Brands need to make a stand for what they believe in

Recently, Firefly Airlines had its famous orange colour logo changed to green for a week long campaign, to emphasise its commitment to protect the environment.It looks symbolic but certainly it has taken its efforts to another level.

SELF-PROCLAIMED eco-warriors, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle found themselves facing a barrage of criticism when news broke out that they took a private jet to southern France just two days after a flight to Ibiza.

Their crime was to fly on a private jet as the trip created seven times more carbon emissions per person than a commercial flight. Instead of taking one of the 20 scheduled departures from London airports to Nice, they picked a 12-seater Cessna aircraft that cost over RM100,000 to fire, and of course, at the expense of ordinary taxpayers.

Environment consciousness is a big part of branding and customer demands now, especially among the increasing millennial market. Sharks’ fin soup has long disappeared from hotel restaurant menus, and most young Asians want the delicacy off their the list for wedding dinner banquets.Young travellers have started to stop riding on elephants, regarding them as cruel.

The pressure has mounted on travel agents not to include nor promote such elephant rides or shows, as it is clear that these elephants are taken from their mothers as babies, forced to endure harsh training and suffer poor living conditions throughout their life.

The exploitation of paying the Kayan tribal women, with their bronze neck coils, at the Thai-Myanmar border, are also now being frown upon, with many regarding it as an exploitation of these “long necked women.”

For years Kayan women and girls have been driven across the border by poverty and conflict to earn money posing in holidaymakers’ pictures in purpose-built Thai villages decried by rights campaigners as “human zoos”.

The zoo and aquariums, will be a thing of the past, as they are no more than jails for creatures, and their appeals will fade away.Sustainable tourism has now become the buzzword. It simply means visiting somewhere as a tourist and trying to make a positive impact on environment, society and economy, and there is now broad consensus that tourism development should be sustainable.

Recently, Firefly Airlines had its famous orange colour logo changed to green for a week long campaign, to emphasise its commitment to protect the environment.It looks symbolic but certainly it has taken its efforts to another level. In fact, it should seriously consider making it a permanent feature

Most travellers are not aware of the environmental impact of its fleet of 12 ATR 72-500 series.

“We are operating aircrafts that the structures are made of approximately 20 percent of composites, which helps reduce fuel burn and emissions. In short, ATRs are known to be more environmentally friendly compared to jets as they emit lesser CO2.” This means that ATRs would be a better option in order to reduce the negative impacts onto our environment.

With climate change being a huge concern to many of us, it is only right to practice and encourage habits that can lead to more environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible decisions and lifestyles, which can then help protect the environment and sustain its natural resources for current and future generations, ” said Firefly CEO Philip See.

ATRs emit 35kg less CO2 per passenger per flight then a similarly sized regional jet, thirdly, comparison of 70 minutes flight versus a five hour drive. Firefly Airlines is planning to carry out more ‘green initiatives’ this year to keep the ball rolling.

Being the first full-service airline in Malaysia to separate used beverage cartons on board, the airline has in its sleeves for an immense Corporate Social Responsibility in September in conjunction with World Clean Up Day.

The commitment taken by Firefly Airline is in the right direction as young customer now want to know what does their chosen brand stands for, and what are its values.

Prices and promotion alone are not enough.According to “the topic of purpose-driven branding is on the rise.

It’s interesting to notice how many brands are beginning to take stands surrounding topics or causes, effectively creating tactics like “cause marketing” to unfurl and embed themselves in the brand’s strategic vision.

“Over the past few decades, very few companies would venture into the territory of political or cultural topics for fear of isolating parts of their consumer base.”

As the world changes and new generations enter the spending spectrum, they also bring with them their own buying behaviours.

It said that in a survey of 1,300 companies from the United States, Zeno Group found that consumers were 63% more likely to purchase if a brand played a positive role in their lives.

A survey released by Deloitte Global found that six in ten millennials said they chose to work for their current employer partly because the company has a “sense of purpose, ” differing from previous generations.

The findings were compiled based on interviews with more than 10,000 millennials across 36 countries, ranging from the United States to Ireland.”

“The shift in marketing tactics is going to become clearer in the coming years as these millennials join the workforce and become a major driving force as consumers.”

According to Forbes, millennials had the highest expectations for brands to take a stand on values, with Consumer Technographics@data showing that that nearly seven in 10 US Millennials actively consider company values when making a purchase – compared with 52% of all US online adults.

Older Millennials (ages 27 to 35) were particularly conscious of company values across product categories.

But the report also showed that older generations were increasingly sensitive to company values, and this is growing quickly.

“2017 marked a tipping point for Gen X consumers: A majority of them explicitly evaluated company values during a purchase. Across other generations, the trend is moving in the same direction, and values-based consumers already make up a significant proportion:

“Today, four in 10 Younger Boomers tune into company values, along with a third of Older Boomers.”

Body Shop, for example, understood these values early and was the first global beauty brand to fight against animal testing in cosmetics and was the first company to be certified with the Leaping Bunny logo in 1997.

Many fast food outlets, including McDonalds, have also stopped the use of plastic straws to their customers, realising the importance of taking a stand. But it’s not just the environment that impacts younger consumers.

Issues like cyber bullying and human trafficking are also concerns of the millennials, who want to be taken seriously and if brands understand and want to take them seriously, it would make sense to take a stand, and be committed to such issues

Closer to home, R.AGE, The Star’s youth platform, has gained international recognition for its brand of journalism advocacy, and its collaboration with partners like S P Setia, Unicef and Digi, shows that there are commercial upside to their work.

Their use of social media platform including first-rated videos means they a large reach to millennials, who have become the largest consumers.

According to, the average Malaysian millennial spends 3.8 hours a day on their mobile devices, accounting 48% of time watching videos (36%), online shopping (16%) and also they consume news – on traditional media too, although less frequency than previous generations.

Brands need to make a stand for what they believe in, and consumers, in return, will support these companies.

The views expressed here are solely that of the writer.

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