What Can the Earth Teach Us About Branding?

Sam DeMastrie

April 23, 2013

Yesterday marked the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day; a movement founded in 1970 to insert thoughts of the environment’s well being into the consciousness of the general population. While this yearly recurrence is critically important for us to rethink our relationship with the earth, it’s also a great opportunity for me to establish a couple of parallels between our natural world and the branding world (it’s a stretch, I know, but bear with me).

Take Care and Maintain

Like South America’s rainforests or Australia’s Great Barrier Reef—or any other delicate ecosystem for that matter—great care must be exercised when cultivating and nurturing a brand, be it a startup or a long-established company.

To thrive, brands need certain things. To name a few: an active web presence, great design and messaging, and a loyal audience that cares about the products or services it offers. In the beginning, growth can be a slow process, but stick with it and eventually you will reap what you sow.

Once a brand is established and has an active target audience, it’s a lot like an intricate and flourishing ecosystem: multiple parts interconnected and working together for the good of the whole. While a natural ecosystem can grow and thrive on its own, a brand needs the care of a team to drive it and give the audience what they need and want.

Adapt and Evolve

As everyone knows, Charles Darwin was the forefather of the modern theory of biological evolution. Through his studies and observations, he concluded that life on Earth has evolved over millions of years, as a result of species adapting to their environments and interacting with surrounding life.

Similarly, brands can, and should, go through the same process—though obviously on a much more intentional and calculated scale. Particularly in today’s high-speed world of emerging new technology and social media trends, it’s vital for brands to keep up with and, hopefully, surpass their competitors. Essentially, it’s survival of the fittest—a concept everyone is familiar with. The strongest, most capable brands will win the lion’s share of the market.

If you or your brand is unwilling or somehow unconvinced of the need to continually adapt, you run the risk of being left behind and falling prey to your competition. Current evolutional necessities include the rise of mobile and responsive web browsing, as well as updated, well-managed and well-designed social media assets.

Consider also updating the design and messaging of your brand if your look is outdated or stale. Proceed with caution though, as any undesirable changes from your consumers’ point of view could trigger a negative brand backlash, as in the case of Gap’s infamous attempted redesign in 2010.