#IOVIAradar - Issue #61 - Welcome to the brand extinction era





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January 26 · Issue #61 · View online
We are entering an era that will prove to be an extinction level event for many brands. 
As the 2020s dawn on us, macro shifts in the economy, marketing and how we live together on this planet are intermingling in ways that will eliminate brands that aren’t making significant shifts away from past ways of doing things and empty trends-of-the-moment.
The future is now because any brand not well down the road towards a modernized, inclusive and sustainable version of itself will soon be in crisis. In fact many are already in crisis. They just don’t know it yet.
I was astonished to see Coca-Cola doubling down on plastic bottles last week in Davos. The company produces 300 million tons of plastic packaging a year, making it one of the worst polluting brands on the planet. And in response? Coke is planning to require 50% recyclable material in its packaging by the year 2030. 
This is a half measure at best, greenwashing at worst.
And in no f’ing way is it acceptable. 
We need better leadership from brands with Coke’s global footprint.
Of course, Coke is hardly the only offender out there but the point stands. This is a brand that is completely misreading our current moment. 
The wellspring of populist energy around the planet has positive and negative consequences but it speaks to something undeniable: we are ready for change.
And brands will not escape that coming wave.
Consumers are increasingly galvanized around brands that are taking aggressive action to eliminate their negative impacts on our planet.
They are drawn to brands that have a purpose beyond profit. And we’re all increasingly intolerant of extractive, privacy-violating brands in manufacturing, in CPG, in the digital space, and in every other sector of our economy. 
Here’s a prediction: there are going to be more legacy brands that vanish in the next decade than in the last three combined. 
There is an incredible opportunity right now for challenger brands with social purpose and sustainability in their DNA.
A brand that can produce a product or service that is environmentally responsible, that respects consumer privacy, that actually makes our world better in some authentic way? 
If they can execute, these brands are going to make an extraordinary amount of money. Because they can be the bridge for consumers from brands that focus on commercial growth at all costs to a new sustainable consumerism. That could mean all of us buying less stuff, but also buying things that actually mean something.  
Optimistically, I think these brands could be part of an effective Cambrian explosion of new brands, a renewed wave of commerce suitable for the decades yet to come, rather than those of the past.
Of course, here at IOVIA we believe community (in both its digital and offline forms) will animate the next great local and global brands. And we’ll have more to say on this topic in our next radar. But here’s a teaser:
Companies have an unprecedented opportunity to create a place for people to gather around their brands, but the price of entry is high: it requires authenticity and responsibility, even when it’s inconvenient or hits the bottom line.
Give people a reason to believe and belong and they’ll be your greatest advocates in the market. 
For many brands, this is the promise of the 2020s. For others, it’s the threat.

Welcome Roland Harwood to the IOVIA team
We’re thrilled to welcome Roland Harwood to the IOVIA team as Managing Director - Europe.
From his home base in London, Roland will help lead the IOVIA team across Europe and partner with our clients as they build sustainable brands and lines of business designed to meet the challenges of the future.
Roland brings an extraordinary background to our team. Here’s just a sampling of his previous experiences:
He is the founder of Liminal, a new network for people, organizations and communities on the edge of many potential futures. He was also Co-Founder and Managing Director at 100%Open, the multi award-winning open innovation agency that works with the likes of LEGO, Ford, UBS, Oxfam and in 25+ countries. He is chair and trustee for several not-for-profit organizations, a regular visiting lecturer at Universities around the world, and a mentor as part of many start-up accelerator programmes including TechStars.
Perhaps even more impressively, Roland recently survived his first offsite with members of the IOVIA team in Laguna Beach, California. And showed us a thing or two about surfing in the process.
Let's meet up at The Gathering in Banff and Sustainable Brands, Long Beach
The IOVIA team will be on the road at conferences throughout 2020.
We’d love to get together with you to talk sustainability, the future of brands and how community can help drive both. Over a coffee. Or something stronger.
Send us a note at info@iovia.io if you’re planning to be at The Gathering in Banff, AB in February or Sustainable Brands, Long Beach, CA in June.
IOVIA recommends one book, one podcast, one song
This issue’s recommendations are all courtesy of Roland.
Book: Range by David Epstein.
Roland heard David Epstein interviewed on a few podcasts, most recently in Recode Decode with Kara Swisher, and was drawn to some of the data and stories he was sharing about how people with breadth of experiences and knowledge can often do well in uncertain or complex circumstances. Read this if you are interested in how to learn and innovate in our increasingly connected world.
Podcast: On The Edge.
Roland hosts a regular podcast called On The Edge, and this episode features Gina Lucarelli, who heads up the Accelerator Labs Network for the United Nations. Amongst other topics, Roland and Gina talk about accelerating sustainable development and how to fight complexity with complexity.
Take a listen and subscribe on iTunes if you like what you hear!
Song: Close But Not Quite - Richard Russell featuring Sampha
This collaboration is a hypnotic, poetic and joyful reflection on life and love.
Everything Is Recorded – Close But Not Quite feat. Sampha
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