The next big brand?

Brands have a power over things. The power of ownership. The power to communicate so much with minimal effort. The power to change minds, beliefs, behaviors, history.

There is now a new brand to celebrate Man’s mark on the world. Who knew that we would live in the Anthropocene era? – The geological era of Man.

We have branded Man’s historical development successfully – as we have graduated from the Stone to the Bronze to the Iron Age and beyond. I have heard suggestions for what’s next – Gunpowder, Nuclear, Space, Silicon Ages. But attempts to brand where Man has got to today have led us to the far less concrete coverall term.

The current waves of innovation seem lacking in their influence. I don’t believe we are living in the Self-Driving Epoch or the AI Age.  But I do believe we are moving into a new era – once again defined by a definitive and revolutionary material.

I don’t know what that material will be called, let alone branded, but I know how to describe it.  Our planet was once the gift that kept on giving but has now become more of a Pandora’s Box.  Fire that kept us warm when we were cave dwellers now fuels runaway Global Warming. Penicillin, the miracle cure, is now creating hospital superbugs. 

So I believe that this era will be defined by a range of technologies that aim to reduce, repair or eradicate our impact on the planet. Some obvious, and some less so:

  • Clean Power, such as renewables (solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, and wind), clean coal, carbon capture and sequestration, smart-grid and metering technologies, energy-storage solutions, energy efficiency, and waste-to-energy opportunities
  • Clean Transport, such as clean vehicles, electric vehicles (hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery), fuel cells, batteries, low drag surfaces or ‘Shark Skin’
  • Clean Buildings and infrastructure, such as automation, HVAC, windows, insulation, home energy management, appliances, and LED lighting
  • Clean Surfaces, such as antimicrobial surfaces from surgical instruments to manufacturing facilities, cleaning products and infection prevention compounds
  • Clean Foods, such as Non-GMO but resistant strains, food preparation and storage technologies, portable food testing technologies for allergies and bacteria.
  • Clean Water, or Blue Tech such as wastewater treatment and desalination/membranes.

The list is far from complete. But it illustrates how material science in conjunction with other disciplines is seeking radical new solutions to this planet’s needs.

I believe that from this list will emerge several era defining brands to rival those titanic brands of today (Apple, Google, and others that spring to mind). Brands that indeed have the power to change minds, beliefs, behaviors, history. Brands that will make an indelible difference to man.

It would be a great irony if the brand of this new ‘Clean Materials’ era was indeed man’s only new mark on this world.