What is the brand doing for the buck?


If animals could patent themselves, the world of marketing would be riddled with intellectual property battles. The value of nature-inspired branding translates easily into monetary gain. I wonder whether the favour is ever fully returned. It begs the question: it begs the question, what are businesses doing for the brainchild (the animal) behind the brand, namesake and logo?

In other words, what Amazon is doing for the Amazon rainforest; Puma for pumas; Jaguar for jaguars, Bacardi for fruit bats, and Slazenger for panthers?

In September 2018, Amazon became the second US trillion-dollar business, yet according to the World Wildlife Fund, the earth loses 18.7 million acres of forest per year. In the same month, Safari News celebrated its second issue. The zebra cover was dubbed a ‘poster boy’ for Investec on numerous occasions. Kudos to the brand power of Investec or is it the stylish and individualist brand power of the zebra?

Science has been a copycat of nature since the invention of wings, in the form of biomimicry, but what are brands mimicking? A jaguar is associated with strength, power and aggression – perfect for a car manufacturer. Something similar can be said for Peugeot’s lion. I am not implying any of these brands don’t have a corporate social responsibility (CSR) budget that is put to good use. Business is regarded as a major driver in economy, industry and politics. It’s the same with conservation. Rhinos have become a marketer’s darling and a hotspot for CSR budgets. Rather stay in your lane; get involved with the conservation of the species that’s the brainpower behind your brand.

The German airline, Lufthansa, has a crane logo, designed by Otto Firle in 1918. Today, Lufthansa supports global crane initiatives and has partnered with Crane Protection Germany. Amarula set up The Amarula Trust to conserve elephants because of the role they play in tree dispersal. Lacoste, through the Save your Logo campaign, contributes to the conservation of its own logo, the crocodile.


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