The scientific community and members of the public are increasingly concerned about the future of the environment. More consumers are reflecting on the sustainability of their own lifestyles, and this is mirrored in the brands they support and their purchasing choices.
As consumers give more thought to environmental responsibility, many retailers are adopting more responsible practices including some combination of waste reduction, energy efficiency, fair labor, and a generally positive environmental impact. Consumer focus on sustainability has also created a significant demand for new brands that prioritize social and environmental responsibility from the beginning.
New and established retailers alike stand to gain significant business by successfully showcasing themselves as “green” brands that can be trusted to conduct responsible and sustainable practices. With that in mind, below are three marketing tips that can help brands highlight their sustainability efforts to attract environmentally conscious customers and boost sales.
Use Green Logos
This may seem like a simple suggestion – and it is! But it’s also one that goes a long way, especially for new brands that don’t already have recognizable logos or aesthetics. Your logo and general visual presentation are likely the first things people will notice about your brand (even if not always on a completely conscious level). And, as we all know, first impressions are incredibly important in any business.
If sustainability is a part of your company culture, your logo should visually reflect as much in one way or another. Use easily recognizable “green” imagery, such as the traditional recycling sign, leaves, water droplets, the sun, or even just the literal color green, and you’ll be on the right track. For example, Whole Foods incorporates both the color green and vegetation imagery into their logo.
Take Advantage of Existing Networks
Perhaps one of the most important things you can do as an emerging sustainable brand is to do your research on other businesses with similar values. Not only can you learn from other brands’ successes or mistakes, but you can also figure out the best ways to do some cross-platform advertising, and thereby associate yourself with other green companies. The more you’re able to do this, the more you’ll expose yourself to the aforementioned world of consumers seeking green companies to do business with.
As for how to do it, you really ought to start with a comprehensive digital marketing approach that incorporates connections to other sites and communities, and then tailor that approach to focus on sustainable brands. Ayima Kickstart discusses how link development can be a key component of digital marketing by connecting your online presence to other websites and pages.
The primary goals of this kind of marketing strategy is to improve search result rankings and earn more web traffic in general. Relevancy also comes into play in that it can be most effective to build links and connections through sites with similar subject matter and focus as your own.
You can use link development so that people who are already browsing on other sustainable sites are led to yours. It creates a natural association, such that before those people even see your site, they expect to be engaging with an eco-friendly company.
Consider Cause Marketing
According to Entrepreneur, 87% of consumers say they would switch from one brand to another if the other brand is associated with a good cause. If you want to show your customers your genuine dedication to the causes you claim to champion, you might also consider supporting a not-for-profit.
Cause marketing expert Bruce Burtch argues, “There is nothing in business today that provides as much economic and social benefit, on as many levels, to as many stakeholders, as a strategic partnership between any combination of the nonprofit, for-profit, education and government sectors when focused on the greater good. Nothing else comes even close.”
Another way to support these organizations while more closely involving your customer base is to have special promotions on certain products or services – making it known that a portion of the proceeds will be donated to an environmental charity.
For instance, Coca-Cola partnered with World Wildlife Fund with the Arctic Home Campaign. Polar bears have been used in Coca-Cola imagery since 1922 so featuring them in a campaign focused on saving their arctic habitat was a perfect fit and cause for the brand. Coca-Cola hosted a number of events around the globe and also created special package codes to raise awareness and donations by matching the $1 donation made through these package codes.
There are numerous ways to effectively market your sustainable brand. These are just a few ideas to get you started. By updating your logo to reflect eco-friendly priorities, tying your marketing campaigns to other green brands, and supporting not-for-profits, you can be well on your way to establishing your business as one that will be known for sustainability and environmental friendliness.
OTHER Consumer Packaged Goods RESOURCES
Refer to the Consumer Packaged Goods category for checklists, how-tos and best practices for the consumer packaged goods industry.
About the author:
Callie Morgan has been an environmentalist from a young age and now works for an NGO in the environmental sector as a content specialist. She believes that the best way to help the environment is to continue to make sustainable, ethical choices daily.