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The living product - using the creative nature of metaphors in the search for sustainable marketing

Kajzer, I. and Saren, M.A.J. (2006) The living product - using the creative nature of metaphors in the search for sustainable marketing. Business Strategy and the Environment, 17 (6). pp. 398-410. ISSN 0964-4733

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Abstract

The challenge facing marketing (and business) is letting go of old assumptions and embarking on a journey of unprecedented uncertainty towards a more sustainable marketplace. Current marketing approaches are called into question in this paper and it is argued that they fail to represent adequately - and far less to confront - our relationships with products and the natural environment. This paper challenges marketing in this respect, investigating the consequences of putting marketing into an ecological context. By using the generative and creative power of metaphors we attempt to draw the sustainability debate away from the language of the mechanistic world; where matter is regarded as inert, mute, passive and exploitable. By using the living product metaphor as a tool for change we explore the potential for a reorientation towards organizational-environmental configurations that are dynamic and flexible and provide space for dealing with uncertainty. These concepts are then illustrated in a number of practical examples, providing an insight into the potential of marketing in our search towards a more sustainable marketplace. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.