Building a Purpose Driven Brand - One Cup of Coffee at a Time

February 25, 2016

Embarking on my daily walk of 15 blocks from Grand Central to West 27th Street, I stop in one of my usual Starbucks haunts on the corner of 31st and 6th. I get my typical order of a skimmed (or non-fat as these Americans like to call it) latte (I save the tastier full fat lattes for a weekend treat) and I leave with my usual faint twinge of guilt. Guilt? But you ordered the skimmed latte! Fortunately, that element of guilt I’ve managed to mitigate; this guilt comes in the form of a white paper cup.

Every time I buy a coffee I get it to go and every time I’m done enjoying my milky morning treat I put my used cup in one of the thousands of trashcans around the city. Each day I notice oodles of trash collectors picking up those coffee cups and each day I think of the thousands of landfill sites across the globe containing my - and every other New Yorker’s or Londoner’s or any major city in the world with a coffee shop on every corner - discarded coffee cups.

Awakened Brands

This morning I read a short eBook called Awakened Brands by Virginie Glaenzer. The book discusses the need for brands to be aware of the changing face of consumerism. Customers are becoming increasingly aware of what they buy and from whom they purchase; they are becoming more brand conscious. People are making choices about the brands they want to be associated with based on how they view the world; buying from particular brands holds meaning for them and, according to Virginie, companies are beginning to see the need to tap into the emotions of their buyers in a way they never have before.

It seems this morning I was awakened. I realized that my morning coffee is no longer just about coffee; it’s about what I stand for in this crazy world, and I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

Consumers are driving brand behavior

Consumers are demanding that brands get on the eco-friendly bandwagon and, thankfully, many corporations are sitting up and listening to their needs. Organizations are beginning to raise their level of brand consciousness when it comes to the environment. One example is the US cities that have banned one-use plastic bags in grocery stores. Whether you agree or don’t agree with the ban, it’s one example of how people are becoming more conscious of their carbon footprint.

Starbucks is one of those brands. It recycles and reduces waste, in part by its introduction of a reusable cup program. It drives and supports water and energy conservation, and it’s working to fight climate change.

There are many more who are leading the way in providing purpose driven products for customers. Ikea is aiming to ‘think within the capabilities of our planet’ by designing furnishings that meet the increasing environmentally friendly needs of consumers. Hilton is also pushing for environment preservation by being more energy efficient, reducing waste and using renewable energies. These are three of the many companies that are making strides towards becoming more sustainable brands.

We can all make a difference

With consciousness in mind, today I made a stand. No more disposable coffee cups. I bought a reusable cup, and I will carry it with pride. Although my change might be a small one, the more we make environmentally conscious choices, the more we will influence the brands we purchase goods from every day to protect our world and make for a greener future.

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