• Mariella Menato of Denomination shared her insights in how to embrace sustainability in branding.
    Mariella Menato of Denomination shared her insights in how to embrace sustainability in branding.

The first talk at Ball & Doggett's ecoporium featured Mariella Menato, strategy director from Denomination Design. Her insightful talk looked at the intersection between innovation, bravery and sustainability in branding.

Menato opened by saying that sustainability is still a difficult thing to get off the ground at the volume it needs to. “There is a massive gap between what consumers say they want to do, and what they actually do when they get to the shelf,” she said, citing a statistic that while 92 per cent of consumers say they support sustainability initiatives, when it comes to actual shopping habits, only around 13 per cent actually follow through.

In her eyes, this is not a failure on the part of consumers, but on businesses who aren’t providing the options consumers want. It’s up to brands to deliver on the desire that consumers have, and the way to do this is to focus on behaviour and trust.

“It sounds cliché, but this comes down to a combination of empathy and authenticity. Brands need to be clear on what they provide, what sustainability commitments they are making, and where they fall short. Consumers are often confused by mixed messaging, and a lack of clear information leads to concerns of greenwashing," she said.

Part of the hesitance is the perception that it’s cheaper to keep doing things to same way. However, although is there is an upfront investment in innovation, the payoff is greater long term, according to Menato.

To overcome these challenges, Menato said that industry needs to work together to remove ambiguity and generalisations, and to establish a common language. Brands need to come together to support each other in pushing the message that sustainability is what consumers want to distributors, retailers and venues.

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