The Seven Drivers of Sustainability.


Sustainability is a potent term in the marketing lexicon, possessing the ability to engage audiences and enhance brand value. However, its meaning is multifaceted, offering numerous interpretations and advantages that brands can leverage.


To effectively harness the power of sustainability, it's crucial to align it with individual needs or wants — in other words, to connect it to drivers of choice. Humans, being inherently self-serving, will ask, "What's in it for me?" when considering sustainable choices. There are often very good reasons that support a selfishly sustainable choice. To help unearth these, we've identified seven drivers of sustainability that hold significant potential for enhancing brand value.

Below, we have identified seven specific brand promises that can amplify a brand's sustainability ambitions, achievements, or credentials. Our aim is to reveal a spectrum of creative opportunities, motivating more brands to harness the power of authentic sustainability.

Sustainable products often promise durability, inherently indicating high quality. Brands like Miele, with their tagline "longevity is the ultimate sustainability," cleverly connect the individual benefit of a long-lasting appliance with the social contribution of sustainability.

Lower Cost:
Sustainability can often mean economic efficiency. While the initial investment in a sustainable product might be higher, the long-term savings can be significant, creating an appealing proposition for cost-conscious consumers. For instance, eko-deck timber alternatives require less maintenance, offering lower lifetime costs despite a higher initial price.

Greater Safety:
Sustainable products often reduce the use of harsh chemicals or toxins, offering safer solutions for users and the environment alike. Natural cleaning products exemplify this, ensuring a safe cleaning experience without compromising the planet's well-being.

Greater Effectiveness:
Sustainable products are frequently more effective. They reflect a commitment to thoughtful design and innovation, often delivering superior performance. Thus, sustainability doesn't just benefit the environment; it can enhance the user experience too.

Pleasure is a compelling emotional benefit that sustainable products can provide. Consider a beautifully designed and skillfully crafted reusable coffee vessel. Its aesthetic appeal and physical quality can offer a more enjoyable experience, fostering positive feelings with every use.

The act of making sustainable choices can instill a sense of pride. This feeling can amplify brand loyalty and create influential brand advocates. Colorbond's roofing ad, featuring a proud homeowner admiring his new roof, exemplifies this emotion perfectly, showing that making the 'right' choice can fill us with pride.

As the culmination of all other drivers, happiness is the ultimate emotional reward of sustainable choices. It's the joy of saving money, knowing you're safe, enjoying pleasurable experiences, and feeling pride in your choices

The drivers outlined above present an array of creative opportunities for brands to authentically leverage their sustainability credentials. They offer approaches that move beyond a 'save the planet' narrative, instead highlighting more personal, relatable aspects of sustainability.

Understanding and aligning your brand with one or more of these seven drivers – longevity, lower cost, greater safety, greater effectiveness, pleasure, pride, and happiness – can lead to a stronger, more impactful sustainability strategy. It's not just about doing good for the planet, but also about providing clear, tangible benefits to your consumers.

To achieve this, it requires an ongoing commitment that, when implemented effectively, can significantly enhance your brand's appeal and market position. Remember, the key to success is understanding how sustainability aligns with the individual needs and wants of your consumers.

By tapping into these emotional and practical drivers, you're not just selling a product or service – you're offering a more sustainable, fulfilling lifestyle. In doing so, you're ensuring a brighter future for your brand, your customers, and our planet.



Wayne’s experience spans three decades and multiple disciplines across brand, advertising and communication design. A traditionally trained graphic designer with a passion for problem solving and business, Wayne founded Hive in 1995 and now spearheads our strategic efforts with an emphasis on empathy and clarity of purpose. Away from the office Wayne enjoys family life (and the odd round of golf) on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.


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