Guilt Free Consumption

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“Future generations [will] shudder at the way in which we today fill our homes, our cities and our landscape with a chaos of assorted junk.” Dieter Rams

And here in lies the problem: many of our job roles – the means by which agencies and brands earn their daily bread – are diametrically opposed to the very idea of sustainability, as outlined by the iconic industrial designer.

Industry first has to assuage its own guilt about making a profit before convincing others that it’s a-ok to go shopping for a pair of jeans. Or to replace a mobile phone. Or take a plane ride.

Guilt free consumption is either a) not knowing b) not caring c) knowing and caring d) knowing and caring enough to change user habits.

See, even the options are exhausting, which is why many of us settle for ‘a’ and ‘b’, while placating ourselves with ‘c’. Option ‘d’ rarely comes into the equation. But it will. And it must.

This value set boils down to one of a few things: do you work at the behest of a brand or the people whom that brand serves. Whether you indeed see yourself as a brand with either public or industry accountability can determine outcomes. As a business invested in culture, Let’s Be Brief’s main stakeholders are the man and woman on the street. As a public facing organisation, we are accountable to those punters through the work that we do and the services we create.

Client / partner relationships are an intrinsic part of achieving outcomes that serve the end user as much as they serve ourselves. What success we’ve had thus far has been due to our ability to make these goals clear to all who cross our paths. Not to sound like Martin Luther King or anything, but our aim is to always walk towards those goals with steadfast dedication.

Good is now marketed with the same tactical aplomb as the marketing of Coke. Hell, good is Coke. And so too is Happiness. But if ‘good’ and happiness are to be achieved in any meaningful, tangible sense by both brand and consumer, then meeting this guilt head on is the only way. Because smaller, more agile businesses run by individuals / collectives who have often experienced roles within the monolith are tackling guilt by lessening the need for this time honoured emotion.

Whether big business has the power to undergo meaningful reform will, to a greater extent, be defined by how far into the future they choose to focus. It can be difficult to both look to the horizon whilst paying attention to the ground beneath ones feet. But there is a need to do both, because like the Arctic ice caps, that ground is moving fast.

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Ansel Neckles will be taking part in the ‘Guilt Free Consumption’ panel as part of Trendwatching 2015 London conference on June 2

LBB readers can receive a 30% discount on ticket prices by quoting ‘LBB’

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