At Brand Legacy we keep an eye on the language of responsible branding, and although the term ‘sustainability’ has been more visible in recent months than ever before, we’ve generally found the term has left consumers a little non-plussed and lacking engagement.

Until now….

more recently, we’ve begun to hear consumers using the term in a more day to day context and being keen to engage with brands who are talking the language of sustainability. It seems to have become less scary and jargonesque and is beginning to crop up in everyday parlance.

What’s perhaps particularly interesting however, is that consumers appear to be reading claims of ‘sustainability’ as indicators of general good brand behaviour. Rather than interrogating the detail very deeply, they see the term as indicative of a brand with strong values and which will ‘do the right thing’.

So perhaps now is the time for brands to turn up the volume on sustainability … but mindful of consumers’ ‘umbrella’ interpretation, it will be critical to ensure the brand has a  clean conscience on other aspects of its Brand Legacy as customers expectations are raised for brands which promise ‘sustainability’ .

And of course VW’s recent troubles remind us just how quickly that trust can be broken if brand values are exposed to public scrutiny and found lacking!