Following the recent withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement, environmental sustainability is again on the forefront of political and social conversations. The Paris Agreement was a huge win for global policy on commitment to ensure a future of our planet and its inhabitants. In fact, the only two countries that did not sign were Nicaragua, that wanted tougher punishments for non-compliance and Syria, who had bigger problems at hand.

Unignorable recognition

It is estimated that by 2050, there will be 2.5billion more people on Earth. With everyone seeking higher standards of living, it means that will experience exponential shortages in resources. On the upside, Trump’s official pull-out of the US out of the Agreement, did not stop the commitment of the rest of the nation. With many of US local governments and companies declaring that they would nonetheless stick to the agreed standards, it is evident that sustainability is an increasingly important business area for companies. In addition, consumers’ own habits are changing in line with the rising awareness. So, what does all this mean for the future of brand communication?

Beyond Green Marketing

Growing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) brings with it a different breed of marketing. While before, sustainability-focused marketing risked a distrust in product quality, today an evolution in marketing strategies takes brands beyond Green Marketing and into sustainable, long-term business growth. Brands realise that if they wish to stick around in the future, they must develop sustainably. Marketing strategies are starting to focus on future consumers and their needs, with sustainability at the heart of the brand identity and brand communication
Heineken’s Tiger Beer won a Gold Lion in Cannes this year for their global Air-Ink campaign. Tiger captured and transformed the pollution from their delivery trucks into ink that was then used to create a stand-out OOH art campaign.

Raising awareness

Of course, the fundamental goal of building a positive brand perception has always been a key reason to communicate on CSR. To achieve this, brands turn to OOH as it offers the kind of mass reach and fast cover build unparalleled by other media. Increased awareness among consumers is affecting their purchase choices so brands must evolve their product and quickly communicate on the changes to stay competitive. Some brands like Unilever or Coca-Cola even go a step further, using their high profile to raise awareness on larger sustainability issues outside their core business
Uniqlo Heat Teach window OOH campaign was shortlisted at Cannes Lions this year. The campaign was in line with their Heat Tech clothing range and helped consumers save 20% on their winter heating costs.

Shaping purchasing habits

There are brands with the foresight to anticipate consumer needs before they even verbalise them, before they come to the forefront of shoppers’ minds. These brands are shaping the market and educating consumers about the consequences of their purchasing choices. These brands pick OOH for its real-life presence. They pick the most relevant environments to build a dialogue with a receptive target audience. Consumers in turn react positively as they real-life interaction is surprising, it breaks their routine, it catches attention and ensures a high message recall.
Although an online ad offers hyper-targeting, its small-screen delivery cannot challenge the physical and dominating presence of an OOH campaign. Brands use the power of OOH to create interactive and innovative communication which puts the consumer choices firmly into perspective. A campaign displaying the physical effects of sustainability (or lack thereof) is compelling enough to change the shopping habits of consumers.

In the end, the next generation of sustainable marketing is not only about raising awareness of responsible brands, but rather it is about encouraging a new generation of responsible consumerism

About JCDecaux Creative Solutions

Creative Solutions is an international division of JCDecaux that brings innovative Out-of-Home (OOH) concepts to on-street reality. Creative Solutions campaigns grab attention and build a dialogue with target audiences.
Whether special builds or Dynamic Content, dedicated teams around the world use the latest technologies to optimise campaigns across all OOH environments.

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