Staying relevant in a changing world

Date: 31st January 2019

The modern world is always changing; however it is the increasing pace of change that is quite staggering.

Depending on the type of business or industry in which you operate, changes may be gradual or drastic. In today’s society of social media, instant communication and community activism, no one and no business wants to be on the wrong side of the crowd.

Generally speaking, if you operate a well managed business, that keeps your clients happy, pays the bills and doesn’t destroy the planet in the process, then you should be fine! 

That may sound straightforward, but just look at some of the most successful brands in the world; Apple, Google, Coca-Cola and McDonalds. In many ways these businesses satisfy and provide for both customers and shareholders, but at what cost? 

What has become apparent over the past ten years, and will be a key focus of 2019 is that ‘business as usual’ just isn’t good enough any more. 

Each and every one of us, businesses large and small included, must take a good look at how we are operating, and what impact our actions are having on the world around us. 

The public, clients and consumers are all waking up to the fact that all businesses have a role to play in getting humanity out of the single biggest mess we’ve ever faced; Climate Change. 

Therein lies a great opportunity. 

You can shrug it off, turn a blind eye, or walk the plank to oblivion, but for those who decide to take on the mission, great opportunity awaits. 

Being seen as a leader of positive change in any market can only be a good thing. Being brave enough to confess your sins, lay bare your environmental impacts and to take remedial action will be applauded by all. 

See it as you will; a fad, current trend, PR opportunity or marketing strategy – believe me when I tell you that this problem isn’t going away any time soon.

One thing that will become clear however, will be the line in the sand between those who accept the challenge and do their best for the cause, and those who continue on the wrong path or choose to look the other way.

Business practices must change, and yes, there will be hurdles, but the outcome won’t just be about financial success, but future stability and resilience for us all. 

OK, enough talk, what can we DO?

  • Packaging – unless you haven’t notice, the tide is turning on plastic packaging (and the waves are full of it) – there is no reason why you shouldn’t be using sustainable alternatives. The first question is “do you need packaging at all?” 
  • Marketing materials – gone are the days of mass printing 50,000 leaflets, only to throw the unused 30,000 in the skip. Digital printing allows much more accurate print runs, suited to your needs. Only need 300? Only print 300. You can also make sure that printed materials are on recycled or FSC certified paper. You may be able to go one step further and cut out print altogether – there are plenty of alternative options for digital marketing. 
  • Sourcing – have a quick think about where your products originate. If they are grown in Patagonia, customised in China then printed in Thailand, you’ve got quite the PR disaster on your hands. Think about sourcing eco friendly, locally produced products for your business; less air miles, better paid staff and great for the local economy. 
  • Transport – we all have to get around somehow, so whether you have 100 staff or just 1; switching to the bus, train or fleet of electric vehicles is the way to go. Make sure you’re ahead of the curve – that sign-written EV will turn heads. 
  • Power – I’ve yet to encounter a business that doesn’t consume electricity, so switching to a renewable provider is by far one of the easiest things you can do to make a positive change. Make sure you tell all of your customers about it too, and encourage them to do the same.
  • Community – with the power of social media behind them, communities are growing stronger by the day. Whether tree planting, beach clean ups or community activism is your game, the community will thank you greatly for getting involved.

If you are in the Queenstown Lakes area then I highly recommend you support the work of the following organisations:

Daniel Sweeney - Total BrandHow should you best address the environmental concerns of your clients? Let’s talk.

Posted in: Graphic Design Blog