During the lecture, when we planned the targeting groups and marketing strategies for new electric cars, it became evident that communicating purely about the technical factors or energy efficiency and sustainability of electric cars is no longer enough. We have to create a whole lifestyle, we have to sell an image, a dream. Now the million dollar question is: Will the people be ready for a sustainable lifestyle change? The matrix that was used to evaluate marketing strategies of products could be applied to whole lifestyles. Should sustainability be promoted as a leading force of a lifestyle as such or should it rather be a self evident part, hiding behind other qualities?
I began to think about how well sustainability fits into the current leading lifestyle. Of course, I only have the context of Finland that I believe to know well enough. And in the finnish context, I know my own age group the best. So young finnish adults. What do we want? We want to be original, we want to express ourselves through consumption, hobbies and lifestyle choices.
At least to me, sustainability ideology is about knowing our responsibility and fixing what we have wrecked. It’s about thinking in long term. As it was stated in the Brundtland report, we have to make sure that also the needs of future generations will be met. Sustainability is an ideology based on long term rationality. Here’s the problem: Long term planning and responsibility is not very fashionable. There’s a huge clash to the current mainstream culture where you need to be independent, successful and original. Responsibility is not very original or independent. It means that you recognize that you are interlinked to other human beings. It means that you have to see yourself as a part of a bigger system and not a self-expressing individualistic creature.
Of course, right now this niche position of sustainability oriented lifestyle means that if you have that lifestyle, it makes you unique. Being environmentally conscious is one way to differentiate yourself from the majority of people. But could sustainability lifestyle go mainstream? I believe that in the current culture it would take too much time to make sustainability something desirable. It would require thinking collectively instead of individual gains and starting to take responsibility of one another again. These are huge changes and therefore they will take time. In order for sustainability to become mainstream, we will have to promote sustainability in shadows, emphasizing other qualities like economical aspects or quality.