Insights 21/02/2021

Unearthing A Unique Story – Celebrating Prajāva through Creating Shared Value

Alastair Jones

There is a better way to do business. With mass production processes putting even greater strains on the world’s resources, the goal of striving for a more sustainable future that is profitable, ethical and engaging at once, has become all the more urgent.

Within our space, brand identity used to be about “standing out”. Now it’s about “standing for” something. With the rise of a more socially conscious consumer, the act of buying has become akin to corporate voting. Brands are undoubtedly a reflection of a person’s value system.

The principle of Creating Shared Value (CSV) while, not new, has been underplayed. Today, it’s gaining traction and has become as fundamental to the infrastructure of modern successful businesses as the people who power it. Indeed, it has provided a unique opportunity to commercially and ethically gain hard-won trust and loyalty in the evermore sceptical and world-weary consumer.

CSV, the concept of sustainability in business and its social and environmental impact driven by the rise of the 4th Industrial Revolution, will be the focus of our talk next week at the English Tea Shop’s “Creating Shared Value” two-day forum in Sri Lanka.

Our relationship with English Tea Shop began a few years ago when they looked to revitalise their brand design and packaging to encompass the very CSV principles upon which their ethical and sustainable tea business is built.

Their wonderful ‘farm-to-cup’ story highlighting the brand’s provenance and collaboration with small organic farms and its policy on sustainability and Fairtrade was not being communicated on-pack. An opportunity to recast this touchpoint, communicate these tenets and emotionally connect with consumers on “shared value” was ripe for the taking.

A unique visual brand device was developed that enhanced English Tea Shop’s quality credentials, underscored the brand story and celebrated provenance so that consumers could immediately grasp the ethical approach of this remarkable tea business. To the untrained eye, the move might be seen as little more than an aesthetically attractive brand refresh. But for the informed and principled shopper, the design mechanic communicated a compelling message of “shared value”; one that assists in a purchasing decision led by personal value systems that draw in the wavering hand.

Consumers’ appetite to understand the origins of the products they wear or the food they put into their baskets mean that brands with an authentic story already have a captive audience. It is now just a case of harnessing design to story-tell and engage. The back of pack, where narratives on production, producers and provenance take centre stage has grown to become as equally important as front of pack too. Ultimately, it provides standout differentiation and value – elements that resound among the clatter and noise.

The most successful businesses are those built on strong purpose and passion, and English Tea Shop is a case in point. The forum provides an opportunity for producers, partners, entrepreneurs and thinkers to come together and share ideas on corporate purpose and meaning to meet a much bigger agenda. Indeed, the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

The business landscape is one of shifting sands. Product innovation is being driven by exciting technology that addresses the sustainability conundrum while materialistic, low-cost production is making way for more human-centric values of transparency and land stewardship. No one wants to be willingly complicit in the earth’s destruction, or have communities exploited, all for the sake of getting or making more stuff.

Now is an exciting time for brands and businesses to forge better quality relationships – not just with the communities powering the production lines – but with consumers too.

Trust and transparency is the currency for businesses today and the means to which a more sustainable and socially-conscious tomorrow is achieved.