The Brands of the Future Must Be Sustainable

Delivering a great product or service multiplied by irresistible visual identity and creative brand messaging is no longer enough to be a stable leader on the market. Long-term commercial success of any brand lies in a sustainable way of thinking with a positive impact on society and the environment.

The London office of Dragon Rouge, a global design and innovation firm, have undertaken a research project titled Brand Futures to explore how some of today’s well-known brands might evolve and how consumers might interact with them. It reveals six UK’s popular household businesses which successfully combine commercial benefits and sustainable lifestyle in their strategies to become ‘the brands of the future’ and remain so until 2030.  The concept and conclusions of the Brand Future research were represented last week in London at the Sustainable Brands Conference on November 28th.

Dragon Rouge analysed current activities of Argos, Bupa, easyJet, Morrisons, Primark and Rio Tinto alongside the major social, geo-political, commercial and climate change trends. It then applied strategic brand expertise to create scenarios that would enable them to remain successful. Here are some brief outlines.

Photo: Dragon Rouge’s infographics for Argos

Argos: Lease it. Love it. Argos it.

According to Brand Futures, Argos has repositioned itself to offer affordable leasing of all its products, putting high quality, durable and technologically advanced products at people’s fingertips; upgrading and repairing them at consumers’ convenience.

Argos offers an affordable leasing service for all its products. No longer just silos for collection, the stores are now hubs of activity for thousands of Argos employees leasing, upgrading and repairing household products, ready for a new lease of life.

Homeowners and tenants enjoy affordable monthly costs and a quality guarantee.

With access to the Argos network of local technicians, repair, upgrade and collection services, managing their household appliances has never been so easy. When a product reaches its end of life, it remains the property of Argos, which can then easily ensure its remanufacture: Argos owns the product during its entire lifecycle. The model is built around convenience for the consumer — gone are the days of waiting in for an expensive technician.

Manufacturers are required to design for repair, durability and ultimately disassembly, to facilitate the smooth running of the business model.

Once Argos had transitioned to durable, repairable products, it was also able to extend its brand to new groups of quality conscious consumers.


Photo: Dragon Rouge’s infographics for Bupa

Bupa: One step ahead of healthcare

Bupa is the global preventative healthcare specialist, helping you live a longer, healthier and happier life with visits to the doctor kept to a minimum. Bupa’s OpenHealth platform helps users manage their lifestyle, self-diagnose minor illnesses and access the most efficient route to healthcare assistance if needed.

OpenHealth implants alert you when you are ill and your digital assistant proposes action, monitors compliance and provides real-time information should you need to access healthcare. The platform uses enjoyable incentives to optimise healthy living.

Because Bupa believes preventative healthcare should be available to all, its OpenHealth platform is freely accessible globally, until the point of access to healthcare. Ever since the launch of its Well World initiative back in 2011, Bupa has been evolving to meet its commitment to keeping people well while supporting a healthy planet, which translated naturally into a core focus on active lifestyles and preventative health.

easyJet: Hi-comfort, jet speed rail travel from Dragon Rouge on Vimeo.


easyJet: Hi-comfort, jet speed rail travel

easyJet has pioneered the way we choose, use and experience European rail travel. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, revolutionary jet speed trains provide affordable, cool and hyper-efficient journeys across continents, delivering us to our end destinations in comfort, with ease.

Using its unparalleled capacity to manage passenger yield and influence bookings and price in real-time, easyJet has revolutionized rail travel for the better. Integrating its easy and affordable philosophy into all areas of train travel, which used to be undesirable and, at times, unbearable. It won over sceptics and turned the rail experience into part of the trip, not just a means to reach a destination.

Connected to the EU’s smart grid, easyJet’s fares react to projected excess capacity and its trains supply back to the grid via an advanced kinetic energy recovery system.

European travel for pleasure is a delight of entertaining options from film to spa, while businessmen and women can use their time on board as a tailored, remote office experience.

Morrisons: Keeping local, local from Dragon Rouge on Vimeo.


Morrisons: Keeping local, local

Morrisons is helping the high street to be the best it can be. Its ‘Market Street’ of fresh produce has been moved out into local stores. Fresh produce is provided through partnerships with the local greengrocer, butcher and baker. Grocery and household items are available in Morrisons neighbourhood stores. Consumers experience a more intimate, personal shopping experience, with consistent quality, local sourcing and great value, through the support and advice that shopkeepers receive from Morrisons.

As a result, many UK high streets are buzzing networks of collaborative consumption and traditional trade activity made up of local growers, producers and online distributers.

This has been a considerable transition for Morrisons’ business model, but still reflects the high street culture and commitment to fresh produce that its ‘Market Street’ superstore format always offered. Collaborating with communities and decentralising its stores has reinforced the family feel, closeness to customers and freshness, which characterises the brand.


Photo: Dragon Rouge’s infographics for Primark

Primark: Subscribe to Style

Primark’s style-subscribers buy in to the latest fashions through a flexible, affordable wardrobe. Choosing items from monthly collections and keeping them for as long as they please, users have the best of both worlds: as many new items as they please and the ability to return used items for reconditioning and remanufacturing.

Through both virtual and high street stores, style-subscribers can influence collections, create and share their own styles and tune in to the latest collections via regular catwalk shows.

Even though the business model behind Subscribe to Style has evolved from the original, what Primark’s consumers love and relish about the brand has not changed.

As a Primark subscriber, your wardrobe is more flexible and exciting than ever before. But behind the scenes investment in R&D has changed fabrics irrevocably; intelligent design for durability and disassembly has given items multiple life-cycles, and the thriving UK remanufacturing industry employs thousands.

Photo: Dragon Rouge’s infographics for Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto — Mine the gap

Rio Tinto is the global leader in sourcing, grading, re-purposing and processing the world’s used metals, plastics and minerals. They take used materials fit for re-purpose and ensure that materials they have leased return to them at the end of use. As a result, the amount of useful materials being sent to landfill has decreased by 85%.

Mining of old landfill sites is one of the best sources of raw materials, and Rio Tinto has pioneered the adaptation of traditional and automated mining techniques for application to landfill mines.

Their products help fulfil vital customer and consumer needs and improve living standards.

Rio’s 2030 business model and network of intermediaries provides employment across the globe.


Dragon Rouge head of sustainability, Fiona Bennie, who was the driving force behind Brand Futures and who has a great deal of experience in future forecasting, commented on the project:

“People have given up on governments to effect positive change in sustainable living and are increasingly looking to brands to take the lead. We’ve created six provocative, challenging concepts based on today’s brands projected into 2030 to demonstrate how they can make a positive contribution to society and have little to no impact on the environment while still retaining their brand personality and meeting consumer expectations.”