Powerful quote. Absolutely appropriate for this constantly evolving world in which we find ourselves. An acknowledgement that perception and reality are integrally linked. Squarely at the center of sustainability and brands. It’s a quote from the man whose name is on the business card I carry: Walter Landor, founder of Landor Associates. (You can find Walter interviewed on YouTube here.)
Walter died a few weeks after I joined the firm in 1995, but it’s like he’s still a colleague in the office every day; he’s quoted and talked about and referenced with clients. So, “What Would Walter Say?” seems like an appropriate place to start for this blog, which will focus on the intersection of brands, business and sustainability.
Walter was a legendary figure in the arena of branding and design. He was a true innovator: one of the first designers to ask consumers their impressions of package design, for instance. If he was around to witness this latest evolution of branding and marketing, I think he’d be an outspoken supporter of “Green Brands.” For instance, it gave him great delight to design packaging (like liquor bottles) that people would save and put to alternative uses after consuming the product. He felt great packaging could enrich life and enhance enjoyment long after the product inside had been consumed.
One of his most celebrated decisions demonstrates an early appreciation for “reuse.” In 1964, Walter bought a decommissioned ferry boat called The Klamath to house his growing firm. In addition to offices, it was also a place where celebrities, luminaries and thinkers of all stripes came together to discuss topics of the day, mixing business with real life. Walter claimed his goal was to enrich experience, to give consumers what they wanted but weren’t able to articulate. In that way, he surely would have been tuned into the growing desire for sustainability in consumers, around the world.
The goal of this blog is to create a forum to discuss how brands can enrich experience, how they can “increase the joy of living”, to use Walter’s words. And how to do all of that while being conscious of the impact that brands, business and that experience has on our environment, resources and human capital. I’d like to think that, were he here today, Walter would have his own blog and he’d be innovating the way to greener business.