Project manager
March 2022 to June 2023
Research group
  • Unthinkable Marketing
Research team
he general view in our society is that growth in the economy is desirable. However, as the economy and growth are currently structured, this is destructive. Primarily for the planet, but also socially. Marketing is part of the current economic system and thus part of the problem. With its research, the Unthinkable Marketing professorship is therefore developing a renewed marketing practice that is no longer part of the problem but part of the solution. In a previous study (Ecosystem Mapping), we found that biomimicry can help us make marketing practice more meaningful. The field of biomimicry looks at proven principles, strategies and techniques from nature to solve challenges in our designed world.

From destructive to constructive growth

n this follow-up research, we were faced with the question of developing a method for positive impact organizations to grow faster, with inspiration from growth strategies from nature. To help them with Good Growth. Good Growth, unlike Green Growth, does not stand for growth in gross domestic product (GDP), but for growth in the positive impact of companies that do want to stay within the limits of the earth and inhabitants. These (small) green brands do not get enough attention to bring about the positive social change. They must compete and grow in against an establishment that has much more traditional marketing power. For any start-up small business, regular or green, coming to maturity is already a major challenge. Small green brands face additional challenges in growing into a big brand. Advertising agency Heldergroen also saw this. They provide communications advice and develop campaigns that make green brands bigger, and big brands greener. They were curious if it is possible to use insights from nature to strengthen the meaningful marketing power of small green brands.

Applying knowledge from nature to the growth of (small) green brands

Making marketing strategies accessible and generating marketing ideas for this group of brands was central to developing the methodology. To arrive at the most relevant growth strategies from nature for the small business in question, the Biomimicry Design Process was used. Growth strategies from nature were collected through interviews with experts and desk research. To go through the steps of the Biomimicry Design Process and link the growth issues of small green brands to the growth strategies from nature, the researcher developed a workshop. The activities in this workshop are based on the researcher’s experience as a biomimicry expert with a background in marketing The developed method was found useful by the companies that tested the prototype. The inspiration of relevant growth strategies from nature gives them new ideas and valuable perspectives or structures existing ideas. Also, the growth strategies from nature appear to bring marketing and growth strategies to life without requiring a background in marketing or knowledge of marketing theories.

Goede Groei research rapport januari 2024