News & Events | Emily Hill - 1HQ Intern

A breakfast masterclass on #SustainablePurpose


The guests all arrived bright and early on Thursday 19 July, at the Museum of Brands in Central London to hear from Clare Cotton, Associate Director for Brand & Innovation at 1HQ. With experience and expertise to help transform brands and increase their engagement with sustainable purposes, Clare spoke about how to make your sustainability story deliver real consumer value. Representatives from larger global brands such as Unilever and emerging brands like Rude Health attended and engaged in conversation over much needed caffeine and a sustainably sourced breakfast.

Clare began the talk by discussing the importance and value of getting behind sustainability and how, if successfully implemented, it can translate into huge brand growth. Companies that clearly articulated their sustainable purpose experienced an 82% growth, so, as Clare mentioned “it’s best to be on this bandwagon”!

In fact, the millennial generation, in particular, are more likely to work for companies that contribute to society in some way. Consumers are more aware of the impact their choices make and are considering the effects upon the environment and others more than ever; we called this the “blue planet effect”.

As a result, brands and retail companies are reacting rapidly to reducing plastic packaging due to increased environmental concerns. Consideration and the ethics surrounding choice are becoming more important, therefore Clare noted that “getting deeper meaning into your brand can drive sales”.

However, Clare raised an all-important One Hard Question: what exactly is sustainable brand purpose and what is sustainability?

Firstly, it is much more than environmental consideration. The talk touched upon the relevance of looking at the UN’s sustainable development goals and how these should be tailored to our own actions when creating a brand story.

The group were tasked in thinking about sustainable brands by ranking 12 examples from best to worst, which created a lot of buzz and debate! Opinions darted around the room and discussions ended up going on for some time.

"1HQ presented themselves at the forefront of the sustainability discussion. The interactive tasks brought people from all different brands and companies together to get the conversation going. This really helps to create shared value for your consumers”. Lucy Squires, Nestle
Image credit: 1HQ

Clare then stated the significance of identifying successful brand “Halos” and sustainability issues in your brand “shadows” using examples to drive the message home. The group looked at Dove’s social impact and their successful body positivity campaign that resonated with consumers and Nike’s ‘Reuse-a-shoe’ programme that brought consumers and communities together.  Linking environmental and social impact in a business is key to creating a sustainable brand purpose and building consumer trust.

I spoke to Eliza Elliot from Rude Health, who commented:

“I found this session and presentation to be incredibly insightful and I liked the unique blend of statistics and case studies to explore sustainable branding. It delivered exactly what I was looking for and I learnt a lot”

Below are my top take aways from Clare’s talk:

  • Identify the weak points known as “shadows” in your brand.
  • Communicate what you are doing successfully for your brand sustainability “halos”.
  • Finally, remember that it’s important to consider a long-term sustainability strategy. A long-term vision helps you to convey a clear sustainable brand purpose to your consumer.
Enjoy your thought pieces like this by subscribing to our 'cue' magazine