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You’ve probably heard of or read astronomer Carl Sagan’s evocative description of the tiny object in the famous photograph captured by the spacecraft Voyager 1 as it left our solar system behind. Earth: a pale blue dot. Sagan wrote:

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives….

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994

I’ve been thinking about personal branding lately.  What is the mission of this website, this blog? I’ve boiled it down to Better words for a better world.  That, in turn, led me to two further questions:

  • What do I mean by a better world, anyhow?
  • How does marketing come into this?

What does a better Earth look like?

The term I’ve used for years is one I rather like: “Decrease World Suck,” a phrase facetiously coined by John and Hank Green. But it turns out that a lot of people have been thinking about this question, “What can we do to help the Earth?”

For example, on 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at a historic UN Summit — officially came into force. On April 22, 2016, 176 countries signed the United Nations Paris Climate Agreement (addressing climate change is covered by the sustainable goals).

So what are the goals? Here they are:


No poverty Zero hungee Good health and well-being
Quality Education Gender Equity Clean sanitation and water
Affordable and clean energy Decent work and economic growth E_SDG_Icons-09
E_SDG_Icons-10 Sustainable cities and communities Responsible consumption and production
Climate Action Plan Life Below Water Life on Land
Peace, Justice and strong institutions Partnerships for the goals Sustainable Development Goals


Hey, that’s a pretty good list.  We can work with that.

What about marketing?

Yeah, what about it? What can marketing have to do with helping the world?

What I’d like to do is to hone in on each of these goals in upcoming blog posts.  I’d like to identify groups and companies which are working to try to solve these problems, to make the world a better place in each of these areas.  I’ll look at both for-profit companies and non-profit organizations.  Next, I will examine the marketing that each of these entities is doing. Who is their audience?  Does the marketing convince the intended audience and how can you tell? (Does it convince me?) What marketing techniques do they use? Are they effective? How might they be improved?  Finally, who are the people running these marketing campaigns? How did they get into this work? What can they teach us?

Your turn

Do you have any organizations or companies to suggest for any of these areas? Are there groups or people doing work that you particularly admire? Why do you admire it?


(Oh yeah…and I did vertically flip the picture(s) of the world at the top of this blog post. Here’s why.)