The Environment Is Under Threat, but Not in the Way You Think

Nearly 50 years ago, the U.S. passed legislation to ensure the air we breathe and water we drink is clean, and that endangered animals and federal lands are protected. For 20 years, enforcement of these laws ranged from full swing or lapsed, depending on the political winds. And then something remarkable occurred: the American people took over and started a movement, spurring action to protect the environment.

Today, with 195 countries and over 1 billion people participating, Earth Day has taken on a life of its own. Heightened awareness of the scary state of water – in our tap, our oceans and our soil – is making 2018 the year of clean water.

I firmly believe that clean water is a fundamental right in life, but it’s hard to focus on water when there are so many pressing issues that need addressing, from hunger, education, mental illness, and gun rights to gender issues and disaster relief.

Apparently, I’m not alone. For the past three years, Ketchum Purpose has conducted a study on the Causes Americans Care About. Each year, a few causes such as animal welfare consistently rise to the top, but this year it seems like the overall cause landscape has become more fragmented, with the data showing less concentration of support around a short list of causes than in 2016 and 2017. On the one hand, this is encouraging because it could indicate that overall social consciousness is growing among American consumers.

But it is might also mean that our attention span is fragmented, too. There is no shortage of headlines about information overload. And anyone who is even an occasional user of social media has been bombarded with words and pictures that tug at our heart strings, as well as appeals for support that tug at our purse strings. While these campaigns and the needs behind them are all important, the competition for mind-share among potential supporters is so intense that it can be difficult for NGOs or companies pursuing socially responsible activities to stand out.

So what’s an organization to do?

The shifting landscape of consumer attitudes revealed in this year’s study shows that it’s important to dig into the consumer insights, track year-over-year changes and note the differences by demographic so that you make decisions that will maximize the social and financial impact of your purpose-related initiatives. It is equally important to:

Stay True to Your Brand:
Monitor outside influences that may impact people’s attitudes, but don’t lose sight of your brand values. Accept that you may lose customers; however, the ones that remain tend to be very loyal.

Plan for Sparks:
With the proliferation of social media, it can be hard to anticipate what may turn a spark into a flame (or a full-on crisis). Planning and thinking sideways may help you anticipate potential issues and better prepare a response.

Don’t Neglect the Basics:
Preserving the earth is paramount to our ability to live and thrive. No matter what major causes your organization supports, reducing your environmental footprint should become part of your corporate DNA.

Fight for Mind-share:
Land on a message that works for your brand and make sure it is carried through in all your communications.

With Earth Day around the corner, it is interesting to note that the study showed the environment had one of the largest drops in support – 10 percentage points from 2016 to 2018. This might be explained by the fact that other causes competed more successfully for consumer mind-share, but the environment as a cause is also under threat because it is polarizing and, as shown by Pew research on how Americans view environmental issues, it has been caught in the web of a growing partisan divide in the U.S.

Seeing the environment drop in popularity as a cause is rather scary. After all, without clean air, water and soil, all the other issues we care about are irrelevant. So, on April 22, no matter what other causes are high on your organization’s list, do something active to help preserve the environment. Because if our actual landscape is in peril, there won’t be a metaphoric cause landscape to talk about.

A similar version of this post can be found on www.sustainablebrands.com.

The Democrats just sued the Trump campaign Watergate-style

The Democratic Party has filed suit against President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Russian government, and Wikileaks, claiming a broad conspiracy that helped Trump win the 2016 election. The multi-million-dollar lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court on Friday, The Washington Post reported. The suit alleges that the Russian government conspired with top Trump campaign officials to …

The Democratic Party has filed suit against President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Russian government, and Wikileaks, claiming a broad conspiracy that helped Trump win the 2016 election.

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Can Online Retail Solve Its Packaging Problem?

A new wave of reusable packaging companies are trying to mitigate the waste from the billions of online purchases made each year. But it’s an uphill battle.

If you order a T-shirt or hoodie from an online store called Toad & Co, the checkout screen now has an extra button that says “reuse.” Choose it, and your order will arrive in a reusable package. When you take your clothing out, you flip the label around and put the bag back in the mailbox instead of in the trash, so the company can use it again for the next customer.

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Starbucks to angry Facebookers: We can’t deny this is a race issue

Last week, two black men were arrested in Philadelphia for sitting in a Starbucks. In the face of such apparent racism and growing demands to #BoycottStarbucks, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson announced that every company-owned store in the United States would close on May 29 for “racial-bias education.” It’s a bold, necessary move that will cost the company …

Last week, two black men were arrested in Philadelphia for sitting in a Starbucks. In the face of such apparent racism and growing demands to #BoycottStarbucks, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson announced that every company-owned store in the United States would close on May 29 for “racial-bias education.”

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How much is Harry Potter really worth?

Just when you thought J.K. Rowling’s ubiquitous boy wizard couldn’t conquer new territory, Harry Potter is making his official Broadway debut this weekend with the opening of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The show was a huge hit on London’s West End, and it’s already crashing ceilings in New York: In previews, it just set …

Just when you thought J.K. Rowling’s ubiquitous boy wizard couldn’t conquer new territory, Harry Potter is making his official Broadway debut this weekend with the opening of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The show was a huge hit on London’s West End, and it’s already crashing ceilings in New York: In previews, it just set a weekly box-office record for a nonmusical.

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Amazon finally reveals how many Prime users it has

https_blueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.comuploadscardimage7571428f1759fb-6a13-4fcb-9eaf-ce57bf16ced2Finally, Amazon is spilling the beans on Prime membership.

The online retailer has been famously opaque about how many of its users pay for Prime, its annual subscription service. Now, in a letter to shareholders, CEO Jeff Bezos has revealed that Amazon has more than 100 million paid Prime members. Not too shabby, Jeff.

“In 2017 Amazon shipped more than five billion items with Prime worldwide, and more new members joined Prime than in any previous year – both worldwide and in the U.S. Members in the U.S. now receive unlimited free two-day shipping on over 100 million different items,” Bezos wrote.

Bezos shared other milestones about Marketplace, Alexa, devices, music streaming, and more — often relying on his favorite numerical stat, “tens of millions.” (Which, let’s be clear, could mean anything from 10 million to… 99 million).

According to the letter, 2017 was Amazon’s best year for hardware sales ever.

“Customers bought tens of millions of Echo devices, and Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick with Alexa were the best-selling products across all of Amazon – across all categories and all manufacturers,” Bezos wrote.

Bezos also shared details (sort of) about Amazon Music.

“Amazon Music continues to grow fast and now has tens of millions of paid customers,” Bezos wrote. “Amazon Music Unlimited, our on-demand, ad-free offering, expanded to more than 30 new countries in 2017, and membership has more than doubled over the past six months.”

At least we now know that tens of millions subscribe to Prime!

The Economist Discomfort Future by Sense wins Campaign Media Award

The Discomfort Future campaign designed to grow The Economist’s subscriber base, run by experiential marketing agency Sense, has won Best Use of Experiential at this year’s prestigious Campaign Media Awards.

This is the latest in a host of accolades that Sense’s work for the iconic business newspaper has received following the launch of the first experiential campaign in August 2016. Since that date, 30,500 subscriptions have been generated along with significant positive shifts in brand perception, and the campaign continues this year under the Feeding Future theme.

The judges were impressed with the campaign’s proven success and the fact that it continues to perform strongly –  with the mirroring of the newspaper’s most stimulating content brought to life in a real world context being instrumental to this. 

“We’re delighted with this fantastic award, which is now the 17th for a campaign that has been a pleasure to run and which keeps on delivering great results, showing the power of real world marketing that puts people first,” said Sense Director Sally McLaren. “It’s testament to our outstanding creative and operational teams in London and New York, together with our strong relationship with The Economist, that we have been able to consistently target, attract and engage the right audience and significantly increase reader numbers.”

The post The Economist Discomfort Future by Sense wins Campaign Media Award appeared first on Sense London.

Experiential continues to buck marketing trend with rise in budgets for Q1 2018

The growth in marketing spend in the UK continued to increase in the first quarter (Q1) of 2018, according to the latest IPA Bellwether figures, but the rate of 5% was the slowest in two years and down from 8.6% in Q4 2017.

Experiential marketing, however, blazed a trail being the only discipline to show increased investment with budgets growing 7.8% up 5.5% from the previous quarter.

This rise closed the gap on the strongest performing category of internet marketing, in which investment grew by 8.7%. This was down from the Q4 2017 figure and the lowest since the end of 2015.

Main media advertising, meanwhile, slipped into negative territory, falling from +1.7% in Q4 2017 to -2.1% in Q1 2018, the first time since Q3 2016 the net balance has been below zero.

Despite the muted expectations, The Bellwether Report noted the apparent resilience of the market and revised upwards its forecasts of adspend growth for the year just gone from 1.4% to 1.7%. It expects the rate of growth to drop sharply in 2018 (0.8%) and 2019 (0.4%), thanks to a combination of Brexit-related uncertainties and ongoing pressure on household finances which will restrain consumption.

Dr Paul Smith, Director at IHS Markit and author of the Bellwether Report, noted that despite the uncertainties and a loss of momentum since last summer “growth is being sustained meaning the longest bull-run in the survey history continues” – although he also observed that “the degree of optimism is the lowest in five years”.

Read the full IPA Bellwether Report summary

The post Experiential continues to buck marketing trend with rise in budgets for Q1 2018 appeared first on Sense London.