To win battles in modern society, public and private forces must merge and pollution is certainly no exception. While the Government will certainly take possible action, brand owners can play a decisive role in helping us breathe normally, not just from the traditional production or sourcing perspective but from a holistic experience dimension as well. It is definitely time for the patriarch of all branding movements, BAAP – Brands Against Advancing Pollution.
Environment sensitivity has been a significant agenda for enlightened business owners especially of Western roots, ranging from a rigorous tracking of carbon footprints to a sincere scrutiny of factories and supply chain processes. This has certainly resulted in the control of pollutants in terms of origination but not much attention has been placed on the point of consumption in the cities where the dirty air is choking the lungs of customers. Which is where the battle has now shifted decisively; modern brands today enjoying the power to influence living in a manner previously unfathomable, exerting an influence way beyond the transaction.
Domino’s Pizza or KFC arming their restaurants with air purifiers to give customers the luxury of hygienic breathing, albeit temporarily, a practice that can be emulated by every player in the hospitality space. Eminently extendable to schools, cinema halls, showrooms and every other retail space that is based on brick-and-mortar engagement, to be certified as Clean Air Zone by a suitable consumer or manufacturers’ association, as sought-after as the credit card symbol for giving custom. As a natural extension, all existing and potential brand-owners in this space to wholeheartedly prioritise technology development, import and distribution of this category over other possibly more profitable but less critical peers. If air-conditioner makers can merge competencies with the purification experts to merge heating, cooling and cleansing, an integrated solution easy on space and pocket can well emerge.
Those in the business of apparels and accessories must focus on developing fabrics which have naturally pollution-resistant qualities, a technology that is possible as per current reports. Just as bike helmet makers and umbrella manufacturers can imbibe the values of natural clean-air plants in their design, offering further artificial shields of coverage. Automobile makers must convert the values of hybrid green engines to the in-cabin environment as well, concentrating on generating pure cyclical climate control. Like the Teflon coating technology that can piggyback on multiple formats, an enviro-shield coating as a possible appendage on laptop bags to every other conceivable item. Paint manufacturers to join hands with architects to build clean-air homes that can achieve optimal air-purification through the construction technique and finishing. Natural plants to be now extensively used all over the home without fear of mosquitoes, as they come with Odomos-protection technology.
Technology brands must also come to the party with detection apps moving forward from their static function as announcers of pollution to become lifestyle assistants. In partnership with Google Maps, adding both colour-coding and voice-warning as vehicles enter dangerous areas, certifying some zones to be unreasonable for children, the pregnant or the elderly. Even Tripadvisor or Booking.com adding this extremely valuable layer of input to their rigorous procedures, giving travellers a valuable filter for evaluation often in denial. As a logical extension, hotel chains can create their proactive environment filters with honest advisories, including the artificial protection measures, all rooms in Delhi for example purified while complimentary masks for all guests like umbrellas.
Do not underestimate the role of the fashion brigade in this fight against impurities. Designer facemasks have definitely been a barrier-breaker for the fashion conscious and customised versions for day lunches, race days or picnics can be created, for adults and teens alike. Those in the business of make-ups may wish to develop an eye-lash enhancer designed especially for the forced closure of the mouth, making both lips and lipstick redundant. On a more holistic sense, entire ensembles can be crafted with the mask as an integral accessory, the new genre of Survival fashion especially for winter. If you are in the business of F&B, RTE or otherwise or even vitamin supplements, there is sufficient approved wisdom to come out with customised ranges on this subject; fortified yoghurt or chewing gum or lung-cleansing beverages the imminent frontier in development.
On the subject of road transportation, the opportunities to contribute are truly limitless, those in manufacturing can focus on building more efficient buses that can serve urban commute or even metro technology that can absorb more trains. A formidable statement that can be made by any physical-distribution driven brand is to ensure a green supply chain, only through vendors which provide the highest standards of conformity. Just as schools and corporations that survive on mass transit rejecting the cheapest provider in favour of those damaging the environment the least. Hotels and hospitality brands must easily ban fire-crackers on grounds of external safety just as fire is banned for reasons of internal security. With certain support from the authorities, a Central Pollution Security Force to be created by private brand owners in order to scrutinise environmental impact of daily actions.
The ideas presented in this piece are merely representational of what brand owners can achieve if they are serious about this natural emergency, leading to focus in actions within themselves as well as collaboration across industries. Brands Against Advancing Pollution, or BAAP as it must be called, can truly become the difference between life and death, genuinely making brands the superheroes they forever aspire to be.
(Shivaji Dasgupta is the Founder of INEXGRO Brand Advisory and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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