29 June 2006

You are what you use… not what you own [WorldChanging]

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Streetcar
WorldChanging, the online publication covering tools, models, and ideas for building a better future, has an interesting article on branding experience instead of stuff:

“One of the fundamental insights that’s helping us re-imagine our lives in a brighter, greener cast is that most of the time, we don’t want stuff, we want specific needs fulfilled or experiences provided; that, as Amory Lovins puts it, we don’t want refrigerators, we want cold beer — if there were a better, cheaper, cleaner way of providing cold brews, most of us wouldn’t shed a tear to see our fridges go. Recognizing that this is true for nearly every product in our lives is revelation number one.”

“The second revelation in recasting our relationship to stuff is that owning a thing can actually be worse than borrowing it. Dawn likes to remind us that there’s enormous waste in the ownership of things: that, for example, the average power drill gets used for ten to twenty minutes in its entire life. […]”

“Technical innovations which could support using-not-owning are proliferating (you’ll find dozens on Worldchanging alone), dropping what was once a major barrier, the time spent finding, getting and using the service-things we want. […] We’re starting, in fact, to see the outlines of a way of living which is not only much more prosperous and attractive than the way many of us live today, but would allow us to have a fraction of the ecological footprint: bright green urban living, with technology and good design promoting a high quality of life and allowing the sharing of goods and services which were formerly thought of as luxuries.”

“The big roadblock, though, is that we like owning stuff. Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of advertising taught to associate owning stuff with being successful, secure, sexy and safe. If we are serious about redesigning the ways we live, we need to imagine and share visions of living without owning that are at least as compelling. We need new visions, yes, but we may need new branding even more.”

“The British design firm Live|Work may have part of the answer. They’ve grown somewhat famous in bright green circles for their recent work, especially their campaign for Streetcar (“The self-service pay-as-you-go car”) with the slogan ‘You are what you use… not what you own.'”

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