Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tell Me Something Good

Here’s an interesting one. Share a scary problem with someone without giving them a solution, and they’re less likely to believe there is a problem.

That’s the guts of an outtake from a study by UC Berkeley about people’s perceptions of global warming. The study says that warnings about the catastrophic implications of global warming threaten people’s fundamental tendency to see the world as safe, stable and fair. As a result there is a danger that they will dispute the evidence on global warming and may even cut back on their plans to reduce their carbon footprint.

On the other hand, earlier experiments show that when presented with possible solutions to global warming at the same time as the doomsday scenarios, people have greater confidence that we can beat this thing.

While that seems obvious, I like the angle on human nature. It suggests that in our heart we believe that any dire prediction not accompanied by a strong dose of hope is actually incomplete. It says we’re optimists when it counts, and sends a message to start with the answer and work back to the solution.

This rings true with the shift from Green to TRUE BLUE action. Time to throw out the top-down baggage of the old sustainability and the scaremongering that comes with it. Get ready for a fresh approach from the people-up.

1 comment:

Secretly Famous said...

KR, your blogs continue to stir the senses!

I followed the TRUE BLUE link on this post which took me to a previous blog about the DOT campaign. It touched a few nerves, particularly the comments which followed the original post. The heated debate which ensued was very interesting but only managed to highlight the perceived problems with the strategy (which I agree are unfounded) without anyone offering a better way.

I think the wrong questions were being asked.

I’ve hesitated to comment previously as my thoughts were not fully formed but I realise you welcome an alternative view and hope my observations are received with the good will intended.

Here’s the thing... there is no doubt (in my mind) that the DOT strategy is the right one. But that’s the problem - it’s a strategy.

Why did Apple not just call themselves BOC? (Buy Our Computers). Because people don’t like to be ordered to do something. We’re not going to war, the goal is to make peace. And who wants to be a DOT? I appreciate that DOT provides a useful memory aid for the strategy but can it sustain the sort of lifetime bonds synonymous a Lovemark?

After all, the essence of Lovemarks methodology is to make people fall in love with you (through mystery, intimacy and sensuality), so they are loyal beyond reason. Keep ordering someone around and they may just go AWOL!

The problem seems to be that when it comes to sustainability we don’t treat it like a brand, never mind a Lovemark. We cease to use all the wonderfully manipulative tricks and techniques we’ve used over the years to entice people to buy products and services.

To make sustainability truly irresistible, it needs to become an instinct not a chore. We need to stop treating it like a disease, as you say it’s time to throw out the scaremongering.

The world needs an aspirational brand (a Lovemark!) that transcends categorization and captures the very essence of what is required on an individual basis to have the wider necessary impact. Something which represents the distinct link between happiness and being more sustainable, in every sense and scale of the word. In other words, the spirit of sustainability.

It needs to be in tune with society as a whole, resonating with people on a personal level in the knowledge that they are part of something bigger than themselves.

Here’s a quote which has stayed with me from a KR speech in relation to sustainability, “So what is the secret of sustainability? Work with complex opposites at the same time so they enhance each other, without compromise. Unleash the power of paradox across markets”. Another stand out quote from a KR blog came from Saatchi & Saatchi Pakistan, “To sustain the world, we must sustain the soul”.

A fresh approach from the people-up... What are you ‘Secretly Famous’ for?