“Lifestyle: ssomeone’s way of living; the things that a person or particular group of people usually do. In marketing, someone’s way of living, for example the things they usually do, where they live, what they spend their money on” (Cambridge Dictionary)
After defining what lifestyle is, an Anglicism widely used in advertising, marketing and communication, we can address the issue of sustainable lifestyle. Until recently, when talking about a sustainable way of life, the image that came to us immediately was that of a hipster on a bicycle eating avocado with scrambled eggs, on a toast of organic and organic bread. However, this has changed rapidly in recent times: what was the “prerogative” of an urban tribe is today a necessity for all of us, members of human society. The sustainability of our daily actions is the future of a more balanced world.
A sustainable lifestyle, in our view, has three important facets:
– Environmental sustainability, the struggle of civil and religious leaders, which challenges us to review our awareness of how we use the planet and its resources. We are not all obliged to use or like bicycles, but, in fact, ending the dependence on fossil fuels is urgent. Therefore, for sure, all car brands are introducing new electric means of urban mobility. According to the Asian press, even the Chinese consumer is adhering to second-hand items. It is a sign, not only of the impossibility of traveling, but of the awareness of a new mode of consumption;
– economic sustainability, more than ever in this pandemic and post-pandemic phase, it must have other objectives: rethink the bet on what is national and local. Do the restaurants I go to, in addition to “being fashionable”, use national products? Do you give preference to local producers? Is your salary policy fair? We leave the answers, of a sustainable and circular economy, to economists and other specialists;
– Finally, human sustainability. What good is a city that is green, if it is unsustainable from a human point of view, in which citizens do not feel welcomed or happy to live in it? Is a company in which 90% of top positions are held by men because, they say, do not find women for the same functions, is it humanly sustainable? There is no environmental sustainability without human sustainability. We have to consider the degree of satisfaction and happiness in living in such a city, or belonging to another company or brand. In Portugal, we have a good example of support for the Human-Environment relationship: IAPMEI. Located in an old farm on Estrada do Paço do Lumiar, it offers its employees plots of land to cultivate vegetable gardens or gardens, betting on an integrated environment.
Not wanting to tire the reader any further, we think that these three strands are inseparable in a sustainable way of life (lifestyle). But the bottom line is how to get the message across. How to communicate?
The means are immense nowadays, more than those that I had when I started functions in a communication agency, among which social networks and other digital platforms have come to occupy a primordial importance.
However, from what we have been observing recently, we leave some personal reflections:
– It is not enough to have or use the terms “sustainable” or “sustainability” in the information or internal and external communications, running the risk of trivializing the phrase and emptying it of content, like so many other anglicisms (for example, trendy, cozy, sunset, etc.). Who communicates must be within the process and know how to explain why it is sustainable and explain the option. It used to be that way, we did it this way, but not now;
– When we talk about lifestyle, we are dealing with people who, as Aristotle would say, already have habits: some good, who considered virtues and others less good, which, according to him, would be addictions. Therefore, we are talking about changing the consciences and habits of each citizen;
– Communication should, in this sense, be simple and direct, presenting the benefits of a change of mindset and, very importantly, explaining why a certain product or location, and a particular company or brand corresponds to a step forward towards a more sustainable path;
– Any brand, company or service that presents itself as sustainable must understand that sustainability is not a phrase, an object or a collection. It is a way of thinking, of living. Therefore, it is not productive and coherent to present a product supposedly sustainable, from an ecological point of view, when in that brand, company or service there is no bet on economic and human sustainability. It is a whole that communicates. We highlight, as a reading, the interview of the CEO of H&M, talking about the company’s and brand effort in managing the crisis of alleged human rights abuses, in a cotton production site in Xinjiang (China);
– A humanly sustainable society will correspond to a democratic society, transparent, inclusive and, therefore, the bet of communication will have to pass through that same reality in the whole universe of any brand, company or service. Society is made up of many and varied members who will have to feel accepted, not only by their peers, but also by the communication and publicity, which must represent them. It seems to us to be positively interesting the advertising, on TV, of a baby product, in which the protagonist is a single and / or divorced father;
– Social networks, in particular, are today a vehicle for the potential sustainable content of a brand, company or service. They can and should convey their values and objectives. Building a lifestyle is an action that requires time, perseverance and continuity. Let us not think that it is overnight. Relationships between brands, companies or services with their communication officers cannot be based on the speed of results, when it comes to brand building. And, much less, of a sustainable brand;
– More than selling products, it seems that after this pandemic, communication, in general, has to understand the changes that have occurred in the consumer. Some realized that many of their previous needs were superfluous, assessing their human and environmental sustainability. About what we thought to be essential in our day-to-day lives, we recommend reading this article from The Guardian.
All of these words are personal reflections on the world panorama that is being communicated in this time of pandemic, of which we do not see the end. These are not predictions, but the right and the known thing is that our lifestyle has to change. However, it will only change when the personal and collective mindset changes as well. And here, those who work in communication and advertising, assume an essential role.
Opinion article by João Jacinto Ferreira, creator of The Gentleman.pt website and communication consultant
Source: Meios & Publicidade by www.meiosepublicidade.pt.
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