such as Tesco. They have long given up on the government to solve the problem and are turning to brands to create change. Brands are being forced to embrace doing the right thing. Simon Anholt’s book. third world development. HP.” This is a bold statement. power consumption. Branding and Third World Development raises an interesting idea about how brands can benefit third word nations. 79 percent of consumers would rather buy from companies doing their best to reduce their impact upon the environment. HP has committed to reducing its energy consumption by 25 percent. Advertising has a grip on us all. encouraging consumers to follow suit with advice on how it too can help reduce their carbon footprint. indicates that consumers are generally receptive to companies that are working to tackle climate change. Climate change is on everyone’s lips. or human exploration for better or worse? The hot topic Brands are facing a tough time right now. We are shaped by the brands we buy into. 2 How will brands change the world?: The climate crisis. waste disposal. recovering two billion pounds of electronics by 2010 and reducing the world’s emissions with their energy efficient products. but how might brands change the world in our uncertain future? How might brands affect issues such as climate change. 90 percent of which sit down to Microsoft everyday. There are close to one billion computer users in the world. due to a carbon footprint of two percent of world emissions. A Havas Media report revealed that consumers are calling upon brands to tackle the climate crisis. brands have the power to change the world in a big way. This is in response to consumers desire for their brands to be environmentally responsible. famine. the IT industry takes a lot of criticism for its contribution to climate change. Brands are everywhere.Interbrand | Pg. and the impact of packaging. what we spend our hard earned cash on. the lifestyles we aspire to. It strongly promotes its sustainability stance. they win loyalty from consumers and profit. the opinions we align ourselves with. We live in a world where more people know Coca-Cola than Jesus. influencing our daily lives. But brands have a tremendous power to change developing nations for the good. The Co-operative. Our behaviors. recycling. Apple. In Tokyo. but a true one. and Nike signed the Tokyo Declaration – a commitment to reduce emissions and the impact on the planet. Apple has made a host of promises in its environmental policy that includes removing toxic chemicals from products and a rigorous recycling program. Marks & Spencer. BP. Increasingly brands are adopting environmental policies and are promoting them through advertising campaigns. and Sainsbury’s are being praised for their leadership in tackling the climate crisis. Sony. The idea is that third world countries export . The list goes on. our world has been dramatically changed by brands. while 89 percent are likely to buy more green goods in the next 12 months and 35 percent are willing to pay a premium for those goods. The third market Brands and the developing world have generally not been a success story with horror stories about human rights. Consumers are also wise to which companies are credibly making changes and those that are not. Research done by The Climate Group. we have a mantra – “Brands have the power to change the world. If the brands are responsible for the emissions and are now prepared to change their ways due to consumer demand. Bands have already changed the world. 12 leading companies including Allianz. then perhaps there is hope for the planet yet. Nokia. exploitation. February 2008. and Microsoft have taken this to heart and come out as clear leaders in this sector. and harsh working conditions. and the next frontier by Chris Maclean At Interbrand. For this reason. By communicating their commitments to environmental responsibility. Brands around the world are also taking notice and taking measures to remedy the climate problem.

the foundation aims to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology. and News Corporation – each of them donating two million dollars.7 billion and it intends to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty globally. It seems unlikely that the US will be repeating such a world-uniting act in the near future with overheads like that. Sponsors of the project include eBay.” It can be hand cranked for power and has a specially designed operating system based on Linux. Counter that to the 600 billion dollars spent since 2003 on the Iraq war. which includes three days of preflight training. American Express. or improve the code. The final brand frontier Nearly forty years since Neil Armstrong uttered those famous words on the surface of the moon. package. meaning it is open for developers to add to. SpaceShipOne. In today’s political climate. The estimated cost of the space race in the 1970s was about 100 billion dollars in today’s money. Jamaica’s first brand which is exported all over the world. Paul Allen. It must donate at least five percent annually which amounts to a minimum of over US$ 1. Proof again that brands recognize the financial gain from sustainability. The fact that consumers are willing to back brands that participate in changing the world points to a promising outlook. Initiatives have already begun to capture this lucrative market. It will carry six passengers on flights that will last two and a half hours. as are a few other big IT companies. It is expected that around US $120 million will be invested in developing the new generation of spaceships and ground infrastructure required to operate Virgin Galactic. consumers are ready to back brands that are making attempts to do the right thing. This may sound like fantasy until you discover that the first venture for commercial space travel. and the next frontier Interbrand | Pg. an open source operating system. it was an exercise not only to put a man on the moon. Dell. (RED) is keen to point and Melinda Gates foundation has an endowment of US $38. Proof of this can be seen with projects such as (RED). there may be hope yet. a not-for-profit brand. but also to develop a new customer base for Microsoft? No doubt IT is on the agenda for developing Africa. It seems that Microsoft is showing a very keen interest in this market. at no extra cost to the consumer. However. However. The One Laptop Per Child Association (OLPC) is a non-profit organization responsible for overseeing the creation and distribution of an affordable educational device for use in the third world. but also to stick one to the Russians – giving the voters what they wanted on two counts. that distributes medicine to AIDS and HIV patients in Africa.How will brands change the world: the climate crisis.000 and US $175. reaching a speed of Mach 3. have the funding for commercial space travel. Is the foundation not only an attempt to do the right thing. after a deal with Microsoft. will be about US $200. Emporio Armani. co-founded by Bono.000 each – not your average beach holiday and initially only for the super wealthy. Richard Branson has recognized this hugely untapped market and Virgin will be the world’s first brand to license the SpaceShipOne technology with a new company – Virgin Galactic. The craft was developed by aviation legend Burt Rutan and built by his company. Scaled Composites. Apple had originally offered its OSX operating system for free but the designers declined because they wanted an operating system that could be tinkered with. The XO-1 is the current project – a low cost laptop. is solely funded by none other than Microsoft co-founder. the cheapest seat As with climate change.000. This would raise employment and have other economic benefits. consumers are ready to back brands that are making attempts to do the right thing. third world development. there has been little advancement in human space travel. All passengers after that will pay a deposit of only US $20. but a business model. Converse. If these countries could reverse the process. Virgin expects to create around 3000 new astronauts in the first five years. Leading brands release a limited edition (RED) product and donate a percentage of the profits back to (RED) to distribute medicine. heavy investment to land a man on Mars seems unlikely. The price of a ticket. and sell as brands. Private enterprises. 3 too much raw primary produce for wealthier countries to process. When President Kennedy captured the imagination of the world with the space race. Examples exist where this has already happened such as the Indian perfume Urvashi. Google. and Microsoft Windows. they could export it for a higher margin as a branded product. In the United States. Bill Gates has taken a major step down from his position at Microsoft to concentrate on giving his billions to charity. out that it is not a charity. Likewise. the XO-1 will now be offered with Microsoft Windows alongside an open source alternative. into suborbit for a few minutes of zero gravity and to see the humbling sight of the earth’s curve.000 for the first 100. The Bill . previously called the “Hundred-dollar Laptop. If consumers can shift brands’ attitudes to world issues and vice versa. The next 400 will pay a deposit between US $100. or brands. Brands that have become (RED) include Apple’s iPod. But are they attempting to solve the third world problem for karma or for commercial gain? Time will tell. We need to look to alternatives to government funded space programs if space exploration will continue. which is popular in Paris. and Red Stripe beer. producing the finished product themselves.5 billion. with climate change.

Who knows – one day. SpaceShipOne claimed the Ansari X Prize. In years to come space tourism could become a highly profitable business as brands start to look further afield for holiday destinations.How will brands change the world: the climate crisis. developed. And as more brands begin to associate themselves with aiding the third world – understanding that consumers support brands that are actively creating change for the better – they may contribute to finding a way out of the poverty and economic struggles in this region as well.000. a suborbital space tourism operation due to take passengers once a week starting in 2010. branding itself could be the answer to improving economic wealth by allowing nations to export finished product rather than raw produce. The plan is to terraform the planet to make the atmosphere breathable.000. one day. and Paris Hilton – spot the odd one out. maybe Mars? Perhaps space exploration will have to be driven by private enterprises. Amazon founder. So. which are expecting to begin flights in 2012 at a cost per ticket of about US $315. The first manned mission is planned for 2016. ■ . Armadillo Aerospace is a startup aerospace company that plans to not only join the suborbital space tourism market. Branson’s ticket is at least competitive. It seems the future is bright. 4 to date for a space flight on a government spacecraft cost over US $15 million. third world development. which gives prizes to teams that fulfill a pre-set goal that will benefit humanity. British Airways. Other competitors include Rocketplane Global. As Simon Anholt suggests. but has also stated plans for orbital space travel. Only recently. Maybe we’ll see brands such as Qantas. That really would be giant leap for mankind. and EADS Astrium. Brands are also recognizing the potential for doing the right thing for the third world. Perhaps their interest in this untapped market can get us all on the same page technologically. Virgin and Google have joined forces to launch Virgle — a project to colonize Mars. manned spacecraft. among the first wave of passengers will be William Shatner. Failing active research and development from governments. these two brand powerhouses have announced their 100-year plan to set up the city of Virgle on Mars. who know where they could end up taking us? One thing’s for sure – wherever it is. Colonization will be in its advanced stages by 2108. it seems that brands might have the power to change other worlds too. seems interested in developing Africa and other developing nations. The follow up spacecraft. and fed. and the next frontier Interbrand | Pg. The IT industry. But. The whole project came about by the X Prize foundation. Jeff Bezos has privately funded Blue Origin. With brands at the helm of space tourism research and development. will begin taking passengers in 2010. SpaceShipTwo. brands can take us there too. Sigourney Weaver. In 2004. Interestingly. We are about to enter a new era of space tourism and within a decade or two commercial space travel will be a possibility for a large number of us. Branson has already stated his goal to give access to space for many countries across the globe so competition seems inevitable. or American Airlines take to the challenge of competing in the low orbit space travel sector. In the absence of a contingency plan for when Earth becomes uninhabitable. yet you’ll most likely have to pay for the cost of a sandwich on top of that. Inc. The future’s green. The future is bright It is clear that brands will undoubtedly play a major part in shaping our future. Perhaps when brands have cracked the world’s problems we can get back to what used to be important – developing humanity. But can they counter heavy carbon footprints with proactive environmental responsibility? Anything is possible. Maybe. brands could play a major role reversing the problem with their own action and their message to consumers. Space Adventures has been operating space tourism flights since 2001. Steven Hawking. or brands. albeit at a cost of US $20 million a seat.. they’re not the only player in this game. healed. twice in two weeks. you’ll still be able to get a Big Mac and Coke. A number of brands are interested in picking up where governments have failed to deliver and are pioneering a new wave of space tourism experiences. to an altitude of 100 km. which plans suborbital space tourism flights for about US $200. Because consumers are open to supporting environmentally friendly brands. In this case it played the role of President Kennedy offering US $10 million to the first team to launch a reusable. in particular. brands may invest their own profits into advancement beyond earth’s orbit.

amuse. Chris Maclean is responsible for the creative output of both the Melbourne and Sydney Creating and managing brand value TM . Chris is a contributor to Marketing magazine and has been the recipient of numerous prestigious design awards including D&AD. and engage an audience.Chris Maclean As the Creative Director for Interbrand Australia. Type Directors Club. interbrand. Chris’s approach to branding is always about ideas – ideas that make you think. New York Festivals. and the Clio Awards.