Businesses with sustainability in their DNA reap consumer positivity if the branding is meaningful & they are accountable for their claims.
by Peter Matthews of Nucleus
Businesses that place sustainability at their core can expect consumers and business partners to respond positively, as long as they invest in meaningful branding and are accountable for their claims.
Sustainability. ‘The ability to exist and develop without depleting natural resources, incorporating environmental, social and economic considerations’. This is how the United Nations summarises sustainability, forming the basis of legislation, and, increasingly, a driver for consumer choice.
Defining sustainability for a transport brand means going beyond reducing harm to the environment, to creating positive environmental, economic and social value. These three dimensions of sustainability are what brands in the next economy will be judged on, and while their branding must reflect these values, they must also engage and communicate the benefits of change.
Until now, too many organisations in many sectors of the economy appear to focus on just one of these dimensions, and some continue to make claims they can’t really justify.
THE CHALLENGE FOR CITIES
For cities and transport operators, the only way to achieve net zero, reduce pollution and solve congestion problems is to provide services that create preference with citizens, persuading them out of their cars and onto efficient and convenient public transport networks. These systems also need to transition from today’s diesel buses and trains to completely electrified networks, managed by predictive technologies that match demand with capacity and offer passengers convenient gateless, ticketless experiences.
This “modal shift” is the first pillar of Hitachi Rail’s decarbonisation strategy, alongside reducing emissions throughout its own value chain (including factories, supply chain and its products and services), and the decarbonisation of rail through electrification. While the second two pillars of the strategy speak to Hitachi Rail’s core business today, the company believes it can help cities to decarbonise faster by making public transport more convenient than fossil-fuelled alternatives. But this means moving into new markets and pioneering new technologies.
LAUNCHING A NEW SMART MOBILITY OFFER
Accelerating industry and consumer adoption of the most sustainable practices required a new brand strategy and a naming architecture for Hitachi Rail’s new suite of digital mobility services.
This started with understanding how mobility data is accelerating change, enabling transport network operators to improve transport economics, passengers’ quality of life and reduce congestion and pollution, while meeting decarbonisation targets.
While the new brand would need to belong to the Hitachi group’s existing Lumada platform and brand, the individual products would need to carry brands that would appeal to different audiences – transport operators, city planners and passengers. Working with Hitachi Rail, the team at Nucleus helped to develop a brand architecture to consolidate the proposition.
Lumada Intelligent Mobility Management is the suite that brings together Hitachi’s holistic vision for smarter mobility across three key areas: smart ticketing, mobility management and electrified mobility solutions, all managed through a real-time mobility platform – designed to help transport authorities, transport operators and passengers shift to more seamless and sustainable transportation.
With Hitachi Rail, the team at Nucleus identified a value proposition based on the 360º vision that will ultimately benefit society through the achievement of net zero goals. ‘360’ became the brand concept around which a series of numeronym brand names were created under the Lumada Intelligent Mobility Management suite banner.
Until now, Hitachi Rail’s target audience has been transport operators and municipalities, but new passenger apps creates a direct connection with the travelling public, so the brand naming and identity had to be designed to connect with consumers, too, to explain the value proposition and nudge the public to change behaviours.
The solution is a scalable architecture that can grow over time, with the first two product launches building on the 360 naming concept:
360Motion is the real-time mobility platform that provides operators with integrated analytics across multiple transport networks to deliver value added insights, including passenger and vehicle flows;
360Pass groups all Hitachi’s smart ticketing solutions, including an innovative hands-free smart ticketing app that allows you to travel across multi-modal transport systems without barriers, or any need to tap-in and tap-off; with additional roll-outs scheduled for later this year.
The 360Pass smart ticketing app and 360Motion platform were launched in Genoa, Italy in July 2022.
All the names – as well as future variants – needed to be free of trade mark issues and registrable across multiple international markets.
Working with Hitachi confirmed our belief that we are entering an era where sustainability needs to be at the core of every new product or service.
THE ROLE OF SUSTAINABLE BRANDING
As organisations finally accelerate their journey to sustainability, and consumers’ understanding of what makes something sustainable follows, new brands will emerge. Branding these products and services will evolve, too. Instead of over-claiming specific ‘green’ advantages, there will be a point at which the brand cues, such as low energy consumption or zero emissions, will become expected and the brand itself will be sufficient.
The likes of Hitachi’s revolutionary intelligent mobility suite is poised to help cities and transport operators reduce pollution and congestion and achieve net zero by 2050, but worthy as these drivers are, they don’t actually impact consumer behaviour on their own. For now, the focus has to be on enabling consumers to quickly tell the green from the greenwash, so every brand now needs to tell their sustainability story well. Those that are most convincing will be the brands that stand the test of time.
Intelligently conceived branding therefore plays an important role in helping business communicate why they deserve to exist in the new economy and, increasingly how they can help guide consumers into new behaviours. Get it right, and we can help society transition to net zero by 2050, whilst also reducing pollution and be a positive agent for social change. Those that can ‘nudge’ convincingly, will also be the commercial winners.
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