With consumers’ growing determination to live more sustainable lives and new regulations to tackle our carbon footprint, brands are feeling external pressures to become more sustainable. According to a new report by Garnier, 73% of UK consumers want to be more sustainable in 2021. It’s no wonder therefore that brands are increasingly adopting brand values and ethics, such as sustainability, as a marketing strategy.
Sustainability itself is not a new concept. Sustainable marketing on the other hand is a relatively new term, but what exactly is it?
What is sustainable marketing?
Sustainable marketing is the promotion of products, services and ideas that are environmentally friendly. The idea is that it resonates with customers who share the same values and has a positive impact on behaviours. Think of how you view products products branded as biodegradable, locally-sourced, eco-friendly, 100% recyclable etc…
It’s no secret that sustainability sells. A report by HSBC found that 86% of companies expect embracing sustainability to boost sales. But of course, there is risk in using sustainability as short-term marketing tool. Today’s savvy consumers are able to distinguish between brands that genuinely care and those that don’t.
So, what dos and don’ts should be considered when implementing sustainable marketing?
How to effectively implement sustainable marketing
Show that you genuinely care:
Over a third of consumers are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are genuinely doing social or environmental good. Embracing sustainability as a core brand value rather than a marketing campaign goes a long way. And believe me, customers notice the difference.
Don’t place the responsibility solely on your customers. Sustainability requires an all-hands-on-deck, long-term approach. Choosing marketing messages that encourage and challenge rather than blame is key. LEGO executes this brilliantly in their sustainability statement;
“Our mission is to make all LEGO® bricks sustainably by 2030. Why? Because being sustainable is good for the planet! We want to make bricks out of things that we can grow again or are recycled. This is not easy as we want sustainable LEGO bricks to have the same high quality that you are used to, but what we know is this: big ideas may start small, but they will help us build a greener planet one brick at a time.”
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Build long-term value:
Long-term value is always greater that one-time, quick wins. Looking at creating long-term impact is key. Brands that look at the bigger picture when it comes to sustainability with both short-term and long-term goals have a higher chance of success.
Sustainable marketing is more than just a trend but should be incorporated in companies’ long-term brand values and strategies. Authenticity and innovation will set brands looking to build long-term value apart from those looking to turn a quick profit.
For more on the latest digital marketing strategies and best practices, you can get my latest book, Digital Marketing Strategy.