What is sustainable marketing?
Sustainability is about continuity, adopting behaviours and practises to ensure that the planet is inhabitable, and resources are available for future generations. In much the same way, sustainable marketing is about longevity, swapping short-term gain for long-term success.
33% of consumers see brands as responsible for the environment
Sustainable marketing involves not only your products, but your brand’s image and strategy. Responsibility and accountability for social and environmental issues are becoming common values that most customers expect brands to display. Addressing environmental and social issues in your brand and finding sustainable alternatives is a great way to do your bit. However, your business should be aware of what it takes to achieve a fully sustainable business model and be ready to commit. It takes more than just aligning your brand with a topical issue.
Social and environmental issues exist over longer timeframes than most campaigns. These issues are not seasonal and as such need to be incorporated into a long-term plan. It is unreasonable to expect a brand to immediately shift to 100% sustainable sourcing, manufacturing and delivery of products. Customers understand that meaningful change takes time. So…
Set objectives and goals
By creating a set of goals that detail what you want your brand to accomplish you are communicating honesty and authenticity to your customers, whilst keeping yourself accountable. This means being honest with what your business can afford to change, it may require a short-term loss to fully adopt new sustainable practices which will lead to long-term gain (e.g. switching to 100% recycled packaging).
61% of consumers are more likely to switch to a brand that is more environmentally friendly
Be specific about what your brand is doing to be sustainable. One aspect of your brand may be sustainable, but you need to take accountability for what is not, or what needs work. This will avoid harsh scrutiny and negative social media posts damaging your reputation, ensuring customers see your brand as an active figure in addressing a social and environmental issue.
60% of consumers find authenticity to be the most appealing quality of their favourite brands
Create a long-term marketing strategy
Through long-term, thought out strategies, sustainable marketing can result in higher value products, successful sales and loyal customers. A sustainable marketing strategy will allow you time to establish your business and maintain sales without reverting to fads. This is what Kevin Roberts, previous CEO of Saatchi&Saatchi called ‘Lovemarks’ – loyalty beyond reason. This involves moving beyond transactional consumption to create an emotional dynamic between consumers and brands. Long-term success is built on principles. This means no repeated discounts, clickbait or hidden T&Cs. These short-term techniques diminish your brand’s value and lose you returning customers.
Deliver your plan responsibly
It is important to remember marketing has a carbon footprint too. Ensure that printed campaigns, billboards and flyers are not created from materials that are treated with harmful or un-recyclable elements. Prioritise digital marketing by communicating with targeted advertising, social media, blogs, newsletters and email marketing. Not only will regular social media and inbound marketing improve your SEO, but tailoring your messages to your customers, showing them relevant, quality content will increase brand value, authenticity and humanise its messages – attracting loyal customers that support your brand.
If you are ready for your brand to take the next step and embark on a sustainable marketing strategy for long-term success, contact neoseven today for a free consultation.