Conscious Branding is About Transparency

If you make conscious branding a higher purpose and you make it ingrained into your DNA, it’s not going to be a fad.

One of the things that is important when you talk about conscious branding – and I’m not 100 percent sure that everyone has grabbed that terminology and thinks that is exactly the right way to talk about it - but what is certain is that consumers are demanding something more from brands.  If brands treat it in an inauthentic way it’s going to backfire.  And we’ve seen lots of examples in the last 12 months of brands who have tried to do something that’s more conscious. I don’t want to be negative on any particular brand but H&M came out with a conscious line of clothing.  But when consumers did the research they found that the working environment was subpar, and it wasn’t up to the level of what a conscious brand would be.  

The lesson that I think brands have to understand is that we’re not going to a conscious brand overnight.  Consumers understand that as well.  I think you have to be transparent about the journey.  It’s one step at a time and as you take one step you have to also be honest with yourself about what tradeoffs you’re making and what you’re not doing.

And if you take it from that standpoint and you make it a higher purpose and you make it ingrained into your DNA, it’s not going to be a fad.  Because people think about fads as something that I jump on and then I jump onto something else.  And you can smell that a thousand feet away.  But if you are serious about it and you weave it into your DNA like Container Store, like Patagonia, like Starbucks, like Google, like Whole Foods, then all of a sudden you know what the road map is.  And my road map isn’t that I am the perfect brand.  My road map is that I care about people and I have a higher purpose for why I exist. And I can do some good in the world but I’m going to be transparent about where I am in that journey.


In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

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Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)
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In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.


Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
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