The Do Lectures 2009 - Bonfire Brands

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Bonfire Brands is the fifth and final lesson in our series on The Do Lectures 2009. If you've been following our coverage of this amazing conference, you'll know that so far we've highlighted four themes that spanned across the event. Each theme brings us a step closer to tackling the important stuff. First we set ourselves a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, then we Turned off the TV to optimize our time, next was the simple challenge of Taking the First Step, then we examined The Axeness of an Axe, to understand what the essence of the job is. Today we look at the concept of Bonfire Brands to see what attracts people to a bright flame.Brand consultant Duke Stump brought us the term Bonfire Brands on the first afternoon of The Do Lectures, it was a term that resonated with many of the speakers and participants throughout the week. Duke's explanation of the term is a brand with soul, a brand that draws people in, like a bonfire, and encourages people to sit round that fire together, talking about their shared experiences, values and desires. A brand which values community, in other words, is a strong sustainable brand.

Duke Stump speaking at Do Lectures photo

Brand Consultant Duke Stump on Bonfire Brands

Stump went on to talk about many of the Bonfire Brands that we champion on TreeHugger, including his previous employer Seventh Generation. He described Interface as a great example, and Ray Anderson as an inspired leader, who has created "a proactive, vibrant, dynamic culture; a bonfire culture" inside his own company. Patagonia is another "bonfire beacon brand". As Stump said, "They are having a conversation that people are drawn to." Yves Chouinard's name came up countless times during the week as a beacon of sustainable leadership.

We can add many other brands that appeared at The Do Lectures this year to the Bonfire Brand list. Method is of course one, and Adam Lowry emphasized in his talk that he couldn't think of "a single brand that had done well on the principal of sacrifice." He said that the basis of a sustainable brand must be that it's good for the environment and society, but that it also offers something extra over and above the competition. Method is a brand that has created it's own bonfire culture by transforming ugly, toxic detergents into beautifully designed, desirable products, which also happen to be environmentally friendly.

Innocent Van at the Do Lectures photo

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Innocent drinks, sponsoring our thirst for fruit juice at The Do Lectures, offer something more than healthy drinks and food, they offer a uniquely uplifting voice in a sea of homogenous products in the chiller cabinet. It's their humour as well as their delicious products which creates a loyal following. Innocent's new book 'Our story & Some Things We've Learned', which appeared in the Do goody bags, is basically a 'Do manual' for anyone wanting to build a Bonfire Brand.

As Gabriel Branby, of those famous Gränsfors Bruks axes, said, "It is important for your company to be a role model." A term that can safely be applied to Innocent and all the other brands we've mentioned.

At the end of his talk Duke Stump gave us some food for thought with his 5 principals for building a bonfire with soul:

- Great brands have great cultures - human capital is your best capital - it begins inside.
- See, feel, change - become master storytellers - inspire through conversation.
- Embrace nature as a mentor - look to Janine Benyus and
- It's all about trust - people don't want perfection they want honesty - (SIGG take note!)
- Make a shift from things to meaningful relationships.

So that's it from TreeHugger on The Do Lectures this year. We hope that our five Do themes inspire you to get doing! There were plenty of fantastic talks that we haven't had time to talk about, like Patrick Holden from the Soil Association, and Tim Birkhead on the sex life of birds (yes, really!). But never fear, all the talks will be available very soon online for you to watch and be inspired at your leisure.

The Do Lectures
More on The Do Lectures
The Do Lectures 2009 - The Axeness of an Axe
The Do Lectures 2009 - Take The First Step
The Do Lectures 2009 - Turn Off Your TV
The Do Lectures 2009 - Big Hairy Audacious Goals
The Do Lectures: It's Like TED In A Welsh Field
Let the Doers of the World Inspire You

The Do Lectures 2009 - Bonfire Brands
Bonfire Brands is the fifth and final lesson in our series on The Do Lectures 2009. If you've been following our coverage of this amazing conference, you'll know that so far we've highlighted four themes that spanned