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CERES – a lesson in authenticity February 4, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in marketing.
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1 comment so far

Sunday morning I went to brunch with friends as is my want. And by morning I mean 1 in the afternoon. Bless. My friend Al picked the destination, and after acquiring a couple extra we drove over to the Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies (CERES), a self-sustaining organic (NOT vegetarian) farm – they call it a “community environment park” – which regularly holds a variety of lifestyle workshops (damn dirty hippies!) but also has a fantastic cafe where the owners clearly practice what they preach. Last year they won an award from the Victorian Premier for sustainability, and have been nominated for countless others.

Aside from all the obvious ways that a belief in sustainability manifests itself, there were little touches, such as laminated pieces of paper to take orders on (thus never actually throwing out the paper on which you write) and not stocking bottled water due to the landfill and other environmental issues the plastic causes.

Wandering around the park I got a real sense of what the community goals were for the place and how focussed they were. They’ve been going for over 25 years and continue to expand where they can, spreading a message of sustainability by doing as opposed to talking.

For all the high profile groups out there that seem just to shout louder than others, it was really refreshing to see people quietly going about their work with a sense of purpose. It rings true and there’s a lesson in marketing here that backs up my experiences with AAMI recently, along with a bunch of things I’m reading right now in Made to Stick: communicating your core proposition to everyone who works for you is paramount. Drum that in to people and then get out of the way and allow them to deliver. I doubt CERES’s founders were standing around one day discussing laminating a piece of paper to take an order, its the kind of idea that springs up in the moment, borne out of the raw manifestation of a company’s ideals.

How many corporations can you think of where you could imagine that sort of behaviour going on?

I can’t think of many either.

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